I hate to target a particular age demographic here, but let’s just say that this is a problem that I’ve noticed to be acutely prevalent in a demographic that rhymes with “shucking biennials.”
Yesterday, my boss and I were meeting with a visitor who is quite important and also quite nice. On the way to lunch, we ran into a colleague and I invited her to lunch. I’m a big believer in introducing people to important personal connections. At this stage in my life, I solve the vast majority of problems that I have through personal connections I’ve already established.
So we go to lunch and my boss and I are explaining what this colleague does. I look over and she’s on her phone. Not like, secretly texting, but rather, her phone is laying on the table and she’s reading emails. During a conversation. That involves her. So I kicked her under the table (probably something that will go on my next list of things I do that should get me fired) and then gave her a death stare.
And I’ve had this fucking conversation before. With this particular person as well as others. It’s fine if you think you can multitask and write emails, text, Tumble, whatever while also keeping up with what’s going on around you. That’s great, really. But if you don’t actively give your attention to people while they’re around you, they’re going to think you’re a dipshit.
And of course, having this conversation with this particular demographic is always difficult, since even the gentlest of criticisms is usually met with sulking and a reaction like you said you just killed their dog.
I mean, I do not get how people can live in a world where they’re constantly concerned with their image online, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc., but are still so fucking lacking of self-awareness in how they present themselves in person. Smile, nod, make eye contact. It’s not that difficult.