Is it in bad taste to answer your mobile during a meal?

@breepeace (3028)
Canada
July 5, 2007 11:02am CST
My former roommate was completely addicted to his phone, it didn't matter if he was out on a date enjoying a nice sit down dinner, if his phone rang, he answered it. I always thought it seemed very rude. If we were in the middle of nice dinner conversation, he'd stand up abruptly, cutting whoever was speaking off, ask to be excused and scurry off to the side of the room to take the call. What do you think? Would you answer your phone in the middle of a meal? Would you be upset if someone you were dining with did?
4 people like this
26 responses
@whyaskq (7553)
• Singapore
6 Jul 07
In my opinion, if it is an informal gathering, I do think it is fine to pick up the call. Afterall, the conversation will stop when the phone rings. If he excuses himself to speak on the phone, I would think it is considerate of him. At least he shows basic courtesy and respect to the caller and his friends at the dining table. If the phone rings in the middle of an important dinner joined meeting, I would think he will have the respect not to answer the call. I would guess that if it is really important meeting, the phone would have been put to silent mode in the first place:P
1 person likes this
• Australia
6 Jul 07
Well. I was taught never to have my phone on at the table let alone answer my phone during a meal. But, I believe it really depends on the situation. Like, I think answering your phone at a family gathering is ok, but only if it is an emergency or an urgent call. However if you have guests over or you are out at a restaurant for professional reasons your phone should be switched off. If you need to have your phone on you should make your apologies before the meal starts. Thats what I reckon anyway...=]
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@smints8985 (1595)
• United States
6 Jul 07
If it was only me and that person together, I would think it is only proper to entertain the call at a later time. If it was a group, I guess it would probably be okay since there would be a lot of people chatting together. But if it so happens that there's just the wo of us and that other person takes a call, I would feel awkward. It is okay if he answers it and end it briefly but if he continues talking to the person on the phone, it would feel inappropriate since he is with someone at the moment. It is a pretty awkward situation to be with someone who is obviously busy or preoccupied with something else. If it was me, I would call the person back when I am home. The point of being with the current person is for the purpose of company, it defeats that purpose if you keep talking to somebody else on the phone.
1 person likes this
• Australia
6 Jul 07
Well. I was taught never to have my phone on at the table let alone answer my phone during a meal. But, I believe it really depends on the situation. Like, I think answering your phone at a family gathering is ok, but only if it is an emergency or an urgent call. However if you have guests over or of you are out at a restaurant for professional reasons your phone should be switched off. If you need to have your phone on you should make your apologies before the meal starts. That what I reckon anyway...=]
1 person likes this
• China
6 Jul 07
Em... I think if it is possible ,can we start our meal after everyone asked to turn off his mobile phone?
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@katkat3 (426)
6 Jul 07
I definately wouldn't answer my phone during a meal! Its quite rude I think! I went out for a meal with this guy once and all he did was play with his phone. Never went out to dinner with him again!!!
1 person likes this
@miamilady (4924)
• United States
6 Jul 07
It would depend on the circumstances, but I would say that most of the time it is in bad taste. When you go out with someone, you should be focused on who your with. Not who you aren't with. If he was expecting an important business call, then I would say that I understand. If a friend is trying to get directions to join you, then it would be okay. If the call is just to gab about stuff, then I would say that was completely rude. If he is there with you, then he should be focused on you. He should return those calls later, on his own time. Great discussion. This is becoming a common problem these days.
@crazynurse (7510)
• United States
6 Jul 07
I find it terribly rude and yes, I would be offended if I were dining with someone who answered their cell phone. The only exception would be if they told me before hand that an extrememly important call is expected. By extremely important, I mean something like a relative who is extremely ill and hospitalized or a call that is identified on the caller ID as the babysitter. To just take any and every call that comes in is not acceptable to me. To me, that is no different than dining at someones house and sitting down to a nice meal...candles and the works, and the phone ringing and the host jumping up to get the phone! The cell phone will display missed calls and the person can return all calls after the dinner date! Just my opinion!!
1 person likes this
• Vietnam
6 Jul 07
no, i don't think so.I always want to talk with friends even though during a meal or when i go to bed!
1 person likes this
@poojita (11)
• India
6 Jul 07
I dont pick the phone while having my dinner or lunch. i is surely a irritating on for the other person to hear us munching and talking.
@Cassy1976 (796)
• Australia
6 Jul 07
I hate it when you go to a restaurant and someones phone rings while we are eating, I dont know why but people tend to get louder when they are on a mobile phone as well and that annoys me! I turn my phone off if we go out for a meal, I think this is just common courtesy. Usually when you go out for a meal it is only for a couple of hours or so, cant people do without their phones for this long?
1 person likes this
• Philippines
6 Jul 07
It depends upon the call. If the call is very urgent or an emergency call then no hesitation to accept the call. Sometimes it is considered because of some very important matters.
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@lexus54 (3577)
• Singapore
6 Jul 07
People behave more informally these days, and I have observed that behaviours have worsened since the introduction of mobile phones. But I think a lot of people have gotten used to this informality. At mealtimes outside or in a restaurant, many people can probably tolerate someone pulling out a handphone to answer a call while eating, especially if the meal is not a formal one. But I guess if it is a special date, the person should be "all eyes and ears" to his/her partner, and avoid calls unless urgent or it is an emergency. These interruptions can upset people and spoil the occasion. I think what's worse is in the office. Often during meetings, people will just answer calls in the middle of a discussion. This happens even if the person is the one talking or explaining something to the rest in the room. I think it is bad etiquette to be frowned upon, because it can irritate the others who are participating in the discussion. Bosses are the ones most guilty of this, but since they are the boss, they just do what they feel like doing and no one can complain.
1 person likes this
• Malaysia
6 Jul 07
No, I wouldn't be upset if the person answered the call. Personally, I think it's in bad taste only if you leave the meal for a frivolous reason, like someone calling you up to know you better or someone calling just for a chat. Unless I was out for a really intimate dinner and I had told everyone I know that I wouldn't be available, I would generally answer the phone and take the call. However, it also depends on the nature of the call. If it's a friend who's looking for directions, especially to my place, I would excuse myself and let my partner know that I'm going to take the call. If it's a "hey, long time no chat, lets' talk" kind of call, then I would ask them to call back later as I'm preoccupied now.
1 person likes this
@Transformed (1262)
• United States
6 Jul 07
To me it depends on the quality of the meal and with whom you're engaged. If you're at a Burger King with friends on a casual afternoon, then yes, answer the cell phone. But if you're somewhere meaningful like a 4 or 5 star restaurant, then you should try to avoid cell phone use if you can. I don't think I would answer my phone unless the person calling was someone like a very close friend or a family member and even then I would discreetly excuse myself. I would not answer it in the presence of others. I don't think I'd be upset, unless the person answering the cell phone was my girlfriend (I don't have one right now, and I am looking. I'm just imagining) or something like that.
1 person likes this
@lucy02 (5017)
• United States
6 Jul 07
I probably would not answer it unless it was just to tell them I would call them back later. I would be upset if someone was on the phone for a long time.
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@magaldi (10)
• Brazil
5 Jul 07
Its relative. There are some people who really depends on the phone. For work, or whatever reason they have. But despite that, it is indeed quite rude to answer the phone like that in the middle of a talk or a dinner.
1 person likes this
@Amstardam (1348)
• United States
5 Jul 07
I think it's very rude! If you're in the middle of a conversation you should'nt interrupt it to start another one. It makes the other person feel like they're not important. I always turn my phone to vibrate when I'm at a restaurant or somewhere in public that's quieter. If my phone rings, I usually check to see who it is, in case of an emergency, but if it's just a friend or whatever, I never pick up.
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@ydnac22 (804)
• Philippines
5 Jul 07
I always discipline myself when its comes to phone usage.My phone is for emergency and important calls only and I dont allow my slef to be addicted on it.If im in a meeting or solemn gathering I always see to it that my phone is set into silent mode so that it will not distruct anybody.If in the middle of the meeting it rings,sorry cant answer your call.I'll just give you a return call later.:)Yes it upsets me if your having a serious talk to someone and she's busy in her phone.Sign of disrespect.:) Nice post!
1 person likes this
@seabeauty (1481)
• United States
5 Jul 07
next time you both go out to dinner, call him on his cell phone while at the table since that is the only way he will communicate with anyone. i think its rude. i was having an important conversation with a neighbor of mine over an issue involving both of our girls and she got a phone call during it and she said she would speak to me the next day and she never did come back and speak to me about it. Apparantly her phone call was more important than trying to work out the problem with me.
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