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Stop Looking at the Screen and Look at Me!

Look at me! Oh, wait…

There we were, in Zagreb, at the Eurocon, and at the socializing part of it: a meal at the brewery. Mediocre beer and not too bad barbecue at the affordable prices (affordable for us, the folks from UK and some other countries wouldn’t even be able to find such a cheap meal in their own homelands). And did I mention socializing, meeting new people from all over the Europe, and an American or two, too?

Well, for one thing, we all followed our natural tendencies to sit with the people we arrived to Croatia with (although, it was the first day, we had three more days to meet whoever we wanted to meet). For the other, the first question the guys I was with asked the waiter was the WiFi password. And then, one of the guys was using his tablet (he was GTalking to his wife, since that was the cheapest was to talk to someone in another country), the other one was surfing the Internet on his phone, and the third one had his eyes glued to his netbook.

The rest of us were talking between ourselves and with them.

Part of me had a wish to tell them to stop looking at those screens and to look at us. The other part of me realized we had no trouble keeping the conversation going, so what’s the problem? I mean, it’s not like we were plotting an assassination or taking over the world or planning to help someone in dire need. Yeah, it’s nice if people are not surfing the ‘net or whatever while talking to you, but if they’re still capable of responding in intelligent sentences, no biggie.

Now, I do find it annoying if people I’m trying to talk to are texting someone else or doing something equally distracting them from the conversation. But if they have no problem keeping the conversation going? Part of me still dislikes that I’m not getting their full attention, but I’m learning to live with it.

How about you? How do you feel about people looking at some screen while talking to you, and you’re sitting right there ion front of them?


A writer, a reader, a dreamer. Dreaming myself into existence.

5 thoughts on “Stop Looking at the Screen and Look at Me!

  1. I don't like that either. Of course, my husband is famous for interrupting my writing time to talk to me and then he has to deal with my face in the screen, but he knows that's the only option when I'm writing. Also, I don't really hear him when I'm writing, so I'm trying to make him see he should wait for a better time. 😉


  2. I feel like it's a terrible interruption to a conversation and it always changes the mood in a group if one person won't get off there phone/etc. I try to never use mine, except when alone.


  3. Kelly: oh, yes, people talking to us while we're writing. :)Caitlin: I suppose it changes the mood much more if one person is doing it, than if it's half of the group. I try not to use mine, too.


  4. Absolutely. When someone turns to a text message while I’m talking to them, it’s natural to assume they are no longer listening. I am a multi-tasker at home, yes, but when I’m in a social setting, I refrain from looking at the phone or tablet or computer screen until the person talking to me is finished. It’s simply polite–even if you ARE listening, looking at a screen gives off the impression that you have tuned them out.

    If others are talking and not involving that person, I think it’s OK to look away for a while.


    1. If others are talking and not involving that person, wouldn’t that person feel excluded?
      I agree about the impression — if you don’t look at them while they’re talking to you, it leaves the impression you’re not listening, which is impolite.


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