26 May 2009

WWEPD? (What Would Emily Post Do?)

I sat at lunch with my beloved college roommate, toying with my burrito, idly wondering whether the salsa needed more salt or if I should have it all boxed up. My friend was talking about her children. She described what is going on with her 4th grader. As she continued to talk about why her daughter needs flute and piano lessons, I heard a funny noise, reached over, and pulled out my cell phone. I tapped in one sentence to a friend three states away.
That's right. I texted during lunch.

We have so much technology now. Over half a billion texts were sent daily in 2005. Americans now do more texting than actual calling on our phones. (By mid 2008, we sent and received 357 text messages per month, compared with making and receiving 204 phone calls a month, according to a Nielsen Mobile survey.) So do we no longer need manners? Or is it just personal contact with other people that we no longer need?
Remember when cell phones first became popular and there was discussion about whether it was rude to leave them on in restaurants (Yes.), whether it was rude to accept calls during meals (Yes again.), and whether it was smart to talk three times louder than normal to get your message across the miles. (No. Definitely not.)
So am I now the epitome of rudeness? Or was I politely answering the need of one friend without interrupting the stream of sharing with another?
I texted during a conversation with a friend. I texted in a restaurant during lunch with a friend. I have to set some rules for myself.


Jen said...

Love the title of this post.

Bushlow said...


Not only is it a great title, it's also the name of Anna Post's blog at www.annapost.typepad.com. Anna is Emily Post's great-great-granddaughter and an author and spokesperson for The Emily Post Institute. Also, if you're interested in the texting at the table topic, Cindy Post Senning was just quoted in The New York Times on the subject. If you search for her name, you'll see the piece.

Join the conversation anytime at our newest blog, www.etiquettedaily.com. We'd love to hear from you.

-Matt Bushlow, The Emily Post Institute

Marti said...

How delightful! I write about Emily Post and the woman herself, her Institute, turns up!

Somebody has a bot! ;) Thanks!

RebeckerOnline said...

Totally agree on setting personal rules. I've had to set up a few for myself...especially with Twitter. Guess looking up the Emily Post stuff will help!