Sep 072017 0 Responses

5 Rude Behaviors Created by Technology

It really doesn’t bother me. As a public speaker in the 21st century, I’m never surprised when a phone rings in the middle of one of my speeches. It’s part of life. Whereas twenty years ago, it was a great distraction. (“Tell them I’ll call them back” I would say). Now phones are such a part of every moment of life that it doesn’t faze me. While the person might be embarrassed as they scramble to turn off the ringer, I keep going without missing a beat.

A ringing or dinging phone at the wrong time doesn’t bother us, but there are a series of new behaviors which technology has brought that are troublesome. With every new technology, humanity eases toward the path of least resistance in actions, some of which are completely self-serving at the expense of others. These behaviors are rude. Here are my top five.

5 Rude Behaviors

1. Failing to Make Eye Contact. The simplest of acts is often the most powerful. There is something magical that happens when two human beings make eye contact. Our eyes communicate in a way our words never can. When we fail to make eye contact with another, we are announcing to them that they are not important. We are robbing our interaction of the humanity which it deserves. When I look another in the eye, I’m not only showing them respect, but I am naturally prone to be more compassionate, considerate, and loving.

2. Cancelling at the Last Minute. I can never imagine calling a restaurant, asking for a friend, and then explaining to them that I cannot attend the lunch for which they are already present. It would take extreme circumstances. Yet in today’s world, most plans are still questionable until you get a confirmation text moments before a meeting (one that normally says “I’m running late, but I’m on my way.”) The ability to text removes the physical interaction where I see another person’s frustration or disappointment. Being distanced from their reaction makes it easier for us to be rude because we don’t face any negative consequences of our behaviors.

3. Physically Present, Emotionally Absent. Phones are great shields that we can put up so that we don’t have to interact with others. If you don’t want to reveal your heart or mind to another person, be in their presence but not emotionally present. Have a conversation, but always be looking at your phone. This loudly communicates that you are not willing to engage at this moment.

4. Private Calls in Public Places (and Loud Talkers). Is there anything worse than being crammed on a plane and the woman behind you talking way too loud on her phone about something that doesn’t matter? Phone calls are meant to take place between two people. While it’s natural to slightly overhear some conversations, being forced to listen to one side of a conversation against your will is painful.

5. Ignoring. Probably my biggest pet peeve of technology is the ability to simply ignore communication. If you see me in public and say hello, it’s not socially acceptable for me to ignore you. But some have no problem ignoring a text or email as though it has never been received. Of course, it is possible to overlook a message or to intend to respond later only to forget. However, it is never proper to totally ignore a message and pretend like it didn’t happen. Different communication allows for different response times, but all communication requires some kind of response.

Technology has assisted our lives in many ways. Many friendships which would have long ago faded away are still very present in my daily life solely because technology allows us to stay in touch. It allows for an ease of communication that can be instantaneous and non-invading to our lives. Technology has many benefits, but we must be aware of how its ease will also tempt us toward rude behavior.

Cover photo by Matthew Kane on Unsplash

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