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One of the things I dislike about conversations today is when the person I am talking to is carrying on a conversation with someone else at the same time. Their focus isn’t on us…it’s on everyone else.

Suddenly, the relationship between us has become less than important. The person they are speaking with who is right in front of them has become less important to them.


Father Mike Schmidt made a great point during a Q&A session.

He was having an in-person meeting with a missionary. During the conversation, someone had pinged him. He interrupted the interaction and said, “Let me just answer so-and-so really quickly. It will only take a second.”

The missionary replied, “No. Put that down. If you are here to talk with me, you are here to talk with me.”

Father put down the phone. And he never picked it up again during their time together.


One of my children has a terrible habit. It is endlessly frustrating, but she doesn’t notice what is going on.

For years, we’d watch her talking with others, then pull out her phone in the middle of a conversation, text someone else, then carry on the in-person conversation. It became funny to just stand back and watch her interact with her cousin who was doing exactly the same thing. Neither of them noticed what they were doing, or how rude it was to ignore each other.

As she grew older, got married, and had children, she would turn her head away from me and talk to her daughter who was begging for attention. Not once. But repeatedly.

Every phone call. Every in-person event.

It was clear by her actions that her parent was less important than her daughter with whom she interacts on a daily basis.

And that hurt.

Take the time…

How many times do you find yourself doing the same things? Better yet, do you even notice that you are ignoring the person right in front of you?

Do you really want to know them? Or do you even care?

It comes down to the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” The message you may be sending might be the wrong one.

Maybe it’s time to put the phone down. Put it in airplane mode. Better yet, stick it in the glove box of your car so you don’t have the temptation to even peek at it.

If you have kids, teach them that the world doesn’t revolve around them. They must learn their place, learn respect, and learn it by your own behavior toward the other people in your vicinity. They, like any adult, must learn to wait until they are acknowledged before speaking. Interruptions are not acceptable behavior.

More than that, acknowledging them in the middle of a conversation with someone else – especially an adult – is inconsiderate. Especially if the person you are engaging with lives far away, or came by to visit you. They didn’t call or drop by to be ignored.

It quickly leads to those relationships breaking down. Those people who could be your advocate may begin to avoid talking to you. Those actions make it clear that they aren’t important to you.


It is time to instill manners in the young. And those of you who are older, take the time to be aware of your actions. Learn new habits and become more courteous toward others.

Learn what is truly important in your world. Is it your relationships right in front of you? Or the ones in your social media?

If being busy and interruptive is something that you will not give up, then don’t have interactions with others on a personal basis. You will never gain a deep, meaningful relationship when the encounters are met with constant interruptions.

The outward message you send tells the world that the only person important is you. Not anyone else.

Allowing those interruptions to interfere with ongoing, in-person interactions with someone else is ill-mannered.

And if you are the end of such discourtesy, don’t be afraid to speak up. The person who is behaving with such poor conduct may not even realize how much their actions are affecting you.

Give them the benefit of the doubt. These habits did not occur overnight. So direct that awareness firmly, but gently.

Be kind. But don’t let another person put you second in priorities during a one-on-one conversation. No one deserves to be ignored. And you are more important than that.

We all deserve to be acknowledged. It is up to each one of us to make sure that happens.

But if it doesn’t, then walk away.

Preaching to the choir here…

I need to practice that lesson better as well. When someone in the family drones on and one about anything that I don’t care about, I need to be better at listening to them. Not turning away. Even if I’m busy. And I’m not interested. Just acknowledging their existence, and what is important to them will make a world of difference to that person. Especially if they are young.

What we do to them in their youth becomes their training for how to act as an adult to others.

Human dignity resides in us all.

It is high time we put away the technology and engage in real-world relationships.

Every person is important. It is time to recognize each person we encounter and their humanness.

Just like we want to be recognized.

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