Smartphones have completely changed the rules of etiquette.
It’s now commonplace for people to check their phones in the middle of a conversation. Even Mark Zuckerberg says that all the hype over proper etiquette is “overblown.”
But the result is, people are less engaged in conversations, more likely to prefer remote to personal contact, and particularly, less likely to make appropriate eye-contact with others.
According to The Wall Street Journal’s Sue Shellenbarger, the issue’s particularly common among 20-somethings who think nothing of texting mid-conversation.
Analytics company Quantified Impressions found that adults make eye contact an average of 30 to 60% of the time, and suggest 60 to 70% is ideal for making emotional connections.
And that’s to people’s detriment. Eye contact can convey status, confidence, and respect. People who avoid or don’t hold it are seen as untrustworthy. The ideal length in an individual conversation is about 7-10 seconds, according to the Journal.
Among friends, it’s probably fine to check emails or a score, as long as it’s not too excess. The key is to be conscious of your habits and aware of tendencies that could be hurting your relationships, especially in the professional environment.
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