Today I was sitting in my friend’s house, working on my computer. I had asked my friend about something work related on a chat and he was answering every now and then with short sentences.

My friend’s little brother came home from school, said hi, and went came over to see what I was doing. I had the window I was working in in focus on the computer, so the IM messages showed up in the top right corner, and my friend’s little brother said:
“Hey, your friend just sent you a message!”,
and I said “Yup, that is correct!” and continued looking at him.
He looked at me for a second and then he said
“Aren’t you going to read it?”
“I can answer when I want to. But right now I’m talking to you, and I was working before that. I can choose whenever I want to read it, and there’s no rule that you have to reply immediately.”
“Hmm. I always reply right away.” he said and walked away.

And he’s not alone. Many people don’t even consider it a possibility to not read or type a reply as soon as you get a message, now matter how unimportant the message might be. Not even in the middle of a conversation does people let go of reading and replying to incoming messages. Instant replying is almost a feeling of duty for some people.

Pay some attention to the people you’re with instead of everyone else that you’re not with at the moment. You will get much more out of the meeting, and your friend will probably appreciate it a lot that you prioritize her or him more than your phone. I know I do. And I think you would too!

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