Ding Ding

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Everyone I hang out with checks their email when we’re together and
no one thinks twice. We’re sitting at lunch or out for dinner and they
take a quick discreet glance when they hear a chime. I too am a self
confessed email addict. I have a smart phone and I have different
rings for voicemail, texting, gaming, and email. That helps me only
look when I think it is an important text or email So in my normal
world, I know the rules. But I just started dating someone who has a
best friend. He takes her calls whenever we’re together, and he checks
his email roughly every ten minutes. Do I say something or not?

Ding Ding

Dear Ding Ding:

Anyone raised in a pre-digital era would be horrified at the blatant
attention that our electonica receives when we’re in the presence of
other humans. But there’s three things going on: more devices, more
people using them, and more reliance on the need for instant
communication. The perceived tyranny of the urgent, even when it’s

Given that you’re working out the ground rules of your new
relationship, this is the perfect time to raise it as a conversation
question. Not in an accusing or challenging way, but rather, I’ve
noticed we’re both slaves to the chiming of our phones. Do you want
to set up some “when we look and who we answer for” guidelines or
just do as we please and see if it bugs one of us enough for it to be a
problem? If asked if it’s a problem for you now, you’ll need to decide
how honest to be, and even have some suggestions to float. But if you
say nothing it’s likely to bug you more and more, and the resentment
will flare up in other ways. If, btw, the guy is a doctor on call, or in
some other equivalent role, you might have to be more flexible than
you want. But it’s worth having the convo to see where your values
intersect or bump heads.