Read on for pointers on how to avoid an embarrassing faux pas at the table, plus some tips on dealing with smartphone-obsessed relatives.
Do switch your smartphone to silent mode
Your ringing Droid RAZR probably won’t bother anyone while you’re watching football in the den, but you don’t want to be red-faced when your “Let’s Get It Started” ringtone starts blaring in the middle of a teary toast for dear, departed Uncle Fred.
Don’t check your email or text messages while someone’s talking to you
And if someone checks their messages while you’re answering one of their pushy questions, just stop, wait for them to look up, and ask, “Sorry, am I interrupting your email?”
Do have pictures of your kids, pets, and vacation loaded onto your phone
It’s a lot easier to swipe though 20 snapshots of your trip to France on a touchscreen than it is to cram (and potentially bend) your precious photos in your wallet.
Don’t put your phone on the table during dinner
It’s a little like saying, “Sure, I’m listening—until someone more important calls, that is.” And if your neighbor’s iPhone is humming away next to your wine glass, hand it to them and say, “Hey, lose something?”
Do leave your Bluetooth headset at home, in your car, or at least in your pocket
There’s always at least one relative who insists on spending the entire evening with a Bluetooth headset stuck in his ear, like the Borg in “Star Trek.” It’s not a good look.
Don’t immediately post photos of everyone on Facebook
By all means, take pictures and shoot video of family members you don’t see that often—but don’t post and tag them on Facebook without asking first. My advice: upload your pictures if you must, but let your relatives tag themselves.