Is it Rude to Be on Your Phone at Dinner?

We’ve all been there and done that, but was it rude?

In this day and age of everyone carrying a smartphone, we are two steps away from neural implants that allow us to communicate seamlessly (hands-free) via the internet.

But, for now, is it rude to be on your phone at dinner? 

Is it Rude to Be on Your Phone at Dinner?

Since its inception, the dinner table has been considered one of the most important social focal points.

In truth, even before dinner tables, when humans gathered around fires under the open sky to share meals, the place we share food together as a family has been sacred.

There is no place at the dinner table for your phone unless it is on silent and in your pocket. 

Otherwise, you are bound to be considered rude by one or more people at the table whom you are sharing your meal with.

How Rude Is it?


On a scale of 1 to 10, being on your phone at dinner rates 9 on the rude meter. The reason being on your phone at dinner rates so highly on the rude meter is that it is technically one of the rudest things you can do at dinner time. 

Historically, dinner time is when you get together with your family unit and loved ones to share in a hot meal and discuss the day’s events.

Thus, spending this time, or a portion of it, on your phone, talking to others, or scrolling endless feeds, is considered impolite and highly rude.

Why is it Rude?

Dinner is a sacred time for families and their loved ones. You spend dinner time sharing food, thoughts, conversation, and hopefully at least a few laughs. 

Dinner is a time for discussing things and enjoying your family, not playing with your phone. 

Being on your phone at dinner is unequivocally rude, period. Whatever it is that’s going on with your phone can wait until dinner is over.

Common Questions

How rude is it to use your phone at dinner?

There are few things you can do at dinner as rude as being on your phone. Unless it is an absolute emergency, there is no good excuse for using your phone at dinner. 

Being on your phone is seen as disrespectful to others, displaying a disregard for the family, their conversation, and the meal itself.

Is it ok to text at dinner?

Texting at dinner isn’t the end of the world, but it is considered rude (unless it is a true emergency).

There is very little that can’t wait until after dinner to be texted, including messages to your friends, workers, or extended family.

When is it ok to be on the phone at dinner?

The only time it is truly ok to be on the phone at dinner is during a video call that everyone at dinner is participating in or during a serious emergency. 

For example, if your wife is at the hospital going into labor, or your child has just been the victim of gunshot wounds, it is more than ok to be on the phone. 

Otherwise, skip using your phone at dinner unless you want to be labeled uncaring and rude.