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by Abigail Van Buren

Happy Smartphone User Stops Short of Becoming an Addict

DEAR ABBY: I have a smartphone, and I love its convenience. I check my email, texts and voicemail three or four times a day and always try to respond promptly. But I do not carry my phone with me every moment of the day.

Some family members insist that the polite thing to do is to return a text message or voicemail IMMEDIATELY. They carry their phones with them and constantly interrupt whatever they are involved with to answer the phone, send a text, etc.

For my birthday, one relative gave me a little pouch on a string so I could wear my phone around my neck wherever I went because she texted me one day early in the afternoon saying she wanted to drop by, but I didn't see or respond to it until dinner time. Is making oneself available every moment of the day and night now required for good manners? -- NOT A PHONE ADDICT

DEAR NOT AN ADDICT: Of course not! A cellphone is not supposed to be a leash. Your relative has become hooked on the concept of instant gratification, which isn't healthy for either of you. If you humor her, your cellphone will become an annoying and unending inconvenience for you. Do not take the bait.