DEAR HARRIETTE: My new boyfriend recently -- and politely -- pointed out my tendency or instinct to take out my phone in social situations that seem to be at a lull and scroll social media “mindlessly.” Do you think this habit is something I should try to mitigate? How should I go about doing so? -- Social Media Addict
DEAR SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICT: Thank you for bringing up a real challenge that people face today -- what to do in awkward social situations. It is common for people to do as you do, to check out through the rabbit hole of social media. Unfortunately, that just makes the situation more unbearable for those around you.
It is far better to attempt to strike up a conversation with someone near you. You can discuss the nature of the event, if possible. To support that possibility, research wherever you are headed before you get there. Know who is expected, and have a bit of information on highlights in the news and other things that might be of interest to those who will gather. You can create icebreaker moments simply by being prepared to be in that room and engage with those who are expected to attend. Then you can be remembered for your great contributions rather than for checking out.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)