Only The Best

I was at a restaurant the other night when I noticed a young couple being seated at a nearby table.  As soon as they sat down, the man placed his laptop computer on the table in front of him and began typing.  The woman immediately pulled out her phone and gave it her full attention.  The looked up from their devices just long enough to place their orders, but I don’t think they said more than three words to each other before their food arrived.

DSC03670 2Once the food came, the man pushed his computer aside and began to eat, but the woman kept her phone out and used it to take some photos of her dinner.  And apparently the lighting over their table wasn’t very good, because she picked up her plate and carried it to an empty table, where she put it down and took another photo.  I guess that photo wasn’t satisfactory either, because she repeated the process at several other tables before she finally carried her food back to her own table and began to eat.

I’ll never know exactly why the woman was so concerned with getting a high-quality photo of her dinner, but I assume she intended to share it on social media.  We certainly live in a time where it’s common to share almost every detail of our lives and almost every thought that crosses our minds, and the internet makes it so very easy for us to do so.  But it seems to me that all too often, we have lost sight of the difference between the things we should share and the things that we should be keeping to ourselves.

Honestly, sharing all the mundane details of our lives only annoys other people.  (I know I could live happily without ever seeing a photo of someone else’s meal.)   But far worse is the kind of sharing that is downright hurtful. When someone we care for voices an opinion that we think is just plain silly, we don’t need to actually tell them that.  I’ve never yet met a pregnant woman who appreciated being told about someone’s incredibly long and painful labor.  And people who have made difficult decisions don’t benefit from having someone second-guess their choice afterwards.  A good rule of thumb is that if sharing our thoughts will cause unnecessary stress or hurt feelings, then those thoughts shouldn’t be shared at all.

Sharing is a good thing, as long as we do it wisely.  We can do an incredible amount of good when we share our resources with those who are in desperate need, and sharing words of encouragement and hope can make a huge difference in the life of someone who is struggling.  The trick is to make sure that what we are sharing is something that is actually wanted and/or needed by the person we intended to share with.

I still think about that couple at the restaurant.  Maybe they really didn’t have anything they wanted to say to each other.  But I believe that their dinner would have been so much better if, rather than focusing on taking a good photo of their food to share online, they’d chosen to give their time and attention to each other instead.  That, in my opinion, would have been something actually worth sharing.  Because good things happen when we choose to share only the very best we have to offer…..

91 thoughts on “Only The Best

  1. She could have been a food blogger and doing a review of the resturant and he may have also been a writer on a tight deadline.
    I’m guilty of being on my phone all times of day (normally checking my site and email, Etsy and other apps.) I’m trying to stand back from Facebook for a bit- it’s the only personal social network I have, all others are business.
    I do agree with your overall message, though.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You’re right, there could have been a logical explanation. She may well have been a reviewer or food blogger, and maybe she was eating with her editor. The overall impression I got just reinforced my belief that we are spending too much time trying to share a perfect image of our lives with others, while ignoring the people who are right in front of us. But that doesn’t mean I was right, and sometimes we see what we are prepared to see. Thanks for helping me to realize there is always “the rest of the story!”

      Liked by 3 people

      • I enjoyed the post and agreed with it, but what made the biggest impression on me was your above comment. You humbly accepted that there could be an alternative scenario and that is a good lesson to me … someone who isn’t always humble and often intolerant. Thank you! 😀

        Liked by 4 people

  2. I reckon it’s a relapse to uncivilised times when we were hunter-gatherers yet, when perhaps the vainer members of the herd felt impelled to flaunt a prize catch to emphasise their prominence, consumption of victuals having secondary importance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s true, so much of our behavior is really in our genes. I’ve long been convinced that our shopping addition is related to our early ancestor’s needs to hunt and gather in order to keep their families alive. Thanks for that perspective! Honestly, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who thinks that way sometimes!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Some have suggested that they might have been working on an article about the restaurant, and if that’s the case, then their behavior makes sense. Sadly, I’ve often seen couples and families eating out, all staring at their phones, rather than engaging with each other. It makes no sense to me!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s difficult to believe it was food Bloggers/Critics. Knowing people who do this, they typically go in during an off hour so not to disturb the atmosphere. Some even bring their own lighting because lighting in a romantic restaurant is not enough for good quality pics.

        Their actions were most likely work related. That is the big excuse now for using social media, and social media urges us to advertise work. Either way, it’s a translucent view of priorities and it’s sad. xxx

        Liked by 2 people

        • I agree, I think usually food critics keep a lower profile, so they are treated the same as the other diners. We’ll never know for sure, but they probably were just preoccupied with their devices, and social media really encourages that!

          Liked by 2 people

  3. They may have been working and if so, that’s fine but even a work lunch or dinner should have some relaxed time and engaging conversation. If it was a young couple eating out and they continue to devote so much of their attention to work and/or social media, I think their relationship will be short-lived! Another good reminder to focus our attention on who and what is most important in our lives.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. crucial points well made again Ann … why meet another if there is no interaction … I find this so rude, turn off your devices and engage! Nothing can be more important than giving time to be with someone ….

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, that is a possibility that they were actually working, which would explain the computer and the photos. I just looked at it in the context of people ignoring their surroundings in order to focus on their devices and only “sharing” things online. I’ve seen that far too often! But they may well have had a good reason for their actions, and I may have just read the situation wrong.

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      • I don’t know, Ann, even if you were a food critic, wouldn’t you talk to one another? Look at each other’s plates? Comment? We’re seeing so much of this now every where, people of the world but living in small spheres, not much interested in one another, be it another adult or even a child, all willfully disconnected. Social media is conditioning us to always talk, and seldom to listen and ponder.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, I think they would have compared notes and at least engaged somewhat, but they didn’t, as far as I could see. I honestly don’t know what was going on, whether they were coworkers who didn’t particularly care for each other or a couple out for dinner who was putting more energy in their devices than with each other. But whatever was happening with that particular couple, I do know that social media is discouraging people from actually engaging with one another. I have a friend who is a kindergarten teacher and she says she has parents who will make the effort to come have lunch with their child, and then spend the whole lunchtime ignoring their child while they are on their phones. It is beyond sad.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. When I see people on their devices at mealtime, I usually assume they’re more interested in seeking validation from other sources than connecting with each other. To me, the scene you describe is sad, maybe even tragic. Very good point about wisely sharing, too. It’s something everyone should think about. Great post, Ann!

    Liked by 4 people

    • I think that’s an important point, Des. People who are constantly on their devices and constantly posting are probably seeking validation, and from all the wrong places. The immediate and present human connection is so much better for us on an emotional level, I think. Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. One should ask themselves “why am I sharing?” If the answer is, “because people really want to see this”, then by all means share – but if the answer is “because I really want people to see this”, then find something else to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. When the use of social media turns into a form of addiction, we become slaves of the digital devices. Their usefulness in connecting with other people cannot be denied, but when they are no longer a means to an end, life becomes meaningless and genuine human contact suffers. At least the man in your story put his laptop aside when the meal arrived. I also liked the way you pointed out the importance to know the difference between what you can share with other people and what we should keep to ourselves. Another great post, Ann!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Peter! I think social media addiction is a very real thing, and many people suffer from it these days. It is said that the more time we spend on it, the more anxious and depressed we come, which is truly tragic. Like so many things, social media is good only when used in moderation.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s possible, since she was so worried about getting a good photo of her food. (The restaurant was kind of dark.) And if so, their behavior wasn’t so outlandish. I truly hope they were!

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    • Yes, it’s possible they were, although I always thought critics tried to keep a low profile. Still, they could have been writing an article about the restaurant for a blog or something, so there’s that possibility. But I do agree that we are losing our ability to connect on a real level as we focus more and more on cyber-sharing!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, food blogging would make more sense that restaurant critics, and it’s very possible that’s who they were. I’ve seen this sort of thing a lot in terms of ignoring others at the table while focusing on a cell phone, but the care she took with her photos does suggest something else was going on. Wish I’d had the nerve to ask!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I concur with the more friendly interpretation of them being food bloggers. However, I would add as a twist, if that were true then what kind of food lover (I naively tend to assume that all food bloggers must be food lovers by definition, no?) would treat the meal they take so much time and effort to present with such disrespect? Hm… I’m still debating with myself whether that might be even more disturbing than the death of analog conversation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s true! They may well have been food bloggers, but her meal was getting cold while she was working on those photos. It’s hard to say. I don’t follow food blogs myself, so that didn’t really occur to me when I saw them. I had thought of restaurant critics, but they usually don’t draw attention to themselves. Thanks for the comment!

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    • Well that’s certainly how I looked at it! And you know, when I wrote articles for a local magazine, I was sometimes sent to a restaurant to interview the owner and sample the food. But if I was there when the restaurant was open to other diners, I was careful to keep a very low profile so as not to disturb them. Because I really do believe restaurants are for eating, drinking and enjoying the company of those who are at the table with us!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. As my mum used to say “if you have nothing good to say, you’re better off saying nothing at all. “ And as for that couple at the restaurant, I just think it’s a really sad indicator of their relationship (unless they were food reviewers but sadly I’ve seen similar things). Crazy times we live in.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. The restaurant we ate at the other night actually has cute wooden boxes on each table for diners to put their phones in so they could just focus on each other. There was a cute little saying carved into the wood about it, and I wanted to take a pictue of it, but the lighting was bad…I guess I should have carried the box to different tables for better lighting, lol!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so funny! I was so shocked to see her carry that plate all around the dining room, plunking it down on empty tables and taking a photo. But I love the idea of a box on each table where we put our phones…and leave them there until the meal is over!

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  11. I agree and I’m also glad to see that you’re willing to entertain other possibilities. I was going to add that sometimes my husband and I spend the ENTIRE day together, leaving nothing intimate to be shared during a public meal lol While I wouldn’t tolerate an entire laptop being pulled out, I do understand sometimes, there’s nothing more to say for the day.

    But, I’m also guilty of copious food pictures no matter with whom I dine lol I think society is at the point of no return, unless the following generation is fed up with their parents always on their phones and does something different…you know how generational pendulums swing?

    Anywho, great topic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good point! Our grandchildren’s generation has grown up with constant photos being taken and everything posted. They will either think it is completely normal, or they will rebel against it and insist on privacy as they grow older. It will be interesting to see how that one plays out…
      As for your other point, believe me, I get it. There are times when my husband and I don’t have much to say to each other either. We don’t get our phones out at restaurants, but we do go to sports bars, where we spend the evening with my husband watching the games, and me pretending to care which team wins. LOL! Thanks for the comment…you always make me think!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. A sad truth now-I see this so prevalent in our youth-We are losing the ability to converse-and the need to advertise the details of our lives is just as scary- To me it is very scary-we are out of balance-and maybe I am sounding old, but I just never saw this coming and it shocks me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes it shocks me too, which is why I just naturally assumed the photos she was taking were for posting on social media. It is possible she was working on a food blog, but I have seen so many people at restaurants on their phones and taking pictures of their meals, that I do think it is a trend overall. And not a good one. Thanks for the comment, Michele!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree with you completely. I see people in restaurants more involved with their phones than they are with each other or with actually enjoying the food in front of them. Why live your life through the filter of a screen when you can just reach out to what is in front of you? I don’t get it. 🤷‍♀️

    [I found you via Val’s blogroll, btw.]

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! How often have we seen crowds of people at some big event staring at their phone as they tape it? I can’t help but wonder why they don’t put the phone down and simply enjoy the atmosphere. Living our lives through a screen is just sad….
      Thanks for the comment, and for letting me know I’m on Val’s blog roll. I love her blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. It always makes me crazy to see couples ignoring each other at the expense of technology. I just don’t understand why they even bother to go out. Might as well sit at home and ignore each other with take out. I’m hoping that maybe they were not a “couple” but maybe business colleagues, which is still no excuse but maybe they don’t like each other much…:) Taking a photo of food is one thing. Walking round the restaurant to get better lighting is a bit bizarre.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We think alike, George! If we’re going to spend the evening simply staring at our phones (or laptops), then let’s just stay home and do that! I don’t understand making the effort to go out with someone and then ignoring them for most of the evening….

      Liked by 1 person

  15. It often seems today that more energy is spent in​ creating a perfect looking world for ourselves to post online.  I’m guilty of it as well. Our life is only good if we have a photo of it, an edited one to boot.  It’s more difficult to put the device down and personally interact.  I see it all the time here in the high-tech city of Hong Kong where couples sit together gazing at screens and not each other.  It makes my train ride quieter, but oh so sad.  Anonymity also encourages people to “speak” with far less civility than if face to face.  I shudder sometimes at the level of hostility in the comment sections of blog posts.  I experienced it just this week reading the comment section of a friend’s blog and felt sad for him.  Being less “practiced” at human interactions don’t make us a better version of ourselves.

    I think your post touched a nerve (ha ha). As always, well written and thought provoking! =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad this post spoke to you! And I couldn’t agree more; the more time we spend on our screens, the less time we spend having meaningful human interactions. Sometimes it does make me fear for our future. I especially hate to see parents giving young children their cell phone to keep them quiet, and then promptly ignore that child for the next half hour or so. Children don’t learn social skills that way, or even self-control or good manners. It is just beyond sad.
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful and kind comment!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. This is a phenomenon I encounter all too often, and I’ve actually had this conversation on several occasions about what we have lost as society when we cannot it at a meal without our devices.

    It needs to be said more often, and hopefully. people will take notice, and perhaps more of us will go back to the old-fashioned dining & conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it has become a huge problem in that we our beginning to use our devices as a substitute for real relationships. I also hope we can go back to normal dining with real conversation. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

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