Steel Advice: A time and place for texting

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DEAR STEEL ADVICE: What really annoys me is when someone is texting while eating in a restaurant. I see this happen all of the time. Is there some etiquette about texting when you are eating?


DEAR ANNOYED: A person can text till their thumbs fall off if they are eating alone or are with a group of friends who are also texting and tweeting. Addictive and gratifying, texting is wildly popular among young people.

It becomes outright rude behavior, however, if it causes a person to mentally vacate when socially engaged with another person. It implies a lack of respect and says the sender has better affairs to acknowledge. Proper etiquette demands that focus is to be where you are.

When on a job interview or having lunch with your boss it is definitely wiser to play it safe and keep the phone in the off position. Texts, thumbs and tweets need down time.

DEAR STEEL ADVICE: My family has been discussing the Affordable Care Act recently.

All different points of view exist, and all have advice for health care coverage to some degree.

I have an opinion but I also have excellent health care coverage at work. Is it fair for me to join in the conversation?


DEAR CONCERNED AND INSURED: Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Express your opinions but do not spout for the sake of hearing your own echo.

You can participate in the discussions even though the Affordable Care Act does not directly affect your coverage. Listen to all points of view and be understanding when someone says they are negatively impacted by the new regulations.

Do not be secretive about your own insurance benefits but be sensitive to the fact that some of your relatives may see this discussion as social injustice.

The family web can quickly become tangled, emotionally charged and full of misinformation. Lean toward becoming a well-read, informed listener and let the armchair political pundits vent and argue.

Need some Steel Advice? Email questions to: or write to Mary Ann Wellener, Steel Advice Column, c/o Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Follow Mary Ann on Twitter at @PGSteelAdvice.

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