Phoning it In


Dear Violet,

I’m done. I am tired of the disrespect of fast food workers, of the rudeness of other drivers, of the lack of empathy in today’s societal relationships, and most of all I am done with the lack of empathy, kindness, and cohesiveness in my own family. We don’t sit and eat as a family, we don’t talk at all, everyone in our home, in the streets, in public, at work and school, all buried with their head in their phones. When did our lives become so singular and lonely? I know I can’t change or effect society, at large, but Violet, how do I repair my own family?

Missing my husband and wondering what my kids’ faces look like now,

Momma Bear with low battery

Dear Momma Bear,

Perhaps more than any letter I have received, I felt this letter. I have, for the last ten years or so, been worried about the lack of socialization in public spaces, related to individuals being so enchanted with their phone screens and so dismissive of the world, around them, at large, including their loved ones. It saddens me, and, frankly, frightens me, for our future as a society of people.

That being said I am not comfortable issuing advice to this, since I myself have not figured it out, completely. I can relate to you and let you know that in my home I do not allow phones at the breakfast or dinner table, nor is it allowed in the car on brief trips (to the store, to school, to work with others, and on the way to our other trips, as a family or parts of a family).

It is allowed in personal spaces, in the car for trips longer than thirty minutes, and to be near by, for the sake of emergencies, outside of those times. I have found that limiting phones, idle time watching shows, etc, I have not only limited screen time, but broadened family time and interaction. I suggest, perhaps, you start with this, and maybe work up to some of the other things on your list.

I don’t think you can alter other public behavior, but perhaps you can understand that it has nothing to do with you, and you are neither responsible for the behavior, nor the target of the same behavior. It’s the other individual’s working through their own issues or trying to not work through them.

Best of luck,


Dear Violet is a relationship advice column, covering both domestic relationships and familial relationships, as well as friendships. If you have something you want to get advice about, write in and get a third party, no ax to grind perspective. Welcome to Violet’s world. Send questions, comments or concerns attention: Ask Violet c/o Gonzales Inquirer at