Here is my thought… the phone does not surpass face to face contact. It is a tool to be used when face to face contact is not possible. Then there’s also the issue of respect: respect the people whose presence you are sharing and get off the stupid phone. Nothing makes me feel more insignificant than to be cut off for a prolonged phone call. This is not to say that I am the center of the universe. Important things happen, emergencies happen, crises happen. Sure. This is usually not what is going on when I’m sitting across the table from someone engaged in a long conversation. For the most part, they’re just shooting the breeze.
The other thing that I have noticed about the phone, people use it as a pacifier substitute when doing things alone. I have sat at coffee, enjoying my time, reading a book, and there I see someone alone and incapable of being at peace. The person picks up the phone, flips through the address book, and proceeds to call everyone possible to have a conversation with. In this case, why bother going out and spending the money on the coffee?
Warning: If you are out with me and spending a stupid amount of time on the phone, I might walk away, because I’m not needed in the slightest. Either I’m not interesting enough, or you have too much going on.