Hi, I'm Faye de Muyshondt answering the big question. Is it ever okay to use your phone at the table? I say, it's not okay to use your phone at the table.
This is the opportunity that you have to interact with someone face to face. In our modern world, we get fewer and fewer opportunities to interact with someone face to face. Now, there are those emergency type situations that you might find yourself in, or, if you're expecting something that's very, very pressing, if you are under one of those circumstances, what you're going to want to do is have your mobile device on vibrate.
But, let the person know that you are dining with the people that you're dining with, that you're expecting an important call that you're going to have to take when it comes in. And again, it should be for anything. It should be for something extremely important and pressing. To that end, your phone should never be on the table while you are dining. Your phone should be stored away, it should be on vibrate or on silent. If your phone is on vibrate and it's going to pose an enormous distraction during the meal, where you feel like you are going to be needing to check it every time it buzzes, turn it off, make sure that it's out of sight, out of mind. It's disrespectful to sit across from someone whom you are really not engaging with. Also, you never want to make someone feel like your phone and the people who are reaching out to you via your mobile device, are more important than the person sitting right in front of you.
If you are in a business setting, the same rules apply. The only thing is, you're going to have a few more situations that could require your attention immediately, after all, you are on a work day. So that's my suggestion on whether or not it's ever okay to use your phone at dinner.