You be the judge: Should my boyfriend put his phone on silent? | Relationships

The charge: Ravinda

Derek’s phone is constantly ringing, beeping, chiming and buzzing – and it’s driving me crazy

My boyfriend Derek never puts his phone on silent and it drives me crazy. We recently moved in together after three years of dating and now work remotely in the same apartment for most of the week.

I noticed it before, but now that we’re living together, it’s driving me crazy. He likes to have his phone on full volume all the time. Europe’s final countdown sounds every time he gets a call, and he’s got those bells ringing for his app notifications and text messages. He takes a lot of calls and I constantly hear his phone beeping, chiming and buzzing.

I asked him if he could keep his phone on silent, but he says the alerts help him stay focused and on top of his job. I tell him the world won’t stop spinning if he doesn’t immediately respond to a text or a call from a customer, but he won’t get it. I used to like to sit at the table with him while we worked, but now I’ve retired to the little office we have in the guest room. I can’t concentrate with all the noise.

It’s not just work – he keeps his phone on in the evenings too. Our conversations and private time are constantly interrupted by alerts announcing certain Instagram updates.

Derek’s phone is constantly glued to his hand and it lights up when it rings. It’s a dopamine thing, I guess. I think he’s addicted to it.

The only other people I know who have their phones on full volume are people over 60 who aren’t very tech savvy. Derek and I are only in our thirties. He must know how to use his telephone in silent mode.

At night, I forced him to put his iPhone on “do not disturb” mode so we could sleep uninterrupted, but even that was a big deal for him. He said, “What if there’s an emergency?” But if it’s midnight, we shouldn’t be bothered.

Derek suffers from Phone Fomo (fear of missing something), but he has to turn the volume down when working around the house. If he doesn’t, I’ll have to ask him to move into a coworking space. I can not stand him anymore.

Defense: Derek

Phone notifications are supposed to play a sound. This is how notifications work

My phone sound is always on. Phones make a sound for a reason – so we can track our notifications and messages. I don’t know why Ravinda is so offended by this concept. Having sound isn’t an “old people” thing, as Ravinda always jokes. A lot of people I know think keeping your phone on silent is boring.

I don’t have a particularly stressful job, but I work from home and run my own digital marketing business. I’m constantly arranging calls and responding to my clients, so of course I want to keep everyone happy. Ravinda’s role isn’t as complete as mine, so maybe she doesn’t understand. Yes, my phone volume is turned up to maximum, but I like it that way. I don’t think my ringtone is any more annoying than the next person’s, and my notification sound is the default option on the iPhone.

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Maybe I get a little pleasure from feeling busy all the time. I don’t want to miss what’s happening during the working day and in the evening, I like to keep up to date with social media posts. I also have sound alerts for my emails and news topics that interest me: anything related to crypto, for example.

I used to keep the sound on overnight when my phone was charging by my bed, but I stopped that at Ravinda’s request. Guess it’s better for both of us if we can sleep without it ringing. Sometimes I worry about missing a last-minute client request or financial update.

Ravinda said she couldn’t work next to me because of my phone alerts, but that’s not true. We’re both in meetings and on calls frequently, so it’s best to have our own space so we don’t distract each other. It’s not my phone’s fault that we have to work from home.

I can try to be more present after work and not be so focused on my notifications when they aren’t super important. But I will continue to have my phone at full volume. It makes my life easier.

The Guardian Readers’ Jury

Should Derek put his phone on silent?

Derek, there’s no need for full volume and all the alerts bleeding into your home life. There’s no excuse for this level of intrusion: you can receive notifications via vibrating alerts or a smartwatch. The lack of compromise shows a lack of consideration for Ravinda. Be the best person here.
Simon, 48 years old

Derek must be wondering why he gets so much of his self-esteem from customers and pings on his phone. Rather than undermine Ravinda, he should think about accommodating and prioritizing his presence when they share space and time.
Sophia, 34 years old

Maybe Derek and Ravinda can work in separate rooms in “office” houses, so Derek’s phone can be as loud as he wants. Because even when one phone is on silent, phone conversations from one will distract the other when sharing a workspace.
Tone, 61

Sharing work space and home space requires negotiation and compromise. For harmony, Derek must find a decibel level and a pleasing tone in Ravinda. It’s a pleasure to put your phone on silent!
Sharon, 54 years old

Derek is guilty. It’s inconsiderate to have your phone on full volume without a very good reason, especially when people are trying to work. It should either work elsewhere or get a different, quieter notification setup, like a smartwatch that vibrates.
Catherine, 25 years old

you are the judge

So now you can be the judge. In our online poll below, tell us: Should Derek put his phone on silent?

We’ll share the results on the You Be The Judge show next week.

The poll will end on Thursday, June 16 at 9:00 a.m. BST

Last week’s result

We asked if Sally should start cleaning up her old books, as the mess annoys her husband Andy.

79% of you said no – Sally is innocent
21% of you said yes – Sally is guilty

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