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One-Handed Side Glance

There are times when you just need to be more discrete when you’re texting.  For example, your date for the evening has asked you about Grecian urns.  And you don’t want to be a complete clod, so you have to do a very quick, cursory look up.  Does this happen to anyone?  I mean, you could just pull out your phone in these situations, but that would be the end of the evening.  Right?  The evening could head downhill rather quickly if you come off as a uncultured lug.  In these cases, try the One-Handed Side Glance technique.  It’s discreet, a bit slower, but you can pretty much keep eye contact and not lose momentum.


Your date has brought up a topic that youd like to casually know more about.


Use a discreet technique that accesses your device without losing too much eye contact.


This technique comes the closest to no-look typing on a device.  The goal here is to type in information (for a search) while keeping as much eye contact with your date.  Keep in mind that this technique can be used in other situations, a performance review with your boss, a discreet second opinion in your doctor’s office, or checking the basketball schedule while you order dessert for your date.  In each case, you are not trying to hide that you are using your device. Instead you are trying to keep its use as seamless as you can.

  1. As soon as you realize that you need a little outside help (what the Cash Cab would call a Shout Out), quietly reach for your device.  Keep eye contact during this time.
  2. Introduce the fact that you are going to do a quick reference check.  For example,
  • “I remember seeing something about that on the web the other day.”
  • “Gee, sounds like a complicated surgery.  I thought there was a different approach on WebMD.”
  • “Dessert sounds great.  I hear they make a great crème brulée. I almost forgot…
  1. In each of these cases, bring the phone into a position as far removed from your line of vision as possible.
  2. Discreetly open the device and grasp it in one hand.
  3. Using the one-handed typing technique of Typing on a Soft Keyboard found in section 4.1.2, enter your request.  But remember to keep the phone low and to the side.  Use only a sideward glance to insure that you are typing in the words correctly.  Choose the predictive text suggestions where appropriate.
  4. Keep your conversation going.
  5. When you have your answers, scan the choices discreetly.  If your date is discussing the topic already, do not panic.  Just nod and ask questions that keep her (him) at bay while you sort through the appropriate response.
  6. When you find the answer, take control of the conversation.  Work the answer back into the conversation.  For example,
  • “It’s funny.  The origins of Grecian Classical urn décor had their roots in Egyptian handicraft…”
  • “You know, doc.  What would happen if we used the TRX procedure supplemented with guided MRI scans?”
  • “There’s no rush, why do you ask?  The game doesn’t start until later, besides I have it recorded.  You are the center my  attention, hon.”
  1. Discreetly put your phone away and carry on with your conversation.

In most cases, keeping the device on the periphery will work charms.  Although the device can supplement your conversations, it will not interrupt them.

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