Sure, you only get a little credit for ignoring a call or text message when you're in the middle of talking or meeting with someone. But when you divert your attention to look down to check your cell phone, it's like telling that person, "Wait, this might be more important than you are." And if you take the call or respond to the message, well, it's clear who won the face off.
If you want to get extra emotional credit, turn the phone off and tell the person that you're doing it.
If a kid sits down with us at Collegewise and says, "Before we get started, I'm going to turn my phone off," he goes up a couple notches in our book. It's like he's telling us, "This meeting is important to me–everybody else can wait for the next hour."
Please don't tell me that you have to be reachable all the time. Unless you're on the transplant list, no seventeen year old needs to be reachable all the time.
So the next time you visit a teacher to ask for help, or go see your counselor, or have a conversation with a friend who needs your advice, or meet with your tutor, say, "I'm going to turn off my phone" and then do it.
Not a bad way to start your college interviews either, by the way.