Cell phone etiquette: 5 principles to adopt right now
Imagine a beautiful day. Your spirits almost carry you to work or play or whatever destination. You just can’t help but feel good for some reason. You stop into your favorite little bistro for a snack and spot a line. On any other day, you would hook a u-turn and head for a less crowded venue. But, not today. You feel great and don’t mind the wait. Until… You step into line right behind someone talking on a cell phone. For the next ten minutes, you bear through “You tell him I will … and … What?!!! I can’t believe he would say … When I get through with him, he is going to …” It does not matter if the person screams or whispers, it affects your mood and all those within earshot.
This illustrates the need for guidelines to cell phone use and interaction with others. I give you my own five don’ts:
1. Don’t mess with your phone during a face to face conversation. This includes texting, checking your email, and posting on Facebook or Twitter or WordPress. The day holds ample amounts of time to do these things. When you converse with someone, devote your attention to that person. Most people see or experience this kind of violation almost daily.
2. Don’t talk in public about private issues. The random strangers in the elevator with you do not need to hear the details of your upcoming surgery. Please, spare everyone the awkwardness – hang up and call back in a private place. This goes for the subway, waiting rooms, the library, lines, the gym, and heaven-forbid movie theatres. And if you have no choice but to take that call, lower the volume. Loud = Annoying.
3. Don’t hang up with someone to get another call. Devote your attention to the present conversation. The other person can wait. Let them leave a message and call back later.
4. Don’t take a call while talking with someone in person. Whether friend or acquaintance, your conversation partner did not sign up to idly watch you talk to another person. Don’t be rude. Show him some respect with your full attention. If you must take an urgent call, simply explain the nature of it to the person. 99% of people will understand.
5. Don’t interrupt someone in a phone conversation. In other words, don’t start to explain some task you need completed or the details of a dinner meeting. Wait till the person finishes the call. You can also write a short note and slip it to the person. Then, walk away. Tell the person you are available when he is ready.
I wrote this article as a follow-up to my most popular post, The 4 don’ts of cell phones. You can look great and avoid the worst fashion offenses with your phone, but if you look and sound like an idiot when you whip it out, fashion does not matter.
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