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Cell phone etiquette: 5 principles to adopt right now

April 17, 2013

cell phone yellerImagine 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.

© Copyright 2013 Fashion for the average man.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2013 11:23 am

    Over here in Sweden there is no manners what so ever when it’s about using a mobile phone …. thanks for that all trains has a quiet section and there I will be at all times.
    It’s not so much the conversation as all the silly ring tunes … that is getting on my nerves.
    Then some of us .. don’t need a phone at all, because they will be heard anyhow.
    To be honest I hate mobile phones, and so happy that still they are not allowed aboard planes, it’s a peace haven for me.
    Have a friend she answer her phone when we are having a meal together. I promise the world will go on spinning even if we don’t take the call there and now. People will phone back if it’s very important. Brilliant post.

    • April 17, 2013 12:51 pm

      Good points. Cell phones are everywhere now and not going away any time soon. Thanks for the comment.

      • April 17, 2013 3:33 pm

        I wish … they would, but … they are hear to stay! Life was so less stressful without them. Thanks for a great post.

  2. April 24, 2013 3:02 pm

    I especially don’t understand people having very personal conversations while using public transportation. Even if it’s not about a gross medical or bodily thing, why do you want to get into your life’s drama with everyone listening? And that’s often when they’re loudest (and therefore most annoying).

  3. April 26, 2013 1:55 am

    Very reasonable list. Number 5 hits a nerve with me. I loath already being in a conversation that gets interrupted in my free ear. There ends up being no focus and I am not present in either conversation. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  4. Tongue Sandwich™ permalink
    April 27, 2013 2:43 pm

    My humble contribution to this subject matter: http://goo.gl/0t9ij

  5. Ajaytao2010 permalink
    May 29, 2013 4:49 pm

    Nice reading about you

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Be in touch. Browse through the category sections, I feel you may find something of your interest.

  6. June 6, 2013 1:25 pm

    Words of wisdom! These things should be clear to any normal person but sadly that is not the case…
    Thanks for stopping by and liking my photo. Much appreciated 🙂

  7. August 22, 2013 12:40 pm

    It amazes me that people seem to think that when they’re on their phone somehow people around them have become deaf. They seem to discuss things that they would never dream of discussing around a table of strangers.

    Also, in my opinion, funny ring tones are no longer funny, they’re just incredibly annoying.

    The one that makes me wonder is when you see a whole group of people out in a pub or bar, and they are all on their respective smart phones, either texting or facebooking or whatever, with hardly any attention paid to the people they are out with. One of my colleagues brought in photos of his wedding reception and in virtually every picture he was using his phone!

    • August 22, 2013 12:43 pm

      Good points. Funny how we can get caught up in distractions when wonderful conversations are waiting to be had with those right in front of us.

      • August 22, 2013 12:49 pm

        I think it’s human nature to an extent, like people travelling hundreds of miles to see things when they’ve not seen anything where they already live. A friend went to visit a castle about 300 miles away, when we have one of the most impressive castles in the UK 10 miles away that he’s never been to…

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