Nearly everyone has a cellphone, so it’s as good a time as any for a refresher course on appropriate cellphone manners. Not only will having a grasp of mobile manners make a good impression on others, but it could also save you some unwanted hostility from strangers at the bus stop to servers, fellow diners, and dates.
RESPECT FOR WAITSTAFF: If anybody is waiting on you, whether it be the barista at Starbucks or the waitress waiting to take your order, do them (and anybody around you waiting for service) a courtesy and pay attention. Should there be a call or text you have to respond to, step out of line or have a buddy hold your place or get your food for you.
In addition to these general rules for good mobile manners, remember to watch your language. If you’re at a place where you wouldn’t be spouting out curse words, don’t do it on your phone – especially if there are children around. If you know a conversation is going to get heated, either save it for later or find a more remote location. As for distance, the general rule is to maintain at least ten feet between yourself and others around you. For all other situations, exercise good judgment – and never text or talk while driving.
UNIVERSAL QUIET ZONES: There are some places where it’s never appropriate to take calls and send texts under any circumstances. Some of these universal quiet zones include theaters (unless you want to be pelted with popcorn), churches, funerals, weddings (maybe at the reception, but never during the ceremony), at plays (or anything having to do with the theater), at hospitals (except for the waiting room) and in the library.
DATES: Ideally, the focus of a date should be on the person you’re with at the moment, not on who may be suddenly texting or calling you. If you don’t have enough willpower to let calls go to voicemail or ignore texts, put your phone in your pocket or purse and ignore. Placing it on the table is never wise, especially if you have it on vibrate or have a crazy ringtone that’s likely to have everyone in the place looking to see who’s playing “Super Freak.”
CALL VOLUME: Even though cellphones are getting smaller and smaller, the speakers on newer phones are perfectly capable of picking up your voice – so there’s no need to yell. Be mindful of who’s around you and adjust your vocal tone accordingly. If your call suddenly gets heated, try to find a place with a little more privacy where you can have such a conversation without bothering everyone around you.
FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTIONS: If someone is taking the time to have lunch with you or meet with you for business reasons, suddenly taking a call or texting is just plain rude. Such behavior can be disastrous if you’re meeting with a client or going through a job interview. If you know you can’t resist the urge, either turn your cellphone off completely or leave it in the car.