Cell phones are everywhere. No matter where you are, if you look around, chances are you’ll see at least one person messing around on their phone – and it comes as no surprise. Research shows at least 95 percent of adults in the United States own a cell phone. But while cell phones are mainstream, this doesn’t mean we should ignore all forms of decency with regard to their usage.
The do’s and don’ts of cell phone usage have definitely become blurred – most people don’t even realize if or when they’re being rude or disrespectful.
Since cell phones aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, we sometimes need reminders about how to conduct ourselves when using our phones in the presence of others. That’s why we’ve gathered 6 essential tips that’ll save you a lot of embarrassment when it comes to cell phone etiquette.
1. Don’t cut off a conversation to answer a phone call.
If you’re in the middle of a face-to-face conversation and your phone rings, resist the urge to cut off the conversation and answer your phone.
This behavior is rude, especially if you’re in the middle of addressing a serious issue or important conversation. Of course, there are some exceptions. The person calling might need to discuss an urgent matter, too, or maybe you’ve been playing never-ending phone tag with this individual.
If you must take a call or answer a text, kindly apologize to the person you’re speaking with face-to-face and then excuse yourself. If you plan to continue your face-to-face conversation with this person, keep your phone call brief.
2. Lower your voice.
When engrossed in a cell phone conversation while in public, you might be oblivious to the volume of your voice. Your conversation is no doubt important to you. Even so, show respect for those around you. In most cases, these individuals don’t want to hear the details of your conversation. If you take a call while in public, apply the 10-foot rule. This involves keeping a distance of at least 10 feet between you and the nearest person.
3. Take the phone off speaker.
Not only do bystanders not want to hear your loud voice, they also don’t want to hear the other person speaking on the other end. Putting a conversation on speaker can be annoying to those around you. A phone’s speaker feature is perfect for keeping your hands free while taking on the phone, but usually only in private settings, like while you’re home or on the road. If you’re not in a position to hold the phone while speaking in public, offer to call the individual at a more convenient time.
4. Put your phone on silent.
There are situations when answering your phone or texting is inappropriate, like during an important business meeting, wedding or movie. Even if you choose not to answer your phone, the ringing or buzzing may disrupt others, so before going into an important situation, turn off your phone or put the phone on silent mode.
5. Fight the urge to check your phone in a theater.
Even if you have no intentions of answering a phone call or sending a text message while in a movie theater, looking at the screen during the flick can distract those around you. A bright light in a dark movie theater is not only annoying, but also rude.
If you must look at your phone, put it in your purse or under a jacket before peeking at the screen. Or better yet, step outside the theater. Turn down your phone’s brightness before the movie starts, just in case you have to check it before the movie ends.
6. Don’t be a fact checker.
One amazing thing about cell phones is the ability to access information at a moment’s notice. While this is useful, don’t become the unofficial fact checker of your conversations. You know who I’m talking about—the person who has to always be right and who feels the need to research and prove others wrong in any conversation right then and there. As tempting as this might be, fight the urge and agree to disagree.
Cell phones are amazing and let us accomplish almost anything, from paying bills to conducting research. But to avoid being a nuisance to those around you, practice good cell phone etiquette. As a rule of thumb, don’t do anything on your phone that you wouldn’t want others doing while around you.