You probably take your cell phone everywhere. Whether you’re headed to the grocery store, a meeting or hanging out with friends, your phone is always within arm’s reach. But, as common as cell phones may be in our lives, there are times when it only makes sense to put them away.
Our obsession with our phones can potentially cloud our good judgment, making us less engaged with those around us.
If you’re having trouble recognizing appropriate and not-so-appropriate times to pull out your phone, here are six place where you should keep your phone tucked away.
1. Hospital or doctor’s office
When you have a doctor’s appointment, it’s not uncommon to sit in the waiting room for 10, 20 or 30 minutes. Bringing along you cell phone is perfect for combating boredom. But depending on the hospital or doctor’s office, you might see signs restricting the use of cellular phone calls.
The reasons vary, but some medical offices might post these signs to stop loudmouths from talking on their phones and disturbing other patients. In other cases, these signs are posted because cell phones can emit radio frequency energy that interferes with important equipment like pacemakers. If you see a sign in a hospital or doctor’s office, comply and put your phone away. This doesn’t mean you can’t check email or play games to keep yourself entertained, but you should refrain from making calls.
2. Checkout/teller line
Some checkout and teller lines are super long, and striking up a conversation on your phone can help time move faster. Even if you manage to keep your volume low, common courtesy is to put your phone away once you reach the front of the line. This applies whether you are at a bank, a grocery store or a retail store. The person working the counter will likely need information from you, and juggling two conversations at once could get confusing. Notify the person on the phone that you’ll call them back, or ask them to hold until you complete your transaction.
Many people are guilty of taking their cell phones into the restroom with them, but you should think twice about using your phone when nature calls. Even if you attempt to keep your phone away from dirty surfaces, microscopic matter can get on the surface of your phone. Unless you disinfect your phone after each bathroom trip, you could unknowingly transmit germs to your face, which could make you sick.
4. Movie theater
Even if you’re considerate enough “not” to have a conversation while in a movie theater, you should also fight the urge to check your text messages or emails during a flick. The LED screen on a cell phone can brighten a dark room and disrupt movie watchers in the rows behind you. If you must take a phone call or answer a text message, kindly step out of the theater.
5. Locker room
You should also refrain from pulling out your cell phone in a locker room, especially if your phone has a camera. Locker rooms are where people shower and change clothes after a workout. Walking around with a cell phone could make some people nervous since it’s easy for you to snap a photo of them without permission. As a courtesy, keep your phone tucked away until you leave the locker room.
6. Business meeting
If you constantly stare at your cell phone during a business meeting, it can look like you’re not interested in what others have to say or not interested in a project. This sends a bad message to your boss, coworkers and clients. There’s a time and a place to be engrossed in your cell phone and a business meeting isn’t the place.
A cell phone is your property, and yes, you’re free to use it whenever you want. Even so, learning how to put distance between you and your phone has its benefits. You’ll become more engaged in conversation and without your phone glued to your hand, you might become less dependent on it.