At one time or another, we’ve all been either the offended or the offender when it comes to cell phone calls. Whether absent-mindedly walking onto the quiet car while catching up with mom on the commute or conferencing in the coffee line, most of the time people are just multitasking. As June is #NationalCellPhoneCourtesyMonth, it’s a good time to examine our habits and tune up our level of consideration. Here are a few tips.
Biggest Cell Phone Peeves
The value of being reachable at all times far outweighs any negative aspects of our connectivity. Nonetheless, with benefits come responsibilities. Just because we can do something — like talk on the phone in the library — doesn’t mean we should.
If you are most irritated by people who take calls during a movie, you are not alone. Ranker crowdsources opinions on a variety of topics and found that to be “the most annoying way people use their cell phones.” The aforementioned talking while ordering coffee is No. 3 and video calling rounds out the top 10 list.
Beyond simple nuisances, too much of a good thing can be too much. Paying more attention to the phone than a partner has been labeled “phubbing.” Psychologists say this repeated habit could damage the relationship. The irony, they’ve discovered, is that people can become addicted to they’re smartphones because they crave connection.
So how can we be more considerate?
Creating Courteous Cell Phone Habits
The original etiquette authority was Emily Post, and the eponymous institute carries on her work. It suggests that you being in control of your phone (versus it you) as the No. 1 cell phone manner.
We offer these 5 tips to create more courteous cell phone habits.
- The right time and place: Theater, lecture, museum, library, line, meeting, restaurant, doctor’s office, places of worship, public transport, airplanes, tours, school function — these are just a few of the places where noise is a no-no. If you must answer a call, step outside — before answering. Texting or streaming could also be disruptive.
- Keep it low: In these same public spaces, don’t forget to turn your ringer down or switch to vibrate. Also, dim your screen brightness when in a dark place. Night mode apps can help. If you absolutely must take a call, use what mom would call your “indoor voice.” Speak as softly as possible and do a mea culpa if you’re still getting the eye.
- Respect privacy: Keeping it low can also better protect your privacy. Most people don’t want to know the intimate details of your life anyway, but it’s not a good idea to speak unguarded any way. Respect other people’s privacy as well — don’t peak over their shoulders to read their texts (no matter how huge the font) or look at their pictures. And, if they’re the ones oversharing on a call, put on your head phones.
- Pay attention: When you are with other people — in meetings, at dinners, etc. — resist the urge to check your phone. Even if a message or email you are waiting for is important, the diversion will say to those in your company that they are not. Attention is imperative when you’re on the move as well. Distracted driving is against the law in most states. Distracted walking is a growing cause of injury and even death to both the sidetracked pedestrian and unlucky drivers.
- Take a break. It’s OK to put the phone away every now and again.
#NationalCellPhoneCourtesyMonth is a great time to hone your habits. Whenever you’re in a public place, look around first. If you’d prefer not to be disturbed by others and their bad phone behaviors, chances are you’d be disturbing them with yours.
Bonus courtesy tip: Instead of impinging on others with your phone, you could always share. Check out the dual-screen Axon M