Would You Like A Side Of Phone With That: Do’s & Don’ts of Cellphone Use

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I decided to enjoy the great weather with a late lunch at our favorite restaurant. The food came out quickly but taking my first bite wasn’t as lucky. Before we were able to dig in, we were disrupted with the most obnoxious noise coming from the table next to us. Unaware at first as to what it could be, I didn’t want to believe it, but the couple next to us decided to crush my faith in humanity. They committed a major cellphone no-no, and decided that the whole restaurant would also enjoy their lunch catching up on Sunday cartoons.

Yes, we realize that about 20 years ago there was no need for a “Cellphone Courtesy Month,” but in instances like our lunch, 91% of American adults now use cell phones no matter where they are. In saying so, it’s never a bad time to have good manners when you use your phone. Here are our Top 5 “Do’s and Don’t’s.”


Do schedule time to unplug – you’ll feel more refreshed, and your friends and family will appreciate having your undivided attention.

Do use features like texting and caller ID to decide how you’re going to make your time more productive; while you’re waiting for a call back from the doctor or a customer, can you call back Aunt Fran after dinner, when you’ll have time to hear about what she baked today?

Do be considerate of your companions. After all, they made plans to see you, and they’d rather have time to talk and enjoy your company than watch you text. Texting is like talking behind someone’s back; it’s rude when the person you’re with isn’t included in the conversation.

Do remember that people can hear any sound omitted from your device just as easily as they can hear you talk. Everywhere. Consider this: If someone else was chattering away on the phone or blasting their Netflix or listening to on Pandora, would you want to hear it?

Do let voice mail take messages while you’re in a meeting, unless you’ve told the people you’re meeting with that you’re expecting a call. You can even customize your outgoing message to tell callers when you’ll be available.


Don’t shout. If you can’t hear what the person on the other end is saying, you can always call them back and wait until you get to a quieter place to talk. Even if people aren’t asking you to speak more softly, they’re thinking it, especially in close quarters.

Don’t text when driving, biking or walking (or you could end up like that teen falling down a manhole, just like in a cartoon).With the phone-obsessed walking into traffic at an alarming rate, New York City has painted crosswalks with a message for pedestrians: “LOOK”.

Don’t try to have a long, complex conversation over text. Sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone than have a lengthy text exchange.

Don’t talk or text in a movie theater, theater, restaurant, church, or synagogue. People around you have paid good money, just like you, to catch a flick, take in a show, enjoy a meal; or they’re just praying that you’ll leave.

Don’t text early, don’t text late. Unless it’s (close) family, wait until after 8 or 9AM (what is considered “business hours” in your neck of the woods), and not later than 9PM (or possibly 10PM) depending on whether your recipient has kids, is a night owl, etc.

So now it’s your turn to weigh in: What would you add to this list?


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