PHONE ETIQUETTE isn’t as strict as it used to be, but I still can’t stand people who are checking their Facebook or texting someone while they are having a conversation with real people. At work I have this friend who is continually texting with her boyfriend during meetings and I feel it’s rude and unprofessional. When you are in the company of others, you should put your phone away. It may be 2017 but there are ways to go about using your phone a classier way.
Many of us already know basic phone etiquette, but what about those grey areas—situations where you ask, “Is it OK to have my phone out?” These are covered in the following simple, easy to remember tips. Are you guilty of any of these?
1. Checking your messages or social media accounts when you have company. This first one is a given and is just rude. Keep your phone in your bag until you are alone and focus on your guests.
2. Don’t check your phone during a presentation. If you do, you give a signal to the teacher or the presenter that you are not interested in what they are saying. If you do this too many times in a work environment, it can get you fired. Your boss may do it, but that doesn’t mean you can.
3. Don’t talk on your phone while using public transportation. It’s awkward for the rest of us since we don’t want to hear your private conversations. If someone calls you, tell that you will call back later unless it is a true crisis. Texting works better for these situations. Do you really want strangers to hear everything anyways? If you don't want people near you seeing what you are texting over your shoulder a privacy screen protector will fix this.
4. No phones at fine dining, movies or other shows. Unfortunately, this is something I’ve seen a lot lately. Last weekend we went to watch the new Star Wars movie and there was a girl in front of me who kept checking her phone. The screen’s brightness practically blinded me! Don’t be that person in the theater, especially since most places announce before the show to turn your smartphone off. Having the phone on silent during a meal helps avoid the temptation of answering a text.
5. Put your phone away when you are dealing with other people. You know that cashier lady in your grocery store? She is a person too. So when you are paying for your groceries, be there. Don’t talk to your phone or text to someone at the same time. The person near you deserves your attention. Plus, if they ring you up wrong because you were not paying attention it only adds to your headache.
6. Non-romantic Dates. This could be a lunch date with mom or out with new friends. Where should you put your phone? Technically leave your smartphone unseen in your bag or coat. If you are expecting an important call or message, then it is more acceptable to leave your phone on the table. It is also more acceptable to leave your phone on the table during a weekday lunch than in the evenings or a special meal out on the weekends. It’s that gray area that usually gets us, so be careful with these situations. Plus it's no fun if everyone is on their phone anyways.
7. Romantic Dates. Finding and meeting the right person is hard enough, but don’t ruin it with a bad first impression by checking your phone on a date. That includes pulling your phone out to take a picture of your meal. Not only will you seem disinterested, it could come off as rude and un-classy. But what if you aren’t interested? Even if you aren’t, it’s best to finish the date, if possible, or politely end it and remove yourself from that situation where you won't be tempted to do something rude.
8. Etiquette with someone else’s smartphone. Playing off of tip number seven, your date has gone to the restroom and their phone left on the table rings, what do you do? Should you answer it? The answer is NO. The only time you should pick it up is to silence or stop the ringing if they haven’t already switched it to silent mode in the restaurant. Do not even pick it up to see who is calling, it’d be even worse if they saw you doing so! When they return, let them know they missed a call. In other situations, where someone asks you to pick up their phone, always answer in a manner that identifies you since the caller isn’t expecting you. For example: “Katie’s phone, this is Stephanie speaking.” Deciding to pretend to be them as a joke could be problematic if it turns out it’s a call for an interview or something else important for your friend. Be the classy friend and they will, in my experience, return the favor.
9. Unknown Calls. Ever get telemarketers or someone calling from a number you can’t identify? It’s best to just screen the call and let it roll over to your voicemail. If it’s someone important like from financial aid and scholarships or the doctor, promptly call them back and identify yourself with your name so they know it’s you. If it’s a telemarketer bothering you, avoid the yelling and not so nice conversations by simply blocking the number so they don’t call you anymore.
10. When Driving. Safety is always important so texting or talking on the phone while driving isn’t a good idea and, in many states, is illegal. If you do, please use a hands-free set or use the speakerphone function. If someone calls you, while there is someone else in the car with you let the caller know first thing that your driving with other people and they are on speakerphone. If they aren't on speakerphone it's classy etiquette to tell them you will call back since you have guests in the car. Exceptions to these tips include a rare family or friend emergency.
What do you think about people checking their phones all the time? Do you hate it like I do or do you think it’s completely OK? Share your thoughts here!
About the blogger:
Stephanie So is a recent University of Kansas graduate student and blogger hailing from Kansas City. She thinks everyone should laugh at least once a day and believes that elegant women can achieve everything. She enjoys blogging about following passions and celebrating life.
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