SHE SAID: Cell Phone Etiquette*

November 3, 2009


I am a fan of cell phones.  I love my iPhone. I love that I can access my email, the world wide web, twitter, the weather, my calendar, a crossword … all these things are at my fingertips and I abuse that on occasion, like most people I know.  We have the ability to constantly be in touch, and while most people I know are able to deal with that healthily, enough of us have been annoyed by someone’s cell phone habits at some point in time.  I feel some boundaries are necessary and here are some rules I think should be mandatory.

Your ring-tone … If you just have to have Miley Cyrus as your ring-tone, please keep the volume at a low level.  While I would ask this of any ring-tone, musical ones are particularly annoying because no matter how awesome the song, it’s going to sound bad when sampled for your ring-tone and not all around you are going to be fans of your particular choice.

If you are in a movie theater, a meeting, class, etc.  putting your phone on vibrate will do just fine.

Talking while in a close public space is not always necessary.  While I get that your mother or husband or wife or whoever might call while you’re in the store because they need you to pick something else up that wasn’t on the list, it is not necessary to be on the phone with your best friend going over the details of last night’s disastrous date with a fine toothed comb in the check out line.  I have overheard really personal conversations, disgusting details, and many a bathroom conversation (really … does the other person know you’re sitting in a public rest room doing god knows what while they are talking to you?) because people cannot seem to find a private place to carry on their phone call.

In addition – to have your phone on speakerphone while in public is downright wrong.  While you might find yourself and your conversation fascinating, let me assure you, the rest of us do not.

Also, it is not required that you always answer your phone.  If you are having a real face-to-face interaction with someone, it’s pretty rude to pick up your phone.  Again, emergencies aside, it’s okay to miss a call and call someone back later.

Ringback-tones are a terrible, terrible idea.  When I call someone, I don’t want to hear a song while I wait for them to pick up.  I usually have some sort of music going on in the background anyway.  Plus, it makes me feel like I’m calling some huge corporation, not a family member or someone I know.

Texting should be limited to quick exchanges.  If it’s going to be long, or you need to discuss options, just call.  Also, if someone calls you, they wanted to talk, not text.  You should call them back.

Blue-tooth headsets.  Brad Pitt (one of People Magazine’s sexiest men alive) and David Beckham recently modeled blue-tooth headsets on two different magazine covers.  Proving that no matter how awe inspiring your good looks are, you still look like a complete tool with a blue-tooth headset on.  Wearing one when you’re not on your phone is … well, if you want to do that to yourself, that’s fine, but I try to help those I love and tell them when they look like an idiot.

*Thanks to Laura Page for the post idea.