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.


HE SAID: Cell Phone Etiquette

November 3, 2009

I enjoyed reading through most of your rules, Nifer.  Luckily I have never encountered someone talking on speaker phone in public, because I’d most likely owe them $100-200 (depending on what phone they have) after slapping out of their hand Manu Ginobili style. Also, since I try my best not to take dumps in public bathrooms, I’ve yet to encounter someone talking on the phone in a stall.  But for the most part, I agree with all you put out there, I mean honestly, nothing screams douchebag like a bluetooth earpiece (although I’m ok with someone using it while driving).  I do have a few exceptions.

First, some ringback tones can actually kind of be fun to listen to.  I never thought I much of them, but one of my friends has “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and I am almost upset when she answers.  Oh, it’s The Temptations version, not TLC.  Secondly, while I agree ringtones sound like shit compared with the real song, they are still more enjoyable to listen to then some bootleg tone nokia developed.  Also, I use one of my good friend’s bands song, so I feel like I’m helping advertise for him.  I do not agree with someone using a special ringtone for their significant other, unless it’s witty and funny, as opposed to forcing people to listen to “Right Here Waiting For You” by Richard Marx every time he/she calls.

My biggest disagreement comes with your rule for movies/class/etc.  Specifically, movies.  Turning your cell phone on vibrate is not enough.  Fuck it, even turning it on silent mode is not enough.  Turn it off*.  It amazes me that people can’t go two hours without checking their phone for messages or missed calls. You aren’t that important, whoever is trying to reach you isn’t waiting by the phone for a call or text back.  Leave it in the car, don’t be tempted.

*Of course, there are exceptions…Doctors on call, parents using a new babysitter for the first time, a drug dealer, etc.

I have one important rule to add, a slightly different take on your “face to face convo” rule.  If you are in a group setting, say…watching some football with a bunch of people, I fully embrace answering the phone if it is someone you wish to talk to.  However, leave the effing room.  While your phone call might be important to you, I assure you, it most likely isn’t to the rest of the group.  In addition, all you do is stifle conversation amongst the rest of the group, forcing us to resent you and most likely make fun of whatever it is you are saying.

Oh yeah, finally…”if you call someone and get voicemail, leave a message or don’t. Just don’t text, it’s gay” (movie quote alert).