I was simply going to call this blog post, Ettiquette for the New Age, but I quickly realized that this topic deserves quite a bit more than one post. I should make the disclaimer that I am neither an expert on ettiquette, nor am I completely free of guilt in committing some of the social "crimes" I will ennumerate in what I am sure will become quite an extensive series. I'm merely someone who endeavors to see to the comfort of those around me, and who is just opnionated enough to share my ideas on the itarwebs.
And so, without any further apology or ado, I would like to propose that we agree on the following regarding that thing we won't leave home without; our cell phone:
1) My cell phone exists for my convenience, not yours. No I'm not ignoring you, I'm busy, I have no service, or my phone is off. And what's more, even if I am ignoring you, that's my perogative. Oh and PS, the more you pester me, the more I DON'T want to talk to you.
2) Your friends do not live in your cell phone, and to spend most of your time looking at it is to suggest that the company of those around you is somehow inferior to the small plastic noisebox in your hand. If you need to take a call or make a text, step away and allow your friends' conversation to continue normally. Don't force your friends to sit in awkward, angry silence while you monopolize both conversations.
3) Try to keep cell phone conversations short when in the car with others. In this situation, NOBODY can walk away. Please try to respect the time of the people who actually care about you enough to be in your presence.
4) Plays, concerts, movies, weddings, graduations, meetings, family dinners, religious services, court hearings. What do all of these events have in common? Cell phones should not be invited to them. Ever. Turn. It. Off. Or it goes in the Champagne Fountain.
5) Don't be the guy who just lets his cell phone ring during any of the above-mentioned situations. We all know it's you. We've all forgotten at some point. Just reach into your pocket or purse and silence your phone, and we promise not to throw you in the laser-shark tank. If you're EXPECTING an important call, put your phone on vibrate so you can discreetly check call ID and excuse yourself if you need to. Just don't disturb *everyone* by having the conversation in the middle of the event.
6) Learn how your phone works. Know how to turn it on and off, activate and deactivate your bluetooth, silence it, put it on vibrate, take and make calls, dial, put numbers in your phone book, and send a text message. If you have a smart phone, become familiar with those tools as well. Your cell phone is a powerful communication tool and there is no reason not to use it to it's fullest capacity. Not to mention there's nothing more frustrating to a down-on-their-luck tech geek than someone who has the phone they want and doesn't know how to use it.
Alright, I think that's all the bile I have to spill on this topic for now. In short, be considerate of others when using cell phones. They are not leashes or replacements for face-to-face interaction. They are only tools to aid with communication.