Cell Phone Etiquette

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Cell Phone Etiquette

By Cindy Edwards

I vaguely remember life before the cell phone.  I have become very dependent upon this remarkable little device.  It allows me to keep up with my husband and children; it assists me when I need directions or when I have a last minute change of plans. It also gives me peace of mind because I can confirm my teenage son has reached his destination safely.  My husband is a physician, and this little hand-held apparatus even helps him attend to immediate medical situations.

However, this advance in technology comes at a price:  We forget to enjoy the peace around us—and respect the peace of others. Many of us neglect the phone manners our mothers taught us during the age of landlines.  Here is a refresher course on mobile phone manners to make life more tolerable in the digital age.

1.  Never use a cell phone during mealtime.  This should be a time when families are reconnecting, not texting about homework or weekend plans.  Just carve out this time for your family.  Whether at home or dining out, it is just best to put your phone away. 

2.  Do not use your phone in close proximity to another person.  Your voice is usually elevated while speaking on the small gadget, and it is annoying to people close to you. This certainly applies to the waiting rooms in doctors’ and dentists’ offices, or any intimate space.

3.  Avoid personal topics in public.  Discussing your medical or family matters in public is not appropriate and can be offensive to others.
4.  Try not to check your text messages during time out with family and friends.  Texting is a wonderful alternative if you are in a crowded situation, but try to avoid it while in a face-to-face conversation with another person. PLEASE DO NOT TEXT WHILE DRIVING!!

5.  If you are in a conversation with others and must take a call, excuse yourself or ask for permission. 

6.  Cellular conversations should be short and to the point.  Wait until you are home to catch up with friends about their weekend activities.

7.  Please do not use your cell phone while trying to conduct business in public.  If you are at the bank, grocery store checkout or dry cleaners, put down the phone and finish your transaction.  The employee, and those waiting behind you, will appreciate this courtesy.

These are my own personal suggestions.  I would love to hear yours!

As always, thanks for reading.

Properly yours,

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Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:


I agree with you 100%! Courtesy is the key word. I hate being stuck next to someone for my 2 hr commute on the railroad who is talking non stop and about personal matters. One day I was annoyed and took down the info she was spewing, and when she hung up I handed it to her. It contained her personal info and anyone could have used that info! She was annoyed with me after keeping me hostage for 2 hrs with her travel and flight plans. So not polite. I tried to show her that her credit card info, ss info was being heard all around her.

By Winnie on April 04, 2014


Thank you so much for the Cell Phone Etiquette article! It could not have come at a more appropriate time. This past Friday was a cell phone nightmare day for me. It began with a lady holding a very loud conversation about people in town on her cell, while the rest of us were trying to eat breakfast and ended with a lady talking on her cell during the National Anthem and raising of the flag at a football game! There is a time and a place for everything! Thank you again for the great article!

By Melody Gruber on August 26, 2012


Im a cashier at at service center, we get a lot of people coming in, talking on there cell phones,an expect us to wait on them,while there talking to someone else, they hold there finger up for us to wait a min.I talk even louder.there call cant be that important that they cant ask the person to wait a min.or they have that thing in the ear, we don't even know there not talking to us, till they get mad, because we interrupted them. Its just rude

By debbie on August 26, 2012


Cindy, Love this topic-would love to print this out and give to everyone I know. great blog!!!! S Lott

By s lott on August 04, 2012


This article on cell phone manners should be placed in all the public spaces so that that people would become more respectful of others around them. I am amazed at the constant talking on the cell phone while that person is attempting to accomplish other tasks. We, as a family, turn our phones on silent at our evening meal. Thanks agin Cindy for such a great article on manners!

By Angie on July 08, 2012


Great information!! Thanks for keeping me on my toes .

By Anonymous on July 08, 2012


Cindy, Wonderful article. A little story. I was at a store in Atlanta recently at the checkout behind a lady gabbing on her phone the whole time she was paying. Totally not paying attention and annoying the clerk as well as the rest of us in line. Eventually, she paid her $1200 bill and left. I presented my items and proceeded to pay, the clerk stated it was customer appreciation day at the clerk's disecretion and gave me, as well as the others behind me, a 50% discount on everything. So the rude cell phone lady lost a $600 discount because of her actions! My fiance always says: "Own your possessions, do not let your possessions own you!". Great pic btw. Lois

By Lois on July 06, 2012


Texting during church service. There were three people around me testing this past Sunday!!!!

By Judy on July 03, 2012


I am soooo happy you posted "Cell telephone etiquette"!!!

By COOKIE on July 03, 2012


As a college student, I love your article on cell phone etiquette. Many college age students often forget just how inappropriate it is to text message while at dinner, as well as, while driving! Thank you for always touching on subjects that affect so many people! Keep up the great work!!!!

By Taylor on July 02, 2012


What an incredible article! Everyone should print it off and pass it out to their children! As usual, well done!!! Thank you for so eloquently addressing cell phone etiquette!

By Marci on July 02, 2012


Wow! This article is so true. I always see children and even parents using their phone at dinner. It is incredibly rude. There are so many distractions in this fast-paced world we have today. People need to read this article and figure out the traditional ways.

By Jackie on June 28, 2012


Great article. The lack of manners regarding cell phone usage has simply gotten out of control. The need for instant access to others is like cutting in line. People immediately grab and answer their phone without paying attention to the people that they are with. I hope that others follow your suggestions so that the world can be a better place for all.

By andrea on June 27, 2012


I surely agree with everything written,especially your comments regarding the check-out line at the grocery store and waiting in line at the ATM. I wish everyone in the world would read your blog! Thanks, Cindy.

By Sandra on June 26, 2012


Thanks for the wonderful advice!!!

By Lucy on June 25, 2012


I am 16 years old, so thanks so much for the helpful information! Excellent blog!

By Maggie on June 25, 2012


I wish that everyone who had a cell phone would read your post. Thank You!!!

By Lucy L on June 25, 2012


I remeber the time before cell phones and now I can not imagine not having a phone at my every convience. Just imagine what the future holds for us!

By Amy on June 25, 2012


Mrs. Cindy hits the nail on the head. There have been so many times where I have been waiting or in line and I am having to wait longer because someone can't put their phone down. Maybe there needs to be cell phone "rules" posted in public places like requirements to wear shoes and shirts.

By Kelly on June 25, 2012


As a teenager, I'm constantly on my cellphone, this is a great reminder of the common courtesy that comes with using it. great article!

By Anonymous on June 25, 2012

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