Lessons in Etiquette: The Cellphone

Q) My cell phone is such a huge part of my life, but I’ve had complaints from people around me that I’m bothering them.  What should I do and not do to use it correctly?
A) The cell phone is a wonderful invention, but you must be very aware of your surroundings to use it properly.  The best advice I can give is to be considerate with common sense.
When you are out in public, whether it be on a sidewalk or in an elevator, do not shout into the phone.  It is not only disturbing to those around you, but what you have to say is no one’s business besides the person on the other end.  Keep your voice at a normal speaking volume.  Also, keep your conversations brief, offering to call the other person back when you return to your office or home.  That way, you will be in a quiet environment that is much more conducive to conversation.  Never divulge confidential or private information while talking in a public place.
If you are talking while walking along the sidewalk, be wary of what is going on around you.  Always practice safety first.  Be careful navigating through crowds, and watch out for traffic while crossing the street.  If you are driving, it is best not to use your cell phone at all.  It is a proven distraction that could cost you or someone else their life.  Many states have made it illegal to drive while talking on a hand-held cell phone.  But, even the hands-free versions or built-in models in automobiles still draw your attention away from the roadway.
Finally, if you are going out to dine or just for cocktails, or maybe to a movie or the theater, leave the cell phone home if you can.  If you must take it with you, then keep it on vibrate.  If you are expecting a very important call, let everyone in your party know ahead of time.  When the call comes in, excuse yourself and leave the room to take the call.  Go to the restroom, the lobby, or even outside the building to talk.  No one in your party needs to be interrupted, as you are being, by your phone call.  Also, if someone at the next table in a restaurant is conducting a very animated and loud conversation on their cell phone that is disturbing you and your party, do not handle it yourself.  Simply ask the Maitre d’ or manager to take care of the situation.
Use common sense and common courtesy with cell phones, and you will help make the world around you a slightly better place!

Follow Carolyn Davenport at AGraciousYou.com