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What are proper Cell Phone Etiquette?

Is there certain Cell Phone Etiquette rules that should be followed?

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Nowadays one feels helpless and useless without a cell phone but people should know how to use it in such a way that they remain considerate of other people around while using it. While people of different cultures may have different norms and etiquette but the bottom line here is where cultures differ principles cross. Therefore common sense and courtesy should be kept in mind when using the cell phone especially when in public places.

Public vs. Private Use

Cell phone etiquette typically applies to people who use their mobile phones in public places in a very loud voice that could annoy and disturb other people around. It is a little rude to take a call from the mobile phone while on a date or with a group of people in a meeting or in a social engagement gathering. It is also inconsiderate to answer calls when you are talking to a person. Answer the call only if it is a very important call.

Focus on the Situation, Not the Call

It is never a good idea to take calls while in public settings such as restaurants, subways and waiting rooms. It is best to let the calls go on a voice mail. This way, you do not disturb other people in the same place you are and at the same time you get to avoid divulging private matters and information in public.

It is also inappropriate to take calls while in a cashier or customer service. Hang up the phone when it is your turn at the cashier. It would be very impolite to stop in the middle of the conversation on the part of the counter staff and the person on the other line.

We all know how unsafe it is for a driver to use the cell phone while driving. This could lead to vehicular accidents. It is never a good idea to take a call while driving. Several people have resorted to the use of hand free systems but this too is not totally safe because it divides the attention of the driver. The driver will have to tendency to focus more on the call and not the driving. If the call is not that important better not take it otherwise, pullover and take the call.

Important Phone Calls that Can’t Wait

If the call is very important, the person should go outside and look for a place that is secluded and private where the call can be taken or the call can be returned. There are calls that are so urgent and should be taken right away. In this case, the person must answer the call in a very low voice and make the call very short. If the person has to take the call outside, apologize before leaving.

There are sensitive microphones built on cell phones that can pick up your soft voice at the same time block the outside noise so shouting is really not needed. When with some people outside, it is best to keep the voice low and with no emotions that could attract the attention of other people. Avoid arguing and revealing so much personal information and dirty linen while on the phone.

A three feet or ten meters distance away from the person around while taking the call is ideal. The person near you will surely hear the conversation if you are too close to each other so keep an ideal distance.
Places where the Phone Should Always Be Turned Off

When people are in movie houses, observatories, playhouses and in any other public places where the people have to focus on what they are watching, it is unethical to use a cell phone. The ringing cell phone can disturb and annoy the people watching. Usually, cell phones are not allowed inside or are turned off so as not to disturb the show and the people as well.

There are occasions and places where silence and respect must be observed strictly. These places/occasions include:
• Libraries
• Courthouse
• Doctor’s office
• Place of worship
• Wedding
• Funeral


People have distinct or special ringtones so they can readily recognize if it is their cell phone that is ringing. Sometimes too they feel the need to increase the volume especially if they are in a public place. If in a restaurant or theater, the loud and distinct ringtone can annoy and disturb the patrons in the place. Be considerate enough to lower the volume of the cell phone and use a simpler ringtone that won’t interrupt the audience and patrons.

Texting and Surfing the Web

It is good to use a smart phone when texting or when you need to surf the web in public places for as long as you know how to use it well and you don’t get to disturb other people around. Smart phones have very bright screens. Keep this mind so you know what to do when inside a movie house. Avoid playing videos and music in public places as this will distract other people.

It is bad cell phone etiquette to check your email or any other news in the web while talking to or with someone. If it is urgent, apologize and excuse yourself politely before using your phone.

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