A few weeks ago, Miss K attended a fashion camp at the local college. It wasn’t a glorified crafting class, it was full-on educational. They learned about the history of fashion, some DIY fashion, skin care and even etiquette. It was a realization that aside from the teachings of parents to their children, there isn’t any place that kids learn about etiquette any more. Some of it can be gleaned from movies or even picked up from watching adults but for the most part, etiquette isn’t what it used to be.
We attend the county fair every year and enjoy visiting the various exhibits. There’s always a section on table settings and as I look at it I realize I don’t know what fork goes where and when you use them. It is not that that big a deal but it’s a deficiency I’m well aware of. If I am ever invited to or host a fancy gathering I will certainly look up the information ahead of time. Some things are little more annoying though. Have you heard the national anthem playing and glanced around to find people talking or still wearing their hats? I have.
July is national cellphone courtesy month so it’s a great time to remind ourselves of some important mobile etiquette. I’m not referring to things like texting while driving because that’s not etiquette, that’s safety.
Let’s talk about dining for a minute. During my days of tracking my food intake, I regularly had my phone sitting next to me at the table. On several occasions, I was informed that it wasn’t polite. I was using my food diary as an excuse to have my cell phone handy. I’m one of those people who likes to look for online restaurant coupons and recommendations on what to order. Sometimes we don’t realize our impact. A few years ago, a colleague shared a tip about what his team does when they need a work-free meeting out. Everyone places their phone in a stack on the table. Nobody is allowed to use their phone until the “meeting” is over. The first person to grab their phone had to pick up the tab. I sooo would have lost at that.
Mobile etiquette related to dining is just a fraction of what people complain about. How many times have you been stuck behind someone in the checkout line behind someone too preoccupied to move forward? Don’t even get me started on people on using their cell phones in the movie theater.
We are all reliant on being connected for one reason or another but it is up to each of us to do our part to have our head in the game and be courteous of others. Wondering what others thought, I posted the following question on Facebook: “If you had ONE cellphone etiquette rule to emphasize, what would it be? (Don’t say no texting while driving. That’s not an etiquette issue, it’s safety.)”
The following are some tips provided by U.S. Cellular along with etiquette requests that were shared on the FB post:
- Set ground rules for your family and teach your kids right from the time they get their first phone.
No electronics at the dinner table. Jessica says “When we eat dinner together at the table put your phone away” and that’s followed up by DeeDee with “No phones at dinner table….and pet peeve…If I’m speaking to you…look at ME not your phone!”
- When you’re in a conversation, BE in the conversation. “Please look at me while we’re talking. I’m guilty of this at times but it’s awful to start a conversation and have the person say uh-huh while they’re on social media or messing with their phone.” – Andrea
- If you are in a dimly lit area such as a restaurant, school play, recital or even the movie, set your phone on vibrate and it if goes off, exit to a lobby or common area before checking it. With respect to events and activities, we can take that a step further: Maria says “Don’t hold up your phone to take photos or videos and block other people’s views.” While Tara reminds us that noise is not our friend. “If I’m calling you and you are in a loud place/screaming kids in the background or concert- shoot me a text that its not a good time…. Nobody can hear and you have to say WHAAAAT 30 times…”
- Set boundaries. “Talking while using the restroom. Especially a public restroom.” When Summer shared this etiquette faux pas I was reminded of a situation I shared in 2008. As I used the restroom, the woman in the stall next to me was on the phone complaining about how high her bill was. Ummm. Hello lady. You’re on the toilet AND on the phone..
- Your multitasking shouldn’t affect someone else’s solo tasking. Deb said “Talking on phone at stores, in restaurants, etc. I find it so rude when people are walking around a store talking on their cell. Ugh.” She was on the same wavelength with Nichol and Annette who respectively said “Get off your phone when checking out at a grocery store, at doctors restaurant etc. And if you need to be on it don’t talk so loud.” and “I never, ever use my phone in the check out lane!! Not even to answer it!!”
- Have spacial and sound awareness. Adrienne reminds us “Stop yelling. It’s a phone not a tin can.”
These are great tips from a mix of people. Not all are people who live in the social media space. Some are professionals. Some are parents. They come from a variety of walks of life. Maybe if we all focus on our cell phone etiquette, it will be a happier place.
For more information on U.S. Cellular and their reliable 4G LTE network, visit their website where you’ll find awesome promotions on the latest phones such as iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S5. You can also connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.
What is YOUR one piece of mobile etiquette you wish everyone would abide by?