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Cell Phone Courtesy

Kristen Houghton

Sunday, January 12, 2014 • 6:16pm

We’re so connected in 2014 that we think nothing of answering our cell phones, text messages, or email no matter where we are or what we’re doing. Using a cell while driving, standing in line for a movie, during dinner in a restaurant, and even in a public bathroom, is a common occurrence. A woman recently told me about cell phone use during a romantic moment!

I am very much like anyone else with a cell phone – it is always with me and it is always on, but in this technical, “gotta-be-connected-now-call-me-anytime” era we sometimes, (many times really), go too far.

Is there cell phone etiquette that we should be following? Most definitely.

If you are out with another person, your cell phone should be used only if absolutely necessary. When you answer a call that is just from someone who wants to chat, you are ignoring the real live person standing next to you. Not only is it rude, it’s insensitive.

The same goes for the endless texting. Unless it is absolutely crucial, and here you need to define crucial, let it wait until you are alone. Why be with someone if you’re going to ignore him or her?

Here are a few examples spoken about at a seminar on phone etiquette. “We were in a fantastic new restaurant and we had waited two months to get a reservation. It was beautiful and I was eager to have both of us enjoy it. But her phone rang during dinner and she spent the next hour talking to her girlfriend about something they were planning to do the following week. I was the invisible man. And, her conversation wasn’t discreet. She was as loud as if she was in her own home. I could tell other diners were annoyed.”

“On our vacation he spent more time on his cell phone texting with his buddies and checking his email than he did talking to me. The lowlight was when we were on a tour and his message alert beeped. I asked him if it was important and he said, "No," but he took it any way! He ignored me as if I wasn’t there.”

“My worst cell phone moment was when my new boyfriend and I were kissing on a second date.Hard to believe it but he not only answered his cell phone he put it on speakerphone! He was multi-tasking! Talk about killing the moment! I walked out. He later told me he was going to turn it off before *things got really going between us,* but the fact that he even had it on was too much for me.”

Cell phones are great, and, as a means of connecting with others, they make our lives a whole lot easier. For most of us, living without a cell phone would be difficult, if not impossible. But, there has to be a protocol--a courtesy list of when it is inappropriate to use the phone.

Relationships need time and attention to survive. Ignoring the person you are with to talk to someone else on a phone is a surefire way to destroy your relationship. Maybe the time will come when all of us have to make a decision. Talking to the real person who is right there with you or talking to a disembodied voice and being alone. Not such a tough choice when you get right down to it.

©copyright 2014 Kristen Houghton all rights reserved

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