Cell phone etiquette – cell phones are the new smoking


I was out with one of my clients the other day, showing houses and my phone rang. “Excuse me,” I said, “I have to get this”.

The world changes around us and we change with it.

There was a time not that long ago that using your cell phone in front of another person was a social faux pas, bad manners and considered to be just plain rude. But not anymore. With cell phones (and smart phones especially) ubiquitous in our everyday lives, cell phone etiquette has quickly changed.

It is hard to believe now, but not that long ago (ten years?), cell phones were banned from restaurants and many public spaces. It was considered rude to use your handheld device in the presence of others. The rules have changed. According to The Five, here are the new rules.

It is newly acceptable:

  1. When you are on the toilet.
  2. With friends, as long as you can text while keeping eye contact with others
  3. Giggling and talking back to texts and emails
  4. Taking photos of others in public places, and posting to Facebook

I’d like to add that it is acceptable to excuse yourself from almost any conversation to answer your cell phone. For me, I usually wander away a few yards so whoever I’m with doesn’t feel they have to hover around waiting for me to conclude my call.

What’s also interesting is that smoking went in the exact opposite direction – from inside and around others to outside and alone.  It took a little longer but there was a time when lighting up a smoke in an office or a restaurant (not to mention a night club) was considered normal. Try it now and not only will you get the evil eye from those around you, someone will most certainly ask you to butt out. Smoking got pushed out and cell phones have been accepted in.

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