Cell Phone Etiquette 101

Too Much Technology

The time has now come to discuss some cell phone etiquette. I am not sure why, but cell phones make some people forget they have manners.

In the past five years, cell phones have seriously increased in popularity. Everybody and their brother has one. Also, everybody and their brother wants to talk, text, or email on their cell phone pretty much all day long. I will be honest when I say, I don't get the appeal. That used to be one of my favorite things about leaving my house - I was getting away from the phone. People could not annoy me anymore on the phone. Now, the phone just follows you wherever you go. It is like an overly clingy friend that you just can't shake off.

In this hub, I would like to explore basic cell phone etiquette. Please remember, even if you love your phone, not everyone else is going to feel the same.

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Annoying Ring Tones

Let's talk about ringtones. I am not sure why, but for some reason, it seems like there are people out there that have made it their goal in life to have the most obnoxious ringtone possible. For these people, I would like to ask a simple question: why? Is it that you secretly hate your cell phone and you want me to flush it down the toilet for you? If that is what you want, just ask. I would love to see a cell phone go down the toilet. It would be exciting for me.

When choosing a ringtone, why not pick something simple that most people can enjoy? Also, keep your phone down at a normal volume. No one needs to keep their volume up at the eardrum busting loud level. If you need that, I am sorry to inform you that a hearing aid might be the best option for you.

I know what you might be thinking now, "Well, how do I know my cell ringtone is annoying?" Oh, you will know. If a number of people have told you that you have the most obnoxious ringtone they've ever been forced to hear, change your ringtone. They are not just saying that to be conversational. You are seriously in danger of losing friends. Perhaps you socialize with people who are not so bold. Do people glare at your cell phone every time it rings? Guess what? Your ringtone is annoying. Change it now. It is for your own safety as well as the safety of your phone.

You Can't Have a Private Conversation in Public

If you need to have an important conversation and you are not in the privacy of your own home, everyone understands.  These things do happen.  However, you need to find a way to go into a corner or bathroom or walk outside during these situations.  Please do not attempt to walk through Walmart while buying your toilet paper and picture frames, and continue your thrilling conversation about your husband spending the night in jail.  I mean, seriously, I am not going to lie, your conversation is interesting.  So don't glare at me when I look at you.  You are the one having a private conversation in public, not me.  I am just trying to figure out why your husband hit that dude in the first place.  Now I am involved; it is like a soap opera. 

If you don't want people to listen, take it outside.  It is a very simple rule.

Turn It Off!!!

You must know when to turn off your cell phone.  If you can't determine when this should occur, you probably should not have a cell phone.  A simple rule: if you need to pay attention to someone or something else, turn it off and put it away.  Here are some examples of inappropriate times for cell phone use:

  • In a meeting at work.
  • On a date at the dinner table.
  • While driving a car (or a plane, a boat, a motorcycle, a rocket, etc.)
  • Watching a movie at the theater.
  • Watching a play or dance recital (yes, even if it is small children and boring!)
  • While having a real conversation with a human standing in front of you.
  • At the checkout line when the cashier is waiting on you and talking to you.
  • Riding a roller coaster.

I am sure there are a number of instances I am forgetting, but for now, this is the list.  If you think of anything and want me to add something, let me know.  I would be happy to do so.

For now, it is time to say good bye.  I hope you've enjoyed the etiquette lesson.  Most of all, if you have an annoying ringtone (and you know who you are!), please change it.  It will make the world a better place.


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Comments 18 comments

imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

The thing that gets me the most is the loud-talker. Should we add a cord, so you can think the phone is plugged in, so you can stop shouting?! Like you, I show interest in loud conversations, and might through in a "whuuut, and a you don't say"...I think it's funneee! The ring-tones don't bother me so much, I do think that's a personal choice, it is bothersome however when the phone rings at inappropiate times as you've mentioned, AND people have the audacity to answer the phone!

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I know what you mean. Sometimes you can't help but listen. Sometimes I do want to join in and say things like, "No? Really? I can't believe her!" I think reality TV makes everyone think they are on stage now and their private lives can be public. No one has shame anymore.

Thanks for your comment!

Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Very apt, Jeannie! I totally agree with you ... as we say in our house 'What is the matter with these people!' : )


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks, Angie. Cell phones drive me nuts. I don't get it. 99% of the conversations I hear are meaningless. People do not need to ramble on about nothing while driving or shopping.

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Jeanastra 5 years ago

Very funny and right on target! Personally, I keep my phone on vibrate unless I'm at home (I don't have a land line)and if someone calls me to chit chat while I'm in public, I ask to call them back later. I do not need to share my personal business with strangers and don't understand those who do. When I worked in a retail boutique, I instructed my staff to ignore customers who were on their cell phones until they hung up. If they just came in to find a quiet place to chat, I would pull out the vacuum cleaner or turn up the stereo or stand next to them and yell to my colleagues. This got rid of the riff raff. LOL!!

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

You vacuumed when people were on their cell phones? That is awesome! That is a great idea too. People are so rude now. Especially when they are on the phone in line and don't get off the phone even to say one word to the cashier. Thanks for reading the hub and commenting.

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Jeanastra 5 years ago

I have many tricks up my sleeve and in a small boutique, you might only have one or two customers at a time, so it's easy to control the environment. Frankly, I couldn't believe the audacity of people who would occassionally wander in for the sole purpose of finding a quiet place to talk on their cell phones.

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Customers have a lot of nerve now. I am not sure if people are getting ruder, or if my patience is just wearing too thin. Perhaps it is a combination of the two.

copcardrvr profile image

copcardrvr 5 years ago from Lake City, Minnesota

My pet peeve is people who talk loudly on their cell phones in the stall in a public bathroom. I always think they're talking to me.

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Yes, I always think that too. Or when they have that piece in their ear and I think they are talking to me since I do not see a phone.

duffsmom profile image

duffsmom 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

I too remember a day when we could actually go through the grocery store without talking on the darn phone--great hub. You hit one of my pet peeves. great job!

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks for the comment. How did people ever shop before the cell phone? I am guessing people had to think for themselves when deciding on the brand of bread to buy or if they need cheese.

Under cover agent profile image

Under cover agent 5 years ago from New Zealand

I cycle to get around town, cell phones are bound to get me killed one day. It's illegal to use them while you are driving where I live. Now the drivers try to have the calls in a covert manner and they're even more dangerous.

I got nothing against hands-free phone calls, that's pretty much like talking with a passenger.

How about this one - talking with the phone to an ear, smoking and checking itself out in the rear vision mirror while coming up on an intersection. I'm not kidding, I took to the footpath. Did I get the number plate, sadly no.

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I see we share the same frustrations. I walk everywhere and I am so afraid when I see someone drive near me and they are on their cell phone. Perhaps if drivers were not so focused on the cell phones, they may use their turn signals every now and then, too.

Thank you for the comment!

What Is Q profile image

What Is Q 5 years ago from Tennessee

I love these etiquette 101 hubs. Should be etiquette lol hubs, because they're great. I own the oldest cell phone on the planet and people laugh at it, but I don't care. I'm just waiting for the day I can get rid of it. I might just mail it to you, so you can satisfy your urge to flush a cell phone. Oh, but cell phones don't belong in toilets, I forgot. I just read your etiquette hub on the women's bathroom. I have my phone set on vibrate, because I don't care for any kind of ringtone. And I like the vibration. But I agree with everything you said. Worst time to use your phone in public would have to be in the theater. When a cop's writing you a ticket would be another. Especially if you just got pulled over for using your phone while driving. That's dumb. I've had people call me when they were at a club. All you can hear is music and somebody screaming in the background.

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks for reading and commenting! I am glad you are enjoying the etiquette hubs. I also have a really old cell phone and I pay for the minutes every few months. My phone does not even take pictures. I get laughed at, too, but whatever. I totally forgot about the "club phone call!" I am glad you mentioned it. My friend called me from a concert once. How stupid is that? You really can't hear anything at all.

Spoof Art profile image

Spoof Art 5 years ago

My mom likes gangster songs. I know this because her phone rang in church. Her ringtone was Swing by Savage.

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Well, that must have been interesting. Thank you for sharing, Spoof Art.

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