Mobile Phone Etiquette

Girl hailing a cab whilst on mobile phone

The ways in which this indispensable little gadget can cause offence are legion. Remember, above all, that you are not joined at the hip to this useful device. It is important to be aware at all times of good mobile phone etiquette.

In Public
There are many situations in which using mobiles is inappropriate: they should be switched off in theatres, cinemas, art galleries, or any public space where silence is desired.

Think about what your ringtone says about you: if you're embarrassed by your ringtone in public situations, it's almost certainly the wrong choice.

Ensure that your mobile phone conversation is not disturbing other people. Intimate or difficult conversations are never appropriate in front of others - try and respect your own, and other people's, privacy. 

It is always rude to pay more attention to a mobile than a person in the flesh, so mobiles should always be put away when transacting other business – for example in shops, when buying tickets, at the bank or post office, and so on. If there is an emergency or crisis, always apologise for using a mobile.

Scrutinising a screen while walking along the street, especially when wearing headphones, may cause accidents or impede other pedestrians. Shouting into hands-free equipment is particularly anti-social and inconsiderate.

If you lose reception, live with it. Refrain from shouting into a dead device, and ring the other person back as soon as you regain it, even if it's only to say goodbye.

On Public Transport
On public transport, avoid conducting loud conversations on a mobile. Respect quiet zones on trains and remember that audible mobile conversations can be distracting for other people. It is therefore imperative, on buses and trains, only to use mobiles when they will not disturb other passengers (for example when neighbours are also talking). 

Social Life
Answering phonecalls, texting, or even repeatedly glancing at the screen in a social situation is never acceptable. 

Mobiles should be put away at the dining table (whether at home or eating out) and calls should only be taken, away from the table, in exceptional circumstances. 

If you are awaiting an important call when meeting someone socially, explain at the outset that you will have to take the call, and apologise in advance. Otherwise, excuse yourself and withdraw somewhere private to make or receive calls.

 

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