Category Archives: Cellphone

An Uneasy Observation

The TikTok I made about this interested me.

The original post from the wife I mentioned, it garnered the usual amount of teeth-gnashing; mainly from those who got irritated about the therapist’s quote:

“…your phone is YOU… the stuff you interact with…the words you share…your pictures…and most people keep that hidden for a reason…and it usually has nothing to do with privacy…it’s about controlling whether people know the real you.” (“Even your partner,” it should have said.)

Reading that smacks you in the face with the truth. It’s like if your browsing history were published in the newspaper or if a list of all the people you’ve texted, DMed, or interacted with were published for the world to see. Our phones are a great reflection of the totality of us, especially when juxtaposed with our relationships.

As Dave Worthen preaches: “You share your bodies, you brush your teeth together, you have children, you spend most of your lives connected, but lord help you if someone wants to share your phone, even with the best of intentions.”

I’m not saying I have all the answers, but reading and hearing all the commentary about this anecdote really gave me further insight into just how big of a problem this is for most of the modern world. Our ancestors didn’t have to worry about this: most behaviors were direct and observable, and privacy/secrecy were not issues ideal partners had to confront.

Love, X

The Duh List For Phones (Please Argue!)

The Duh List For Phones

I wrote a series of bullet points like these for someone’s TikTok. They asked for 5. I’m a big fan of overkill, so here it is, stripped of the humor:

People first. If you’re with someone special or at a gathering, silence your phone and treat it as secondary to the event or the people in your presence.

The casual rule says that we can relax our rigidity when we’re with family, close friends, and partners – but you should keep it in the back of your mind. Using a cellphone in the presence of others is by its nature exclusionary.

Generally speaking, avoid texting while you’re having a face-to-face. If you do, politely ask for a moment.

It’s generally frowned upon to text/talk while you’re eating with others. It’s still not a good idea to leave it where people will see it flashing or hear/feel the vibration. Doubly so if it’s on the table.

IF you need to make/receive a call while eating, excuse yourself out of earshot of anyone trying to enjoy their meal. If you have important texts, please do the same.

Unless “everyone” has their phone out, keep yours tucked away too.

Just because your phone beeps or notifies you, it doesn’t mean you need to look at it or address it if you are with someone or a group. People first, and the ones (or one) you’re with trump others.

If you’re having a conversation, finish it before moving on to the next. Whether face-to-face or on the phone.

It’s a 24/7 world. Your phone has super-easy ways to keep it from ringing, beeping, or flashing. Use them.

Doubly so at work for the above.

It’s on you to assume that you could hear from any of your contacts at any second of the day or night. The person causing a notification might not be aware they are doing it.

With that in mind, YOU should take a second to ensure you’re not interrupted, woken up, or causing a disturbance where YOU are.

Likewise, you have do-not-disturb options on your phone for any time of the day or night – including when you’re sleeping.

You can set up exceptions where ONLY important people will go through anyway. For emergencies or whatever else.

Don’t talk on the phone when you’re paying unless it is truly important. And take a second to communicate that to the human helping you. Everyone universally shakes their heads at people that do this, but some haven’t understood the collective disdain for this.

Don’t text and drive. Or watch the latest episode of The Bachelor either.

No one likes seeing your screen at a theater. At all. Ever. It distracts anyone seeing the movie, play, or concert. Even if it’s “just for a second.” If everyone looks at their phone for “just a second” with 300 people in the theater… well, you get the idea.

ALWAYS turn your phone OFF if there is the slightest chance it will interfere with a funeral, church, business meeting, or any important occasion where people attend. The world will not end if you don’t have access for an hour. Humans evolved for thousands of years without immediate contact with the entire world. The entire group’s reason for attendance trounces your urge to be in constant contact.

It’s recommended to avoid using your phone while you’re doing your business in the bathroom. Unless you’re besties. But it’s true if you’re blathering on in a private conversation and other people have no choice but to listen. This applies to buses, doctor’s offices, etc.

Even though people don’t like hearing it, you sleep better if your phone isn’t in the bedroom. If it is, it should not flash, beep, or vibrate except for those on your emergency list. Study after study backs this up. Because you’re so attentive to your phone, it lingers at the fringe of your consciousness even when you don’t realize it. If it makes noise or light? Doubly so.

For business calls, voicemail is fine. For personal calls? Text instead and divulge at least the urgency or content of your contact.

If you get a text, don’t leave it too long “read.” At least politely respond with something similar: “I’m busy, but I’ll get back to you.” You can set pre-made messages to respond like this, too.

Never ask someone to wait to eat or drink so you can snap a picture.

Speakerphone in public is a no.

Talking about your nether-region warts in public is a bad idea, too.

Be aware that you generally speak louder than you think you do when you’re on the phone.

If someone is driving you, don’t use the time to jump into your cell phone. Unless it is a taxi or Uber. You’re in an enclosed space, and it’s a chance to talk or enjoy conversation with the person you’re with. It’s a common source of mild irritation for those driving to be ignored at the expense of a cellphone.

If someone is showing you something on their phone, resist the urge to reach for their phone.

As for group texts, err on the side of caution when including numerous people. If you see people not interacting at the same level, it’s best to ask them before the next time.

While we’re yapping about group texts… don’t use it to go across the line of appropriateness. Don’t be joking when it’s serious; don’t throw a wet blanket on the content by airing complaints or sidetracking the group. And no matter how clever you think you are, don’t drink and attempt to engage in group texts.

As you can see, as comprehensive as this list is, I’ve probably forgotten something.

And people will argue about some of them.

Phone etiquette is devolving, but the above list is generally accurate.

Love, X