top of page

Top 7 Tips for Good Cell Phone Manners - Part 1

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

I am convinced we need to start thinking of our phones as a human persona. I do not care if you make it look like your spouse, mother, or college roommate. If we were to add eyes, a nose, hair, and a big smile to the front of our phones, we might begin making the connection that every time we converse with someone via text or email, we are allowing them to become a part of whatever we are doing.

If I am out for a romantic dinner with my husband, but I continually check my texts, the person on the other end of my phone has now crashed my date, and with my permission. When we are on our phone but the person in our physical presence is speaking to us, how do we usually respond? “Go ahead, I promise I’m listening,” while our head is staring at a screen instead of the eyes of the one speaking. By doing this we demonstrate we are not 100% present with the person across the table.

Think of it this way. If I were on a date with my husband, and a friend walked up to our table, would I leave my husband, even for a few minutes, to spend time with my friend? Of course not. I would not allow another person to crash my date. Imagine if my husband was in the middle of a sentence when my friend came to our table, and I just stood up and walked away. We do not need to be told how rude this would be. Not to mention hurtful. When we allow our phone to take us away from being present, we cease to remain fully focused on the person we are with.

Neuroscientists have proven splitting our attention among various sources makes us less effective. Contrary to what many of us were taught, multitasking is not productive. When we talk with someone while simultaneously checking our phone, we become less effective in our listening skills.

Learn these seven tips to help manage your cell phone while still staying engaged with your friends. They will love you for it!

1. Put your cell on silent and leave it in your purse. Only if you are expecting an important update, you MUST KNOW NOW, should your phone be placed in view of others. According to a researcher recently quoted in the New York Times, when a person checks their phone while in a meeting or social setting, the message they are sending to others says, “You are less important to me than my cellphone.” Checking your phone while talking with someone else is the same as talking with someone at a party but looking around the room at the same time. Your body language is saying you would rather be spending time elsewhere. Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions, states checking your phone while with a group is one of the top habits that can get you fired. “They know that while your butt may be planted in the chair, your mind is roaming,” says Oliver.

2. This tip really correlates to the one above. Keep your cell out of sight! An article was published a few years ago and the headline read: Mobile Manners: How Even Putting Your Phone on the Dinner Table can Convince Your Friends You Don’t Care. The piece analyzed two research studies conducted by Essex University. The researchers found the presence of a mobile phone on a table, even if not being used, was enough to cause a negative impression of the person to whom the phone belonged. It affected closeness, connection with the individual, and the quality of conversation that took place.

3. If you are waiting on an important message that is time sensitive, most people will understand. It is important you communicate this up front. Say, “I apologize, but I may need to check my cell during our meal, because I am waiting for an important text/call from my son’s school.” Place your phone on vibrate, place it in your lap, and cover it with your napkin. Out of sight, out of mind! If you do receive the interruption, excuse yourself from the table (if it is a phone call), or quickly check the text and respond. Remind the others at the table, “I apologize for texting, but the important message came in and I need to respond in a timely manner.” Do not get into a back-and-forth texting conversation. If this needs to occur, excuse yourself from the table, handle your business, and return as quickly as possible. If you are the type of person who has a tough time ignoring your phone when a text comes in, I recommend using the Do Not Disturb automated response. Along those lines, if you have a relationship in your life that texts often, you might consider letting them know you will be unavailable for a while. Do whatever works for you but figure out a way to put boundaries around yourself so the use of the phone does not affect the quality of your relationships. In a business setting it is also your reputation that is on the line.

Part 2 coming next week!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou


bottom of page