Cell Phone Etiquette

When and where is appropriate to answer your cell phone.

Trent Armstrong
5-minute read
Episode #73

This week we're going to talk about [phone rings]... hold on... Yello? Oh hey man, what's happening? Uh, huh-- uh, huh. Yeah, I totally saw that one... Yeah, that was so awesome! That one part where she was like pew, pew, pew, and he's all, "This is the last time that I put you in charge of the sheep-- and for crying out loud, where is the teleporter!?" Genius! Yeah, tell you what, let me call you back I'm in the middle of recording a podcast. What? Yep. Yeah, okay, talk to you later.

Okay, what was I saying again? Oh, yeah... today, we're going to talk about cell phone manners!

Ask Yourself the Five Ws

For this exercise, allow us to consider the 5 Ws: the who, what, and why all are rather self explanatory. Who? You. What? Talking on a cell phone. Why? I don't know, you're the one on the cell phone, and anyway The Modern Manners Guy keeps to himself. Your business is your business, and what we're left with and what we're really most concerned about is the Where and When. These seem to be the two areas that are the most disruptive when using the device we know as the mobile phone.

Here's the short version:

Where: Where you can talk freely without making anyone else uncomfortable or causing disruption. Basically, not at the theater.

When: When you can talk freely without making anyone else uncomfortable or causing disruption. Basically, not when at the theater.

Easy. Right?

Just Because You Can, Doesn't Always Mean You Should

When a mobile phone rings, human beings have a Pavlovian response to the chime-- they search feverishly for their cell phones because a missed phone call portends a missed conversation which portends, well, a voice message to which one can listen to and respond accordingly.

I should make it known that there isn't anything inherently wrong with answering one's mobile phone-- it's practical. I think we can mostly agree that it's an essential part of the design. The problem with answering one's cell phone comes in when you're disrupting other people with its use.