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Please: Use cell phone etiquette

Cell PhoneRecently, I visited Spain. I was really irritated by how impolite people were in use of their cell phones in public places.

I heard people talking on the street, on the bus, in the metro, and at the dentist office. One woman in the dentist waiting room even took out her cell phone and listened to something without using ear phones.

One cashier in a store held a cell phone in one hand, talking to someone the entire time, when taking our money for a transaction. Another cashier, holding her cell phone to her ear with her shoulder, did the same thing.

It’s common to see people out to lunch or dinner, checking their cell phones.

What are cellphone etiquette rules? Here are some suggestions from the Huffington Post article “Cell Phone Etiquette: 15 Rules to Follow.”

  1. Lower your voice when taking calls in public.
  2. Avoid personal topics when others can hear you.
  3. Avoid taking calls when you’re already engaged in fact-to-face conversations. If you do take a call, ask permission of the people with you.
  4. Avoid texting during face-to-face conversations.
  5. Put your phone’s ringer on silent mode in theaters and restaurants.
  6. Don’t light up your phone’s screen in a dark theater.
  7. Hang up and drive.
  8. Acknowledge the delay. There’s a delay between when you speak and when the other person hears it.
  9. Don’t use Google Voice calling screening with family and close friends.
  10. Don’t blame the other person for a dropped call.
  11. Avoid looking things up during a conversation.
  12. Avoid inappropriate profile photos.
  13. Be mindful about Facebook tagging. You're showing the picture to all of his or her Facebook friends.
  14. Keep a distance of at least 10 feet from the nearest person when talking on a cell phone.
  15. If a game of phone tag goes on for four calls, it’s within the boundaries of proper etiquette to end the game and stop calling.

Now that I’m back in the United States, I’ll see if Americans are as rude about their cell phone use as Spaniards. Or, is it because I don't speak Spanish that I found the cell phone usage in Spain so irritating.

Update: Unfortunately, Americans are just as rude as people in Spain about use of cell phones. As I was waiting in lines at airports to return home, two men standing right next to me each had a conversation of 15 minutes. Now that I've learned about cell phone etiquette, I'm going to ask people near me to move 10 feet away. 

Copyright 2017, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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