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Cell Phone Etiquette In Public

Apr 8, 2008
As more Americans are purchasing cell phones, there is a new etiquette specifically targeted at cell phone users. While some of these rules are necessary, others are personal choice.

Picking a ringtone for when you are in public may be a good idea. If you are on a subway or waiting for a bus, people around you may not want to hear loud music playing every five minutes as you are taking incoming calls. One option would be to put your cell phone on the Vibrate Only setting, although in densely crowded areas you may not have easy access to reach it if you do get a call. Another option is to program a backup ringtone that is a milder song or a more traditional one that sounds like a regular telephone ringtone.

Some phones enable you to program music that will play while an incoming caller is waiting for you to pick up the call. Again, although you may be a fan of heavy metal music, your grandmother probably is not, and may end up hanging up before you get a chance to talk to her. Be considerate of everybody that may be calling your cell phone. Make a selection that most callers will enjoy listening to.

There is always a question of when and where you should shut your cell phone off. While hospitals and airplanes are places that require you to do this, you may also want shut it down in the theater or a library. Any conversation that you may try to have in either of these places is going to disturb those around you. College classrooms and Sunday church services are two other locations that you may just want to shut it down. Allow your voice mail to pick it up and you can return the call later.

There is nothing wrong with answering your cell phone in a restaurant if you are with colleagues from work or a group of close friends. It may not be proper, however, if you are dining with just one friend or celebrating a romantic dinner with your spouse. The friend may feel as if you would rather talk to the caller than to him, and your spouse will probably just become angry. Again, in these situations you may be better off just shutting your cell phone off.

Using your cell phone in the checkout aisle in a busy store may not be a good idea either, especially if there is a long line of people behind you. These customers may feel that you are holding up the line, even if you are not.

You should also always turn your cell phone off during a wedding ceremony or a funeral service. Receiving calls during such a solemn occasion may offend the family and anger many of the other people that are in attendance to pay their respects. Although this example may seem to be common sense to most adults, some younger people may not realize how disrespectful answering a cell phone call can be on these occasions.

Again, cell phone etiquette is a personal choice. You should just be considerate of the people around you and you will do fine.
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