Monday, November 24, 2014

Mobile Phone Etiquette - My Rules; Finally Written!


This is from a note I wrote on Facebook way back in 2009.  It seems to hold as good today as it did then. I have modified the rules as I see them, and have incorporated many friends' comments and suggestions.

So here are Sangeeta's Rules for Mobile Phone Users.  :-)

Avoid / Do Not 

  1. Speak to people when you are in the toilet – they can hear every sound. Oh yes, they can! From the plop-plop of the big job to the sound of the little stream hitting the pond to the storm escaping from your intestinal constriction!
  2. Use mobile phones when at a ceremony, religious or otherwise. It is an insult to the people there – not to mention God – if you believe in a God.
  3. Speak or text when you are at a social / professional gathering such as a date, meeting, restaurant, etc. Your time on the phone tells people that they are not as important as the SMS that you got (which is probably a joke you've received and read before) or the call from someone whom you say you will call right back!!
  4. Talk loudly when you cannot hear someone who has called you. If you cannot hear them, move to a quieter place or find a phone with better sound quality. The general public does not have to live thru your latest romance or adventure or anger or any of the other emotions you have. If you need to share – go visit a friend or psychiatrist.
  5. Use caller tunes. How inappropriate is it for your friend to hear “Don’t Worry, Be happy” when they call to tell you that their pet died, or they just got laid off!!  
  6. Use a cell phone when you are driving – you need both hands to turn the wheel, shift gears, make hand signals. Even if you have a hands free extension – do you really believe you can concentrate on traffic and pedestrians while you are negotiating a contract?
  7. Take pictures / videos with your phone, just because it has the feature.  There is a reasonable expectation of privacy we all have - respect it! Ask permission.
  8. Answer with a "who's this" or "Tell me". Your parents named you with high hopes, use your name with pride, state it whenever you get a call. 
  9. Assume that you are the Prime Minister of the country and that you can call anyone late at night or early in the morning.  Also, people you call / message do not have to respond to you, even if you are their boss, maybe they can't or don't want to! Wait.
    Just because someone has a mobile phone does not mean that they have to answer your call or respond to your SMS. This is not breathing people!  Wait to hear from them.


  1. Put your phone on silent or switch it of completely when you are in a hospital, theater, or at any performance. In a hospital, people are worried and harried – do they really need to hear your ring tone? At an artistic performance, you insult performers who have put their hearts, minds, spirit and hard work to entertain you for an hour or so, and unless you are the national security chief or an emergency room doctor – you really do not need to be in touch with the world all the time.
  2. Keep your ringing tone low. The entire bus / train / room does not have to know that you have a call.
  3. State your name when answering a call so that your caller knows they’ve reached the right person. If you are answering someone else’s phone, at their request, please state that fact clearly when you pick up the call.  
  4. Call when you need to; not when you want to pass the monkey onto someone else’s back. If something can wait till you meet someone the next day, or after a few hours, pray why do you need to talk to them and fill the pockets of the telecom company?
  5. Tell a caller that you are with people who can hear your part of a conversation if you are in a public place.  The caller may like to call you when you are alone. Not all people like to discuss things in public and/or when strangers are present 
  6. Respond to all calls that were ignored or missed at the earliest. Someone does want to connect with you, unless of course it is a pesky insurance / credit card sales person.
  7. Pick up calls / messages from significant people in your life. Remember its not your clients who live with you, and will be there for you thru' thick and thin. There is really no excuse not to call parents, siblings, children, spouse. It is a great way to share good news, do it often. 

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