media logos

Smartphone Etiquette


Smartphones are such an integral part of everyday life, they can almost seem like an extension of yourself and your social life. But as technology becomes more and more saturated in everyday life, people become less and less aware of how rude technology can make them. Smartphone etiquette isn’t something that most people think about, but maybe it’s time we started.

Here are some basic smartphone etiquette rules:

1. Don’t Multitask Texting

Texting requires a lot more attention than people realize, and therefore doesn’t lend itself well to multitasking. No matter how good you think you are, holding a conversation via text and doing something else usually results in the texter being less aware of what’shappening around them. So if you’re going to text, stop and text. Don’t try and multitask. Not only does it signal that you are less interested in what is going on around you, but it also makes you look like an idiot as you constantly ask others to repeat themselves.

2. Stop Compulsive Sharing

When you are out and about, remember that your phone doesn’t have to be part of the experience. No matter how tempting it might be to snap photos and update your twitter every few minutes… don’t. Put your phone in your pocket, smile and enjoy the moment while it’s happening. You can always post a status about it later. If you really MUST take a photo, be sure to ask the people you are with if they mind, and keep it to one or two photos per hangout. No one likes feeling like their social engagement is a documentary.

3. Prioritize Face to Face

There is nothing more insulting than having someone whip out their phone to answer a call or a text message in the middle of a conversation. The constant presence of cell phones has bred the idea that we have to respond to everything immediately to stay plugged in and up to date. But really, how many of those texts are so important they need immediate attention? Probably not very many. Remember that people who are physically infront of you should take priority and leave the updates and text messages and social media for later.

If you absolutely must use your phone during a conversation for an important call, then tell others why you have to answer it, excuse yourself to answer the phone, and be brief so you can return to the face to face interaction. The same goes for using your phone to check something while in conversation. It’s as simple as saying, “I’m going to Yelp that restaurant.” Then you can share what you find, put the phone away and continue the conversation.

4. Don’t Talk on the Phone at Checkout

It seems like a little thing, but going through checkout doesn’t take that long. There is no reason to be on the phone while the cashier is trying to read your total and give you change. Show some respect to your cashier and pause your phone conversation for the thirty seconds it takes to get your change, bags, receipt and go on. The person on the other side of the line won’t mind, and the cashiers and fellow shoppers will thank you. Even better, hang up while in line and call back when you get home.

5. Avoid Loud Ringtones

You might really like hearing your phone blast out that 80’s hit, but don’t make your ringtone is so loud it can be heard clearly on the other side of the room. This is especially true when in situations where everything is quiet, such as a library. No one wants to hear your phone notification quacking loudly, so be sensible and keep it down in quiet areas.

6. Be Polite Wearing Bluetooth Headsets

I’m not really sure if anyone still uses Bluetooth headsets, but I personally think they are incredibly rude in general. But if you must use one, then be aware that those little devices are tiny and easy to miss unless you’re standing just right. So if you start talking on the Bluetooth while staring in the direction of a random person and they respond, don’t get angry. They probably just didn’t notice. Be polite and understanding to the people around you.

7. Stop Texting and Driving

Not only is driving and texting rude but dangerous and in many places illegal. No matter what it is, it can wait. The same goes for talking on the phone while driving–while I find myself guilty of it on occasion, there are situations like rush hour and busy intersections where you really need to put the phone down and just drive. And please don’t even try and surf the web or play on an app while driving. Driving a car should take 100% of your attention to keep yourself, your passengers and everyone else on the road safe.


Cell phones are wonderful devices and they continuously make life easier and keep everyone more connected to everything else. And, while everyone is guilty of breaking some of these etiquette rules on occasion, generally they’re just common sense and all boil down to one word: Respect.

So tell me, are there any other cell phone etiquette rules that you wish people would adhere to? Do you have a pet peeve about cell phone use? Let me know in the comments!