Blogs » The Red Loft » Emily Post would appreciate this: Where has phone etiquette gone?



Hi! OK, help me out with something, will you please? In recent weeks, I've found myself increasingly wondering, "What has happened to general phone etiquette?" I guess I've just been woken up too many times in past months, wondering why someone who doesn't know me very well thinks (insert unreasonable time of day here) is an appropriate time to text me? It's not that I'm mad, I'm merely curious to see if others are experiencing my dilemma. Are you smiling yet?

Here's my case: My cell phone, probably not unlike yours, is equipped with email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn phone, text, alarms, calendars and other bells, buzzers and dingers, that are constantly going off throughout the day. The noise is generally manageable, as most people respect the 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. rule (i.e. don't call, text before 9 a.m., or after 10 p.m. unless it's work-related, or the person you're calling is expecting your call, or it's a real emergency, or you're my mother).

But recently I've encountered a few new folks, both men and women, who have gained access to my cell phone and in the process, entirely forgotten that HAVING someone's phone number does not mean they should USE it at all hours of the day and night, beginning at 5:30, 6:30, 7 a.m., then repeatedly throughout the day, over and over and over and over during work hours ... until I finally call them back at the end of the day to let them know that no, I'm not dead -- I'm just busy or sleeping.

Which brings me to another point. I'm a light sleeper. If my cell phone dings (loudly) at 5 a.m., chances are, I'm not falling back to sleep. And I usually sleep with my phone because of it's multiple alarm capabilities, or in case work calls or texts me about a story, or breaking news comes up. So, if someone is waking me up at 5 a.m. to say "Good morning" or "Hi," or ask me a question that could have waited until 9 a.m., I'm generally not happy about that.

Then there's the next puzzling type of texter: the multi-texter. Multi-texter is the person you don't know very well, who isn't family, a co-worker, or a close friend, or boyfriend, who thinks it's completely appropriate to text multiple times, one after another, all day long throughout the day. This person does not understand that sometimes you're just not available. Multi-texter usually also does not understand that sometimes, you really can't respond right when they want you to, or can't accept that you're tied up, and haven't had a chance to listen to their 12 voicemail messages, or sift through six text messages, amid the numerous other work-related priority texts. If you are Multi-texter, here is my advice. Leave one text, two at most, then wait for a response. Just wait. Not 30 min, or an hour. Wait until we return the message. You can wait. And if you're really concerned we're dead, check Facebook for recent updates.

Now, I don't want you to get the idea that I'm a grumpelstiltskin. I'm writing this now and smiling, thinking about how ridiculous it is that I'm even addressing the issue of phone etiquette. Clearly, text messaging and Facebook are relatively new. But just because we're all so available these days, does not mean we should forgo common courtesy and assume that everyone wants to be available all the time, right? Even as a reporter, I try to at least apologize when I feel like I'm excessively calling, and I ALWAYS apologize if I call someone late at night, or early in the morning. I know I can't do anything about my mother's early morning and late-night text messages. And honestly, my mother wouldn't listen to me anyway if I tried to lecture her about calling me at uneven hours. But she has a biological advantage. Mom gets a pass to harass.

So, to sum up, if you're an irresponsible dialer, a heavy-handed eager-texter hitting me up with early morning or late night dings and buzzes, and you haven't yet earned the privilege of dialing outside the cell phone 9 a.m. -10 p.m.rule, please consider this note a helpful guide. And see below for further helpful hints. You're welcome ;)

From ThePulse Top Ten Cell Phone Etiquette Tips

Everywhere that you go you are sure to find somebody talking on their cell phone. An outside observer might wonder if those little devices control us, or if we really control them. Cell phones have made communication so much more convenient and simple. Try to think of the last time that you saw somebody use a pay phone… With the benefits of cell phones there are also some negatives to them. This article is designed to provide some basic cell phone etiquette. By maintaining good cell phone etiquette we will keep more of the benefits of the cell phones while cutting down on their potential negative use. Well with that said here we go.

  1. Be mindful of late calls and texts. Most adults would prefer the phone not to ring past 10pm. Secondly, nobody likes to get a meaningless text that wakes them up at 2am.

  2. Be Mindful of early calls and texts. Most every text sent before 9am would have the same desired result if it was sent after 9am. Try to remember that just because you like to watch the sun come up, not everybody has to watch it with you.

  3. Do not forward annoying text messages. Myself, and the vast majority of the American public do not really believe that something good or bad will immediately happen, if we do not forward texts on to at least seven people within seven minutes. (btw if u don’t forward this article to seven of your best friends within seven minutes of reading it…)

  4. Avoid sarcasm in text messages. Seriously. It is really hard to discern whether somebody is joking or not in a sarcastic text message. This can cause undesired and unnecessary drama.

  5. Do not repeatedly call somebody 30 times without leaving a message. Sometimes people are busy or just away from their phones. Call once and leave a message.

  6. Take the phone away from your ear when you are checking out of a store. Try to be polite and considerate of cashiers who are attempting to do their jobs.

  7. Have personal conversations in personal places. The people around you in stores, church, school, etc… do not need to, and probably do not want to know every detail about your personal life.

  8. Use an earpiece while driving. Keep the roads safe.

  9. Talk, don’t yell. Be mindful of the ear on the other end of the conversation. I think we all have a friend who calls and we hold the phone an arm’s length away from our face, and we can still hear them.

  10. Do not drive while entexticated. Do not text people while you are driving. It is scary to passengers in your car, and the passengers of other cars.