Cell Phone Etiquette – Communicate with Class

cell phone etiquetteWhen we think of proper etiquette we think of how to politely make an introduction or cultivating proper table manners, although these topics are still relevant as we move into our modern day world there are other subjects that also deserve our attention. One such subject is cell phone etiquette.

Phones have been around for over one hundred years but with the cell phone we enter new territory. For the modern day lady your phone is probably attached at your hip, or better yet discreetly tucked away in your purse. We are a phone obsessed culture, you can’t escape so it’s best master the do’s and don’ts.

Not only must we consider speaking but the long list of features that now come with our phones; texting, cameras, apps, internet surfing… the functions are endless. Phones are now immensely powerful and you know what they say.. With great power comes  great responsibility, the responsibility to be polite and use your phone like a lady.


  • Speak softly yet clearly.
  • Refrain from making calls in any area where you may disturb another. Areas include libraries, theaters, public gatherings, religious events, restaurants etc.
  • If 3 or more people are talking then you do have the right to make a call but I still advise to keep it short or save it for later.
  • If you’re in a place where it’s appropriate to speak but people are still around (grocery store, park etc.) you may have a quick chat but don’t have a full blown conversation. Nobody wants to overhear the 1 hour version of how your colorists destroyed your highlights.
  • Refrain from having personal or overly emotional conversations in public.
  • Don’t use vulgar or unseemly language.


  • Don’t text when you should be focused on something or someone else. You wouldn’t speak with someone and simply stop the conversation to talk to someone else, it’s the same thing.
  • If an urgent text is neccessary while at a meal or gathering discreetly say “Do you mind if I send out a quick text.” or “Please excuse me I just have to send this quick message.” You may provide a brief explanation but don’t go into detail, the less attention you draw the better.
  • Never text anything you don’t want repeated or saved. Remember once it’s out there it’s out there for good.

cell phone etiquette

Photo Taking

  • Never take someone’s photo without their permission.
  • Turn your sound off when taking photos to avoid the disturbing clicking sound.
  • Don’t share unflattering or embarrassing photos you may have of a friend.
  • Only take photos at appropriate times and places.
  • If taking food photos at a restaurant take only a couple and take them quickly.
  • Turn your flash off in cases where it may disturb.

Apps & Internet

  • If using apps or internet do so at the appropriate time and place. No meals, meetings, or while having a conversation.
  • If there’s a game or app that involves invitations to play/take part you may invite your friends but only once. If they don’t wish to be included leave it be.

Phone Maintenance

  • Keep cell phone working and clean.
  • If using a case use something elegant and tastleful. Nothing too flashy or bulky. You want your phone to be a discreet accessory.

Miscellaneous Manners

  • Never leave your phone on the table during a meal or meeting.
  • Keep your phone on vibrate as often as possible. If you need the sound on make sure the volume is at a pleasant level, not the highest setting.
  • If at a theater or important event turn your phone off completely to avoid any undue noises.
  • If a friend’s unattended phone rings don’t pick it up unless they’ve given their permission. If it’s ringing loudly you may turn the sound off without answering.

cell phone etiquette


As a general overview simply use your common sense and be courteous and respectful to the people around you. Even though everyone may be behaving a certain way does not give you permission to be impolite.

HOMEWORK: What rude cell phone behavior do you witness most often? Vent in the comments below!




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