October 13, 2003 in Current Events

Cell Phone Etiquette

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What is it with people and their cell phones? Granted it’s a wonderful invention, but more and more, people seem to be using it to annoy (intentionally or not) others around them. Heck, my younger sister and I had an argument last May because she was talking loud on a cell phone in crowded restaurant. I told her to take her conversation outside and she started bitching at me. This led to a very heated argument in the middle of Time Square and we haven’t talked since. Yesterday she called me for the first time since the blow up and we ended arguing about the whole thing again. She doesn’t think she did anything wrong. Now tonight on the bus, I was surrounded by 4 people yapping away. Don’t they understand how rude it is to be loudly talking on a cell phone in a public place? People, we don’t want to hear about your sex life, your obnoxious friends, parents, boss, spouse, kids, etc. Keep your personal and business dealings to yourself. Goodness. I’m so annoyed by all the excessive cell phone talking in public places, that I just might print off the cell phone do’s and don’ts listed below and pass them out. Things have totally gotten out of hand.

Cell phone etiquette: 10 dos and don’ts
by Joanna L. Krotz
1. Never take a personal mobile call during a business meeting. This includes interviews and meetings with co-workers or subordinates.
2. Maintain at least a 10-foot zone from anyone while talking.
3. Never talk in elevators, libraries, museums, restaurants, theaters, dentist or doctor waiting rooms, places of worship, auditoriums or other enclosed public spaces, such as hospital emergency rooms or buses. And don’t have any emotional conversations in public — ever.
4. Don’t use loud and annoying ring tones that destroy concentration and eardrums. Grow up!
5. Never “multi-task” by making calls while shopping, banking, waiting in line or conducting other personal business.
1. Keep all cellular congress brief and to the point.
2. Use an earpiece in high-traffic or noisy locations. That lets you hear the amplification — how loud you sound at the other end — so you can modulate your voice.
3. Tell callers when you’re on a cell phone and where you are — so they can anticipate distractions or disconnections.
4. Demand “quiet zones” and “phone-free areas” at work and in public venues, like the quiet cars on the Metroliner.
5. Inform everyone on your stored-number list that you’ve just adopted the new rules for mobile manners. Ask them to do likewise. Please.


  1. April 25, 2004 at 11:57 am


    i agree that it is very rude to talk aloud on your cell phone and rudely interupting other people. and it is highly irritating hearing loud ringtones all the time.

  2. October 17, 2003 at 3:12 pm


    With regard to do’s and don’ts with cell phones, you forgot to add never answer a call while making love and if you do don’t talk about your lover as though they were not there.
    Slightly worse is using it to order a pizza…………..

  3. October 17, 2003 at 5:24 am

    Rush Limbaughtomy

    Cell phones are great conveniences for using during ‘wasted’ time like sitting in traffic with a “hands free” set up. But they allow people to intrude on any situation unless they are used wisely.
    Cell calls only seem urgent. I always keep mine on vibrate in public places and I let it go to voice mail that says “call back 3 times if this is an emergency and I will answer now. – if not just leave a message and I will call as soon as I am free – thanks”
    Don’t you just hate it when you have taken the time and effort to be with someone in person and they fill that time speaking with someone else on the phone? It says ‘you are right here in front of me but this voice on the phone is more important than you – or all the people within earshot.

  4. October 15, 2003 at 9:26 pm


    Okay, here’s my 2¢:
    Most people tend to YELL when they talk on their cell phones. In any situation & location YELLING is usually considered inapropriate.
    Consider your cellphone amigo/a just as you would a physical person in your location. What do I mean? I mean, if you wouldn’t discuss your “heavy flow day” with a girlfriend who’s physically with you while you’re both physically in front of 100 strangers on the bus/EL/Subway then you shouldn’t YELL IT OUT OVER YOUR CELL PHONE while you’re in public even though your friend isn’t physically with you.
    Basically, what we all have to do is this:
    Remember that your cellphone conversation is private, but your speaking place is often public (9x out of 10). The joys of convenience often have thorns. The “thorn” here is that you need to not discuss certain details – or discuss them REALLY QUIETLY – since you’re not at home in your living room chatting with your best baby/bud.
    Convenience doesn’t = absolution. Social rules still apply. Be as courteous when talking on your phone as you would be were you talking to the person next to you – because, in fact, you ARE talking to the person next to you.
    Turn your damn phone off in movie theaters! Turn that damn phone off! If you’re not going to answer the call right away, let it go to voicemail. You’ll be able to find out who called AFTER the movie. And if you’re stupid enough to try & answer the phone in a theater, don’t be upset when someone dumps a bucket of popcorn on your inconsiderate head.
    Then shoves you to the floor.
    Kicks you.
    And continues watching the movie in peace.

  5. October 14, 2003 at 8:39 pm


    Cellular congress? That sounds vagely sexual. Have I missed something while I was out of the country for the last year?

  6. October 14, 2003 at 7:59 pm


    I agree and disagree with the whole cell phone etiquette concept. Yes, talking on the cell at an inapproriate tone, at inapproriate times (such as in a restuarant…loud or not) is a bad idea. For the restaurant example, it’s not only rude to the people within earshot of you, what about the person you’re out with if you have company? Yeah the restaurant maybe loud already, but do you REALLY need to add to the calamity?
    On the flip side, do you ask two people having a conversation in a normal tone of voice to “keep it short” and “take that home”? No. So if you see someone on the train, or where ever, and they are talking in a normal tone of voice…maybe even a bit lowered..on the cell, does it REALLY bother you more than if they were talking to another person? Does it bother you that you can’t see the other person…that you can’t hear the other side of the conversation?

  7. October 14, 2003 at 10:54 am


    I can’t say that I agree with this list. I also have trouble understanding how having a conversation on a cellphone is any worse than having a conversation with a person, and to me, the same manners should apply. In a “quiet” place (library, doctor’s office, etc.), conversations should be kept quiet and phones should be set to low volume or vibrate. But, in a crowded restaurant where a bunch of other people are being loud and talking, it doesn’t seem rude to me to talk on your cellphone.
    Different views for different people, of course…I find that people can seem rude while doing things that I think other people could do politely. It’s a subjective thing.

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