Simple concept: if your cell phone rings, chirps, raps, sings, farts or vibrates and you’re already in a conversation with someone, don’t interrupt it to start a new one on your phone. Looking at your hip, glancing down at your phone, or pulling it up to your eyes, when speaking or being spoken to, is simply rude. “I have to take this” is the biggest lie since “I meant to call you.” There is only one reason to check your phone in a conversation: you are a licensed therapist and it’s one of your more unstable patients. Talking someone down from a building rooftop is an acceptable interruption. OK, maybe one other exception but it better be legit: potential hookup. Otherwise, ignore your damn cell phone. It shouldn’t control your attention the way crack does for Whitney.
You have voicemail for a reason. Use it. I challenge you to think of a time when you’ve had to answer your phone the moment it rings. Even if it’s an emergency, chances are you don’t know if they should cut the blue wire or the red one, MacGyver. Have you ever checked your voicemail five minutes after a call and said, “Damn. If only I had answered it when it rang. Now it’s too late.”? No, you haven’t. Yes, it’s a pain to call your voicemail, punch in your pin, listen to a message and return a call. But it isn’t rude. Sometimes, it's not about you.
So the next time someone looks at their phone during your conversation, give them a little slap. “Hey! Eyes up here. We’re talking.” It will be a firm but effective reminder that they’re already talking to someone; the other person can wait.
When we cut the cord (phone cord) and went wireless worldwide, it was supposed to provide freedom. Who knew we’d have to cut the cord again, this time the wireless umbilical cord so many cell phone users are attached to?