You remember when portraying bad manners meant just greeting an elderly person with the left hand or talking whilst eating? Today, the scope of bad manners has broadened. With all our mobile devices (whether i-Pad, ‘i-Yam’ or China branded Android phones and tablets), we can be rude anywhere at any time. Rude cell-phone users are anywhere that there’s a cell phone signal.
My bet is that you’ll agree that some of these mobile mis-steps make you want to slap the perpetrators upside the head. But the truth is that we are all guilty in one way or the other of such rude cell phone manners. The paradox is that it is also rude to criticize someone’s behaviour. However if such behaviour gets worse, the person’s mind must be drawn to the rudeness of his attitude. Below is how to practice cell phone etiquette and a list of some of the bad mobile phone manners we must avoid.
The basic principle of phone etiquette is that it’s not other people’s responsibility to tolerate your mobile phone use; it is your responsibility to use your mobile phone inoffensively. Ignore this principle and you’re sure to be rude! Most people give much of their concentration to their mobile phones that they seem to be insensitive to the physical environment when much of our attention is needed to perform our daily tasks and duties which demand a limitation to our mobile phone use. Following directly from the basic principle, you have to bear with others in social gatherings by putting your phone off or at least, on silent mode.
Don’t get this wrong: it’s probably not that people around are trying to be condescending, hassle you or restrict your God-given freedom of expression but there are tangible reasons for that. We live in a world where we daily mingle with people from different cultures, preferences (likes and dislikes) as well as physiological conditions hence it is likely that our actions in some ways can hurt people we don’t even take notice of. For instance, people with temporal lobe epilepsy may find that certain sounds trigger seizures and some people have neuro-sensory issues that makes extraneous noise to be a severe difficulty rather than a mild annoyance.
Examples of the places to avoid using our mobile phones actively are: bathrooms, church premises, workplaces, lectures, elevators, hospitals, banking halls, restaurants, auditoriums, wedding ceremonies, parties, movie theatres, conference centers, shopping malls and market places, among others.
Let’s learn to text. When it’s inappropriate to talk in a place, it is acceptable to send and receive text messages. In such cases, the following rules of texting ethics must be kept in mind:
- Use the vibrate feature instead of an audible or funny text alert.
- Only text when you’re standing still or sitting and out of anyone’s way.
- Don’t text while you walk, drive or do any other thing that requires you to be attentive such as cooking, swimming or sewing. Multi-tasking puts your life or others’ in danger.
- Don’t text while at a meeting or conference. You should give the speaker your undivided attention.
- Never send incomplete messages with ambiguity, one with sexual overtones or one that could be misconstrued as a threat or insult. It is very hard to convey tones and sarcasm in texting and email, so realize that certain things may come across as sounding unusual or offensive.
- Avoid re-texting people when previous messages you’ve sent to them have not been read unless very necessary. This prevents people from thinking that you’re disturbing them.
- On the other side, avoid the habit of not reading or replying people’s texts for a long period when you and they clearly know that you’ve received their messages. This will send a message to them that you’re ignoring them or they’re simply unimportant to you. After all, what is the use of replying an message that needed urgent reply or action days later?
- Avoid unnecessary capitalization of all the texts in your message since it relays a tone of aggression.
To be continued…