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Cell phone etiquette

Everyone knows that you shouldn't talk to someone when they are on the phone. It's a basic piece of etiquette that is as old as telephones. I learned it as a kid, and I'm sure my parents did, and their parents. It actually surprises me sometimes when someone I am with continues talking while I am on the phone. It does happen, but rarely.

The same courtesy applies to people who are on their phone, but reading or writing. If someone turns to their phone to read a text, or reply to a text, or to check something, the etiquette is the same, stop talking. Oddly enough, many people will say to me, as they look at their phone, "keep talking". Maybe it's because reading doesn't require hearing, but it does require concentration.

So, if you're with someone who needs to use their phone, shut up. Whether they are talking, reading, or writing, they are concentrating.

Looking at it from the other point of view, using your phone while you are with someone is sending a clear message - shut up. Even if you assure the other person that they can keep talking, you are asking for a bit of silence. And there's nothing wrong with that. "Excuse me for a moment" is really all you have to say, if you feel that you need to say anything.

If you are offended by this, don't be. It's just that what is happening on their phone is more important, or more interesting than you. If it wasn't, they would have left their phone in their pocket.

I hope this helps.