Cell phone etiquette: We'll show you the 5 most important smartphone etiquette rules

Cell phone etiquette: We'll show you the 5 most important smartphone etiquette rules

Can you leave your cell phone on the table while eating? Is it appropriate to talk on the phone in public? 

Just because we use our smartphone a lot doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. But even in the digital age, respectful behavior and consideration for others is key - at work, at school, among friends and in public. 

But don't worry, we have summarized the most important 5 rules of cell phone etiquette and related tips for you here.

1. Always put real world and people above digital

Far too often, we take refuge in the digital world that our cell phones offer us. This may be perfectly okay in the morning on your train ride to work. But if you're in the company of another person, your attention should be on them and not on your cell phone screen. 

If you check your WhatsApp messages or the performance of your latest Instagram post during a conversation with someone else, you're showing your counterpart one thing above all else: There are more important things for me than you right now. 

This is not only rude and hurtful, but also shows disrespect. So don't be distracted by every notification on your smartphone. And this doesn't just apply to friends: 

Even the short conversation with the cashier or the mailman should not be interrupted by the smartphone out of respect. 

Fun fact: Because it's so widespread, this behavioral phenomenon has even been given a name: "phubbing. 

The name can be derived from "phone" and "snub" (in the sense of rejection) and describes the continuous preoccupation with the cell phone and the resulting disregard for the other person.

Playfully prevent chain reactions

For the same reason, the cell phone has no place on the dining table at home, the restaurant or the bar. 

This can sometimes be quite challenging in a group of friends. Especially because these situations often lead to a chain reaction that I'm sure you're familiar with: 

•  You fish your phone out of your pocket without thinking and type a quick message to your partner under the table. 

•  You look up again and see how your table companions have copied you and you're all staring at your smartphones instead of talking to each other. 

How can you prevent such a situation? 

With a game, for example: Cell phones are all put away or placed in the middle of the table. The first person to reach for the smartphone has to pay the bill! Would you accept the challenge? 

Urgent calls: Allowed or not?

So you're sitting in a restaurant with your friends, but you're still expecting an important call from your boss. 

What is the right way to behave in this situation? 

In order not to appear disrespectful, it's best to let your boss know right at the beginning and ask for understanding. When your boss finally calls you, it's best to step out of the room or in front of the door.

2. Discreet volume in public 

We humans are quite curious by nature. Still, not everyone wants to be forced to listen to your relationship drama or your business affairs in the morning in the train compartment. 

That can get on your nerves considerably. Phone calls in public should therefore always be made at a discreet volume. The person on the other end will hear everything, so don't worry. Special care should be taken when you make phone calls with the wireless headphones that are widely used nowadays. 

It's easy to misjudge your own volume. In general, it is better to keep phone conversations in public places as short as possible and to keep a minimum distance of a few meters from other people. In some places, however, you should refrain from talking on the phone altogether: 

•  Cinema

•  Theater

•  Libraries

•  Hospitals

•  Cemeteries

•  Churches

Emergencies are of course always excluded. 

Sound on or off?

It's not just the volume of one's own voice that needs to be regulated in public. After all, the cell phone itself emits quite a few tones. 

It's best to mute all of these - and the ringtone if possible. The latter should at least be set to a discreet volume or vibration mode. 

Above all, however, these apply to playing videos, music and voice messages. If you cannot do without sound at all, you should use headphones. 

3. Always respect the privacy of all parties

Admittedly, it's not always easy to curb your own curiosity. Nevertheless, you should refrain from staring at the screen of the person sitting next to you on the train or the person in front of you while waiting in line at the Migros checkout. 

Even if you've become a pro at peering at other people's screens as inconspicuously as possible: You have to respect the privacy of others. After all, we wouldn't welcome it if someone was looking over our shoulder while we were texting with our partners. 

Friends, strangers and photos

It is also important to respect the privacy of your friends. You know how it is: you're talking about your vacation in Greece and you want to punctuate the story with a successful photo of a sunset. 

You hand your smartphone to your listeners so they can better admire the picture. Instead of handing the phone back to you, however, they swipe to the next photo in your gallery without warning. 

This is also an invasion of privacy. It's always important to get permission first. This also applies when you take photos of other people. If you snap wildly in public and then post everything online - even if other people's faces are clearly visible - you're violating your right to privacy

Some things are for your ears only

Lastly, it is always important to let a telephone call partner know when the loudspeaker is on. Some things are not meant for other people's ears. 

It shows respect to inform the person that others may be listening in. 

4. Find your balance

Always answering messages and calls immediately is impossible and - as we have already seen in the above points - in some situations not possible at all. 

It is important to ignore people who impatiently ask for an answer just a few minutes after sending the first message. You are allowed to take your time for answering. But not too much. 

If you make people wait several days for answers, you signal disinterest. If you really don't have time to reply satisfactorily to the message, it shows respect to let the person know by sending a short message. 

No telephone terror during free time and vacations

Smartphones allow us to be reachable everywhere and at all times. Even if we don't really want to be. On vacation, for example. That's why it's also important to respect leisure and rest time, especially when it comes to business matters. 

Most things can wait until tomorrow. Generally, you find out by message or right at the beginning of the phone call whether it is convenient or whether a later time would be better.

5. Security is above WhatsApp message

The previous points were mainly about not getting on people's nerves with your own cell phone use. Depending on the situation, however, this can be quite dangerous. 

Especially if you're dealing with a so-called smombie. This word combination of smartphone and zombies describes people who stare incessantly at their cell phones in public. However, this behavior also endangers fellow human beings: 

In traffic, for example. It is therefore important to know in which situations it is better to put the cell phone away. After all, even the latest smartphone is not worth hurting yourself or others. 

Like the article? Spread the word