Miss Manners: When Modern Technology Meets Modern Etiquette

[I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the epitome of prim and proper- heck, who really is nowadays? But looking around at the misguided youths of today *ahem drinking buddies*, I’m starting to think that Miss Manners might have been onto something.

While you may never need to know how to greet a duke or how to tell which fork is REALLY the oyster fork, knowing how to deal with people whom owe you money, how much to tip, and how to address the ever annoying licorice-in-teeth conundrum without being rude might actually come in handy in the real world. I’m not trying to be your mother – oh goodness, no – I’m just here to help you out of those little etiquette dilemmas. So here goes: a quick lesson in etiquette. The sh*t you might actually need to know.]

These days, it seems like the etiquette rules of the past just can’t keep up with the changing face of communication. Now, I like my cell phone as much as the next person, but there are some things you just shouldn’t do with a phone…

– Having a cell phone lets you talk whenever, whereever, but that doesn’t mean you should. It’s rude to talk on the phone in restaurants, movie theaters, libraries, lecture halls, opera houses (does anyone actually go to those?), etc. Keep your phone on silent. Duh.

– What’s more, it’s rude to talk loudly. I don’t mean the “slightly-above-normal-speaking-level” loud. I mean the “STRAIGHT-UP-SCREAMIING-INTO-YOUR-PHONE-LIKE-IT’S-A-MEGA-PHONE“ loud. If you have to scream, take it somewhere private. Otherwise, realize that the other person will hear you whether you’re screaming or whispering (preferably, talking normally). Plus it makes you look super crazy if you’re walking down the street screaming into a hidden Bluetooth.

– Ahh… Bluetooth. Useful for driving, useful when your hands are full, but not so useful for anything else. For goodness sakes, take it off your ear when you’re not on the phone. The thing is silly-looking and it’s completely unnerving to try and hold a conversation with someone who could be on the phone with someone else. Plus the blinking light is extremely distracting. Take it off.

– Loudspeakers are completely unnecessary (not to mention, obnoxious) in public. There’s no reason why anyone should have to listen to both ends of your conversation. Common decency, people.

– Yes, I know the Crackberrys, the iPhones, and the G1s are super addictive, but that doesn’t mean they should be permanently glued to your hand – or your ear! When you’re with someone, be with them. It’s rude to constantly text in the company of others (“Stop trying to be sneaky, I know what you’re up to. This isn’t high school, I can see you texting behind that menu.”) and even if you’re not texting, just fiddling with your phone makes the person talking to you think that you’d rather be somewhere else.

Maybe I’m selfish but when I’m with someone, I want them to focus on me. Not their email, not the playoff scores, not their online shopping. ME. Put the phone away (not on the dinner table next to the rolls, oh dear.) And if you absolutely MUST keep your phone on because you’re waiting on an important phone call, warn me first. I don’t want to be halfway through my pasta only to be interrupted by Daddy Yankee‘s “Gasolina.”

What about you? Is it just me or do cell-phone divas annoy you? Any other obnoxious things that people do with their phones that gets under your skin? Share!

I’m Awesome, I Know It, and I Don’t Think It’s a Problem
I’m Awesome, I Know It, and I Don’t Think It’s a Problem
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