Even I’ll admit that I’m sometimes a perpetrator of some distasteful cell phone behavior. It’s hard not to be when we have these little worlds at our fingertips. Not only do we all have access to the Internet on our smart phones, but between Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Twitter, and the more antique functions like calling and texting, we have tons of ways to communicate with the world. More importantly, the world has so many ways to communicate with us. It used to be that all of our correspondence was waiting at home for us either in the mailbox or on our voice message machine. Now, people can access us wherever we are, and it’s lead to a rapid and strange change in social behavior. Here is rude cell phone behavior we have unfortunately normalized.
Ignoring a call, and texting back
Somebody calls you, you don’t feel like talking on the phone, so you ignore the call, and simply text back, “Hey, I saw you called—what’s up?” Well they probably called because “what’s up” will take a lot of typing to explain over text. And now that you’ve texted back, you’re proven you are, in fact, available to talk, you just didn’t feel like picking up.
Treating every message as urgent
We’ve completely come to accept that if someone we are talking to, in real life, receives a Facebook message/Twitter alert/text, that that person is going to bring our conversation to a screeching halt to answer that. That’s like being the person at the brick and mortar store, talking to a sales associate, and being told to wait because a different customer calls the store.
Not listening to voicemails
We don’t listen to each other’s voicemails anymore. Someone will call, leave a message, we’ll see she left a message, but rather than listen to it, we’ll just call the person back and ask that she repeat everything she probably just said on that message.
At the cashier
These poor cashiers are left feeling like they’re interrupting our phone conversations just by doing their jobs in asking things like, “Do you need a bag?” or “Do you have a rewards phone number?”
Texting and walking
Perhaps some of the most dangerous people on the roads aren’t drivers but pedestrians on their phones. Look around: hoards of people are going down the sidewalk, not looking where they’re going because they’re looking at their phones.
Delaying the meal for photos
The moment everyone’s food arrives at the table, and just when everyone is absolutely salivating and can’t wait to dig in, someone says, “Wait. Let me take a picture of the food.” Then that person conducts a full-on portrait session, essentially holding everybody hostage.
Ordering at a restaurant
Servers, like cashiers, have started to deal with customers holding their finger up in the, “One second” position when they’re simply attempting to do their job. And it’s not like servers have all the time in the world—they have other tables to get to. But here they are, waiting to take this rude customer’s order until she’s done with her call.
As a passenger in the car
Just because you’re riding along doesn’t mean you’re free to handle all the business you want on the phone. If someone is kind enough to give you a ride, then be present. Provide conversation. Don’t just dive back into Twitter, making the driver feel like your chauffeur.
Taking two days to text back
This is another one of those things that, if we did it in real life, we’d quickly realize how egregious it is. Someone can take days to respond to a text and we can’t say anything about it. You know the person saw the text. So what the hell is going on over there?
Texting while socializing
I have a few friends who do this: they respond to texts and take calls while we’re hanging out. Um, hello: I took time out of my day to meet you, in person, to have lunch. Why should the person who is simply sending you a text get priority?
FaceTiming in public
What is with all of the people who FaceTime in public now? Oh, and not even with headphones in, but with the other person on speakerphone. Do you really need to give your friend a video tour of the coffee shop you’re in?
Taking photos/videos without permission
It’s completely normal to see people raise their phones to take a photo or video of…anything. A couple fighting. A car crash. A baby doing something cute. We don’t have permission to document these things, but we all seem to think we do.
Keeping earbuds in everywhere
I’m sorry but I just think it’s so rude if someone keeps her ear buds in while having a conversation with me. Even if she insists she’s not on a call right now or she’s paused her podcast, it just seems like at any moment a call will come in, and this person will be distracted.
Keeping someone on hold while you do…everything
My mom does this: she calls me when she doesn’t really have time to talk. Every few minutes she’ll say something like, “Honey, can you hang on while I talk to the plumber real quick?” then I sit on hold and listen to her five-minute conversation with the plumber.
Double-checking info online
So someone says something that we aren’t entirely certain is true. Is it essential that we fact check her there and then? Can’t we just allow the flow of conversation to go on naturally, without pausing every few minutes to say, “Let me look that up?”