Phone Etiquette in Public Spaces

So you might be familiar with the airplane rule that says the middle seat passenger gets both armrests. If you’re on plane to Salt Lake City and you come across someone unfamiliar with this rule, feel free to educate them. But where do people stand on phone calls in public spaces?

Are you irked by people who have conversations on their iPhones during an elevator ride? You want to call the attention of the person and cite a rule, but you can’t. You start to wonder in your head, “Isn’t talking on your mobile phone while in public and confined spaces showing a lack of etiquette?” If you’re still wondering about phone etiquette in public spaces, the following discussion will provide some insights:

A Quick History of Mobile Phones

Could it be because the first mobile phone was released only in 1983 that mobile phone etiquette in public spaces hasn’t gotten much traction? The mobile device that came out in 1983 from Motorola was a huge and heavy device, that carrying it with you while walking on the street seems awkward enough. Imagine how putting something the size of a brick to your head while inside an elevator?

In the late 1990s, the mobile phone became smaller and thinner than a pack of cigarettes. Was the size a license to speak in public? Maybe or maybe not. But like you many are still annoyed that some people don’t seem to adhere to the rules.

Mobile Phone Etiquette in Public

group of friends watching a video form their gadget

Many would understand if it’s a case of an emergency. Maybe it’s a call about a loved one who was in an accident. But the rest of the people in an elevator don’t want to hear about the problems with the repair works in your home renovation project. Here’s a list of rules you might want to remind people about:

  1. Silence is gold. More so in the elevator. Some are aware of this and end their conversation as they go inside. God bless them. Throw a disapproving look their way if they continue to talk, especially if they’re speaking as if they’re having a conversation in their living room. You won’t be out of place if you give a gesture for the person to end the call.
  2. Restaurants are for dining. Fortunately, the majority agrees that talking on your mobile device while having dinner at a restaurant should not be done. Research study shows that 62% of people indicated that talking on the phone at a restaurant is “not okay.”
  3. Step away. If you can’t avoid taking a call in public, step away or find a place where you can be isolated from your group. The suggestion is to put at least 10 feet of space between you and other people. Remember to speak softly.
  4. Silent and vibrate. Always put your iPhone in silent or vibrate mode in places where silence is expected, like cinemas, and hospitals. Call the attention of the theater usher to address abusers during a movie screening.

The rule isn’t clear in all public spaces. But you will be right to remind people about the items on this list.

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