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7 Biggest Breaches of Phone Etiquette

We love smartphones and all the cool stuff they can do, but there are certain times and certain places where a phone just makes everything worse, and certain things people do with their phones that just seem a little antisocial. So let’s join together in a new wave of good phone etiquette and put and end to these behaviours. 

Public Speakerphone 

Is there anything more intrusive than someone else’s private conversation being broadcast for the whole world to hear? Look, we understand. The world is a loud, busy place. But what’s wrong with a headset? Or earbuds? Or just regular volume? 

Bonus awfulness: when the person using speakerphone accuses you of violating their privacy. 

Texting In the Movie Theatre 

They think they look so sneaky. Terry Texter angles their phone down and taps out a message as quickly as possible, but it doesn’t work. Everyone in the theatre can see because that blue light from the phone is the most distracting thing ever. 

Using Flash at Big Public Events

The Oilers versus Flames are a hundred feet away but some very enthusiastic fan next to you has their flashed turned way up while he shoots his video. Maybe that enthusiastic fan really thinks that the flash is illuminating the ice. And that it isn’t bothering everyone. 

Making People Watch Terrible, Shaky Videos 

There’s probably a guy in your life who films everything on his phone. Concerts, sports, neat cars, pets doing pet things, the weather . . . everything. Then this guy wants you to watch all his videos. They’re shaky, they’re lengthy, and somehow you doubt that the Foo Fighters sounded quite so tinny in person. Is there a kind way to say no to shaky videos? We’re open to suggestions.  

Flipping Through Pictures Without Permission

You want to show someone a picture, so naturally, you hand over your phone. But what possesses people to just start flipping through the rest of your stuff? Maybe there are private pictures in there. Maybe there aren’t. But it’s still pretty rude, so let’s all come to an agreement: we all teach our kids that flipping through someone else’s pictures on their phone is wrong. And it’s as bad as not knocking on a door before bursting into a room.

Music Without Earbuds 

Some people think their taste in music is great. So great that the entire subway car needs to hear it. We don’t really get these people. It’s hard enough to get a family of four to agree on what radio station to listen to during a road trip, so what are the chances that a whole group of strangers are going to be happy with Bobby Boombox’s latest jams? 

Phone in the Public Washroom

A washroom is a place for private noises. So why—oh why—do people talk on the phone in there? Is there such a thing as a conversation that can be improved by the ambient sounds of a bathroom? 

The Bottom Line

Etiquette maven Emily Post wrote, “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” And that’s basically what it comes down to. There probably aren’t hard and fast rules about when and when not to use a phone, but people who commit the above faux pas probably aren’t considering the people around them, and that’s the real issue.