Please, Just Put the Phone Away

Our smartphones have become almost like second limbs for us busy, multi-tasking young professionals. It seems that we have all very much become at the mercy of our devices, with a cell phone accidently left at home enough to induce panic and anxiety. As such, use of these staples has become widely accepted in a variety of social situations. Save from the obvious wedding and funeral (yes, we have seen it happen) there are a few situations where cell phone use must be approached with caution. 

In Yoga Class
Although you may see yoga as a purely physical activity because you like the way it makes your body look, there are others in the class who actually enjoy the precious hour and fifteen minutes to tune out the world, centre themselves and focus on nothing but their breathing, being present in the moment and their practice. You will likely be met with more than a few glares if your phone goes off during practice, or if you begin your class on your mat typing away until the very last second while the rest of the class attempts to centre themselves as they prepare to begin. Even if your cell phone is on silent and sits in the corner of the room instead of in your hands, the mere sight of it may ruin the vibe for the yogis in the room. If your job is demanding, don’t go to a midday class where you are unable to fully part with your precious phone for 75 minutes. Trust us.

During a Presentation or Meeting
It has become more commonplace for people to have their cell phones on the table in front of them during meetings or presentations, but that doesn’t mean they should be in use (silently or not) the entire time. It is rude, distracting and removes you from the moment. The last thing you need is to be called on for your opinion on a matter only to turn beet red and mumble your words simply because you were too busy messaging with your SO to pay attention. If you must, discreetly glance down when there is a few seconds break between speakers, or during a brief lull in the conversation.

Dinner Dates
When out for dinner, first date or 50th date, try to save the phone checking for when the other is in the washroom or toward the end of the meal when you are both deciding your next plan of action. The mid-dinner cell phone check is especially rude on first dates when you are theoretically supposed to be giving the other your full attention and (at least pretend) interest. If you must check your phone, either apologize and make it brief or take the phone with you to the bathroom. On the other end of the spectrum, and perhaps even worse, is the couple that goes to dinner, brunch or coffee together but may as well be alone because both parties spend the whole time glued to their phones. Don’t be that couple – others are secretly laughing at you. 

Visits with the Parents
You likely already see your parents way less than they would like and, let’s face it, they aren’t getting any younger. Make the most out of the time you spend with them – whether at their home, during meals, shopping trips and car rides. Keep cell phone use to a minimum. Even though Mom may have her own BlackBerry and Dad an iPhone, the older generation still has different views when it comes to cell phone etiquette. No matter how much you try to explain it, they likely won’t understand what is so much more important than the time spent with them, and what so urgent it can’t wait a few hours…unless it involves grandchildren, of course.

On Public Transit
Text your heart out on your city’s subways, buses and streetcars – you’re not harming anyone. If the exchange involves BBM banter, however, make sure the sounds are off or you will have fellow (already disgruntled public transit riders) wanting to throw your phone out the window or onto the tracks. Along the same token, do not talk on the phone on public transit. Nobody wants to hear you blabbing away, nobody cares…no matter how exciting your life may be. We were once called out on this behaviour by a bus driver on a bus full of people who kindly reminded us that “nobody gives a sh*t about your prissy life” and we have kept our mouths shut and fingers typing on transit ever since. 

During Sex/Make Out
Don’t take a page from Paris Hilton’s book on this one. It will kill the mood, bruise an ego and likely result in you sleeping in your bed alone.

Photo courtesy Madameoiselle RVA