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Let's review cell phone etiquette
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Forsyth County News

It’s no secret that we’re a nation dependent on cell phones.

A recent study said more than 80 percent of Americans have some type of cell phone. 

Most of our children can’t remember life before the devices and, frankly, I’m as dependent on my cell phone as much as the next person.

I used to be able to recall a myriad of telephone numbers. I knew those for dozens of friends, church, work, the pediatrician and pharmacy. No longer.

Now when I’m filling out a form and it asks for my husband’s number, I have to pull out my cell phone and find it. Lord help me if I lost my phone. Oh yeah, the Cloud is saving that information for me — don’t worry, no need to alert my memory skills.

With my cell phone dependency established, let’s talk about some things I don’t like about these seemingly indispensible gadgets.

I’m increasingly amazed at the lack of cell phone etiquette. Since there are no classes I’m aware of that address this important subject, I would like to offer my services.

If you’re wondering about my qualifications, all I could really come up with was that I took cotillion classes in seventh grade.

For those who don’t know, that meant once a week for several months I had to get super dressed up and attend a class where we learned classic dances with boys our own age.

I don’t remember if there were other etiquette lessons because we all took the classes because boys would be there.

Now that my credentials have been vetted, let’s turn our attention to some cell phone pointers.

• Hands-free devices, or ear buds: These were designed so that you can speak on your phone without holding it.

Personally, I think this was a genius invention. For those of us who frequently interview people and want to write or type what they’re saying, an ear bud is nothing short of amazing.

Ear buds, however, were not invented so people could walk around the grocery store talking loudly.

Many times I’ve been strolling down a store aisle when a loud voice sounds behind me. I turn to find a businessman who thinks his conversation is so important that we all want to hear what he’s saying.

That’s obnoxious. Not only that, but people who appear to be talking to themselves look a little crazy. Please stop.

• Know when to hang up. When checking out at a store, don’t continue talking on a cell phone. That’s rude and makes the cashier feel like he/she is invisible.

I happen to know several cashiers and they have told me this many times. Isn’t that really a no-brainer?

Someone is assisting you and you don’t respect them enough to say hello?

I realize that none of us were brought up with parents who knew what cell phones were, so we don’t necessarily have a point of reference. This is where common sense needs to kick in.

• Cell phone checking. Look, I understand the desire to check the phone constantly. I’m fully immersed in the need-to-know-second-by-second-culture we live in.

Still, when having lunch or coffee with someone, don’t constantly check calls and texts.

If you’re expecting a text or call that is important (for example, there’s a sick child at home or the spouse is having car trouble), let the other person know so as not to make them think anything on the cell phone is more important than meeting with them.

• Ban cell phones at dinner: I realize parents may be the most at fault here, but this is important.

There simply must be a time, no matter how brief, when children see it’s OK to sit, talk and break bread with family and not be plugged in.

One last thing. I applaud those of you who aren’t texting and driving. I hope and pray nobody does this. But please don’t text or check phones at red lights either.

Why? Because I’m always the one behind you who hates to honk (because I’m not from New York). While you may almost miss the light, but manage to make it on yellow, I miss it. That’s not fair.

I’m sure I’m forgetting other cell phone etiquette tips, so if you have some, please feel free to e-mail or text me — I promise to use proper etiquette when responding.



Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at