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Adventures in Retirement- Polite Cell Phone Usage

Written by Bill Leavitt. Posted in Featured

Published on February 22, 2017 with No Comments

Cell phones came into common usage during the 1990s, but only a few people had them at first. Now nearly everyone has one. Today, you can expect cell phone users to be as young as five years old to as old as 80 or more. In the early days of cell phones, those who had them were in the minority and they often wanted everyone to know they were important enough to need one. As such, they talked loud to emphasize how important they were.

For those who have recently become cell phone users, it might be worthwhile to think about cell phone etiquette or common courtesy towards others when using a cell phone.

Cell phones work a little like two-way radios, so you don’t get the feedback you would get with a land line. As a result, you can’t hear your voice as well, so you have a tendency to talk louder and/or shout. However, shouting into your phone is irritating to others around you. Etiquette suggests that you should talk in a normal or quiet voice or you should get away from other people.

It is impolite to get in the way of other people. We’ve all seen people stop in the middle of an aisle in a store or on a street corner while talking on a phone. Sometimes they are not aware that they are blocking the way for others. However, you have a responsibility to move out of the way when talking on a phone. It goes without saying that talking and walking are not only an inconvenience to others by getting in their way, but also hazardous because you may step out in front of a car, or trip a person trying to get around you.

Today, no one cares that you have a cell phone. No one wants to hear your conversation. Between the feed-back issue and the need to make everyone think you are important, many cell phone users speak loud enough that everyone around them can hear their personal conversations. I suspect that a person wouldn’t knowingly tell perfect strangers about their finances or sex lives. Don’t make or receive phone calls in church, in meetings, in public places, in movie theaters, etc. Leave the room if you have an urgent call to make or receive.

You won’t learn anything useful by observing the cell phone habits of younger people. Because cell phones are still a bit of a novelty to many people—especially young people—some people do not always exercise politeness with their conversations. Most of the above comments (walking and talking, loud talk, personal conversations everyone can hear, self-importance, etc.) are more typical of younger people (ages 5 to 25). Most adults, especially older ones, have a sense of consideration for others, and are more likely to avoid the bad habits described above.

As mature adults, seniors should set an example for others by moving away from people when they want to conduct a phone conversation, speaking in a normal voice and avoiding personal subjects when within earshot of others. Basically, showing consideration for others is a good general rule to follow.

 

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About Bill Leavitt

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bill Leavitt is a technical writer from Valparaiso. After retiring from a large corporation in Chicago, he did technical writing consulting for many companies. He currently teaches part-time at Purdue University Calumet. You can order Leavitt’s book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by sending $16.65 (includes shipping and sales tax) made payable to Write On Technical Writing, Inc., P.O. Box 132,Valparaiso, IN 46384-0132. Or, visit RetirementLifesGreatestAdventure.com for more information.

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