Whether it’s holiday gatherings, birthday celebrations, watch parties — of the sports or award show variety — or just dinner with friends, you likely find yourself hanging out with others several times throughout the year. The one constant, of course, is the plus one you bring to all of them: your phone. And while your phone deserves your attention from time to time, you want to make sure you make actual memories with those around you too. With that in mind, we’ve gathered some helpful phone etiquette tips to keep you and the device closest to you on your best behavior all year long.
What is phone etiquette, exactly?
Let’s be honest, the word “etiquette” is kinda fancy. Upon reading the phrase “phone etiquette,” one might think it means “always text with your pinky up” or “don’t slide into DMs on Sundays,” but it’s essentially just acceptable phone behavior or “phone manners,” if you will. Of course, phone usage is situational, so these aren’t hard and fast rules. Proper phone etiquette varies depending on where you are and who you’re with. Also, what’s considered appropriate by earlier generations may not be as relevant to those born after 1980. Fortunately, we gathered some pro tips here to keep you up to speed on current phone etiquette. For starters? Don’t read this blog at the dinner table.
Cell phone etiquette 101 for 2024
We’ll start with the phone etiquette basics that apply pretty much anywhere, anytime.
Before calling, consider texting
For many, incoming calls carry unwanted pressure. If you’re getting a call from someone, you may immediately assume something may be wrong. Sending a text allows the recipient to take in the message and gives them time to decide how and when they respond.
Wait a bit before calling back
If the person you’re calling doesn’t answer immediately, it’s best to assume they’re busy and will get back to you as soon as they can. If they see three missed calls from you in the last six minutes, they may think there’s an emergency. Of course, if it actually is an emergency, we recommend following your phone call with a text to make that clear.
To voicemail or not to voicemail
Your parents might still leave entire podcast episodes in your voicemail box but you have the power to break the cycle. Millennials and younger generations have essentially replaced voicemails with text messages, which can provide the gist of the message without fluff. Plus, it’s in writing so the recipient doesn’t have to worry about mishearing or forgetting anything. If you do still opt to leave a voicemail, best to keep it short & sweet with just the important details.
Don’t use speakerphone in public
We realize this should be a no-brainer, but pretty much every time you go to a cafe, airport or grocery store, you end up next to someone who didn’t get the memo. This also goes for music. We know you’re really proud of that playlist but literally zero other people want to hear it unsolicited.
Not answering is not rude
These rules go both ways, so if someone calls you while you’re busy — or you’re just not in a talking mood — don’t feel obligated to pick up the phone. And that goes double for numbers you don’t recognize.
Leave your phone in the pocket while in the bathroom
Look…you do you. Nobody will know, you’ll just have to live with yourself. However, scrolling TikTok on the toilet can actually have an adverse effect on your health,* just saying.
Phone etiquette for gatherings
We’ve covered the basics of phone etiquette for day-to-day use. Now let’s dig into the dos and don’ts of using your phone during dinners, parties and other get-togethers.
Keep the table a no-phone zone
Focus on the convo at hand; your notifications will still be there when you check later. If you’re at a trusted friend or family member’s house, you can even consider leaving your phone in another room.
Consider taking tech breaks
Setting aside a designated time between meals or during commercial breaks for everyone to upload photos, check DMs or go for a new high score on that matching game they’re addicted to can make it easier for everyone to be present during the main event.
Pause to make or take that call
There are exceptions, of course, and you may need to keep your phone on you during some social situations. When you need to make or take that important phone call though, best to step away from the group first.
Check before posting to social media
As the saying goes, “Grid-worthy photos are in the eye of the beholder.” So before you upload a group photo in the middle of wine & cheese night, make sure everyone else is cool with it.
Asking for Wi-Fi passwords is okay…on the DL
Instead of shouting across the room or making it part of your toast, ask the host directly for the Wi-Fi password when they have a moment. They may not want everyone at the party to have access, or may have a reason for keeping their password a closely guarded secret.
Another way to practice proper phone etiquette? Bring yours over to Mint Mobile
Now you know how to be on your best behavior while using your phone, so why not be kind to your phone itself and switch to Mint Mobile? Get premium wireless for just $15/mo** on the nation’s largest 5G network. Just wait until the halftime show is over before you start referring friends.
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