Knowing mobile phone etiquette


Tinky Ningombam

My first mobile phone was the Nokia 3315. It was not only a phone, it was a primitive tool carved from the very rocks of Inferno. It was an indestructible lump of hardware that could have survive through any calamity. It was like a chunk of Valyrian steel that can sink any ship with just a blow. (All Ye Games of Thrones’ fans can understand what I mean!). No one could throw that piece of monstrosity on a wall and still have the wall standing. I look at my new Sony Xperia and in my mind, comes the image of the ghosts of phones past. Especially my 3315, I miss that old tool, I really do.

A lot has changed since then. Mobile-phones have become our third arm. Everybody NEEDS a mobile phone now. Everyone needs to be accessible, connected. But does everyone KNOW how to use a mobile phone? I honestly doubt. And by use, I don’t mean how to type your message or prolong the beep. People do not have much clue about phone etiquettes and if they do, very few respect them.

How hard can it be? I have a phone, I dial people, I talk. But what we do not know is how annoying it can be to other people to hear us talk or to be privy to a conversation that they have no interest in. Why should a stranger be interested in how much money you make? Why should you divulge information of all your high connections?  I normally do not like people overhearing my conversations nor do I like having long conversations on my mobile phone but everyone has their quips and a lot of them can actually be a tad irritating for the people around you.

So today, let us talk about the top ten annoying things mobile-phone users do –

1. Talking loud in an otherwise quiet and small public place

Especially the ones talking into a blue tooth device or a hands-free so that he/she doesn’t know actually how loud they are while talking. But generally, there are some people who genuinely increase the volume of their voice the moment they start talking into the phone. How many times have you seen people yelling in their phone out loud? And for the first 10 minutes all you can hear are they saying Hello. And to top that, he/she will move around trying to catch the “network”, which doesn’t make quite a good picture. Blame it on the network or blame it on your hoarse sounding voice, people should not underestimate the speaker technology of the mobile phones. Screaming normally doesn’t solve a network problem.

2. Receiving a call in the middle of a meeting with someone

One of the most annoying things to happen in a meeting is when the self-important person before you decides to answer his/her phone without excusing himself. Worse is when you two are the only people in the meeting. It is impolite to answer a call when someone is still in conversation with you or is sitting with you to have the conversation. Either we excuse ourselves and explain the importance of that call to the person across you or we send the call to voicemail. However, all of us have had situations where we are eager to check our phones while in a meeting, either to show the other person that we are a great multi tasker, that we get a hundred important messages every minute or just that we are bored of the person who is sitting across you. In all circumstances, it is not only unpleasant but downright rude to give preference to whoever/ whatever is on your phone when you have made your appointment with someone in front of you.

3. Having an inappropriate/loud ring-tone in the middle of a public gathering –

Do not embarrass yourself by having an inappropriate ring-tone ring loudly at the wrong time. We have been there, done that. Normally keep an option to change your ring volume and ringtone when entering places that are closed and public – temples, places of worship, hospitals, waiting rooms, auditoriums, meetings, libraries, museums, funerals, weddings, live performances, and cinema halls. And if it does happen once, know to shut off a ringing phone so it doesn’t happen again.

4. Deliberately talking about your big business plans so that people around you listen

Many people forget that they are not in their private quarters that they start discussing their business on the streets or the corner shop. Sometimes, these conversations are deliberate and people start making claims of how much money they want to invest to how much shares they have bought when they are within ear-shot of a crowd. Kindly avoid this attention hoarding, no-one believes in these hoaxes now anyway.

5.Talking in the public toilet – Just because it’s plain weird!

6. Talking and driving your car

Endangering your life and the lives of the people on the street is just dumb. People should just become smarter. If you really need to take the call, stop your vehicle and attend to the call. Simple.

7. Screaming into your phone before and after flight  take-offs

If I got a penny for every time this happens to me. Especially the flights landing in Imphal.  People somehow can get too excited reaching home and try to dial in when firstly they are not allowed and they keep on having the conversation even after the hostesses repeatedly tells them to switch off. Not knowing that in space like an aircraft their voluminous voice echoes across.

8. Speaking on your phone while in a queue and making the shopkeeper wait for you to pay him money

Treating the salesman like one’s own personal butler. Many a times, the all-important person will stall the rest of the people in the queue as he struggles to take out his wallet/count money/pick up change while his he is on the phone, completely oblivious to the fact that there are others with more important things to do than wait in line for him to finish.

9. Typing on your mobile-phone really loud

Have you had the misfortune to travel with someone who types on his mobile phone so hard that you start to have a head-ache? Yes, I am talking about those incessant random text-ers , the Whatsappers who unfortunately keep the text noise on so that every beep, beep or click, click magnifies a million times in your head. Yes, please don’t do that!

10. Putting your conversation on loudspeaker

Lastly, lastly , lastly… please ask the people around you if they want to join your conversation on a conference or else please do stay away from the LOUDspeaker buttons. People generally do not find your amusing and interesting conversation about other people’s love lives quite amusing. Unless you are talking to Liam Neeson, in which case, you can call in the whole world on a conference call, even record the conversation.

So with that said, I hope you will think twice before committing these cardinal sins in the future. You do not want people to remember you as the annoying person with the phone do you?


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