Smartphone etiquette

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Recently on Facebook people were passing around this post showing a stack of smartphones in the middle of a restaurant table. The caption suggested having everyone at the table stack their phones and that the first person to reach for hers has to pay the whole tab. I thought this was an awesome suggestion!

You have to figure these little gadgets pretty  much rule our lives, but they do that in a way so we don’t have to consult them every single second. There are little beeps and alerts to get us on our way to our next engagement. They let us know when new emails arrive and of course ring when calls come in. What it comes down to is we need to have discipline and remember our manners when our phones are constantly beeping and twittering at us.

So here are some smartphone etiquette suggestions from me and from the great Internet:

  • When you set a meeting with someone, be fully present during that time and do not interact with your phone
  • When in a face-to-face conversation with someone, ignore all the beeps, alerts and vibrations until your conversation is over
  • When you attend a group meeting at work, turn your phone on silent and don’t leave it on the table so the vibrations won’t disturb everyone
  • If you need to look up something to add to the meeting or conversation, do so and then put the phone aside again. Don’t use the opportunity to check texts and emails.
  • Remove your Bluetooth during face-to-face conversations
  • Don’t be a loud talker, people around you are not interested in what you have to say to the person at the other end of the connection
  • Your ringtone is a reflection upon you, avoid something obnoxious or offensive
  • Take your time when typing and don’t send any text, email, IM, etc. with typos in it
  • Response times:
    • Texts: this is such an immediate communication vehicle that it seems like for texting-lovers a response should come within 2-4 hours
    • Emails: this is a little more in-depth, but still quick and convenient so it’s probably good to respond within 12-24 hours with at least an “I’m looking into this” response
    • Voicemail: If you are the old gal working in a crowd of 27-year-olds like I am, you’ll find that voicemail is not so highly used anymore. Regardless, if you get a voicemail it’s great to respond within 24 hours.

It pretty much comes down to general politeness. Disengage from your device so you can focus your attention on the people you’ve agreed to spend your time. The meeting invites, texts, emails, tweets, Facebook statuses, Instagram posts and voicemails that come up don’t take precedence over good ol’ face-to-face interaction.

About the author


Is a west coast gal who has settled down in Colorado. She loves to write, cook and play outdoors. If you don’t find her at work, she’ll probably be out riding her bicycle, at the pool with her kids or curled up on her couch with her face buried in a book.

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