Cell phones are amazing little gadgets, and they can greatly enhance our lives. The problem with them is that if we aren’t careful, they can greatly take over our lives.
Up front I will confess that at this point it seems like my iPhone is an actual appendage. I use it for an alarm clock, e-mails, my calendar, GPS, Pandora and my personal music, I constantly ask Siri how to spell words(like Etiquette) or for the weather forecast, or to figure out for me how much of a tip I should leave at a restaurant. Of course I take pictures or video of everything, and I love to play Angry Birds. It also serves as my watch. So it is safe to say that at any given time, the phone is in my pocket or in my hand. If that isn’t enough, I don’t see well in the dark, and it isn’t unusual for me to use my flashlight app on my phone to find my bed. Seriously! You can call anyone from anywhere, or better yet, you can Facetime or Skype. You can check on the kids, or kids can check on their parents. Some people have their home security systems connected to the phones, some have video camera’s so that they can see their homes when they aren’t home. In this day and age a person can easily develop an unhealthy relationship with a cell phone, so here are two rules of etiquette that will help you establish and maintain healthy relations with your phone;
Rule number 1: Do not talk on the phone while you are with other people.
It is rude to talk on the phone while you are with other people. It is completely disrespectful to do this, or to have a texting conversation with someone while with other people. The people you are with would enjoy being with you and probably want your attention. Your spouse, your date, your friends, your children, why would you talk to someone else while with them? Would you rather be somewhere else? We can only assume as much because this is the disrespectful truth that becomes apparent while you sit across from me and talk to someone else on the phone. If you must take the call, keep it short and apologize to the person you are with. I will actually say to someone “Our time together is important to me, but I must take this call real fast.” Then I keep the phone call very short, I let the caller know that they need to give me the information and I will get back with them later. NOTE; Many times when I tell someone “I’m in the middle of something and need to keep this short”, the caller seems to not hear this. They continue talking as if we have all the time in the world, and it is up to me to repeat “I really need to keep this short” and “I will get back to you in a few minutes.”
Rule number 2: Establish boundaries with your phone.
Make sure you control your phone, and that your phone doesn’t control you. As you may or may not know, I am a self employed. I work in the healing arts, I work as a musician, and also as an artist. Several years ago I began to get texts that would read “I need somebody to cover for me tomorrow night!” The text is sent to not just me, but to a list of others, and the first one to respond, gets the job. Job offers get thrown out all over the place, and they could come at any time of the day or night, and so I keep a pretty close eye on my phone. Since I am totally self employed and do not have a “day job”, it behooves me to keep an eye on my phone. I have a close-knit group of people that I network with, and if one of these people calls, it means money. This is when I say “I’m sorry but I must take this call”. This is when I answer, get the money or information, and then say “I gotta go”. Even still though, when I go out to dinner or lunch with my wife, I am unavailable. When we go to church, I am unavailable. When we go for an afternoon at the beach, I am unavailable. I have to have time without the phone, no matter if I may lose work or not. Even though I am self-employed and work could come to me at any time via the phone, I must have times when I am off and unreachable. My time. I think I’m going to post this and then shut my phone off for the afternoon. It is such a beautiful day!!!
Kyle Shiver is a husband and father, an inspirational speaker, meditation guide, energy healer, musician, and an artist. His audio cd of guided meditations called “Vibrations of the Heart” is available HERE.