Mind your mobile manners, miss

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Community editor and mistress of etiquette Allyssia Alleyne advises on
how to keep from celling yourself short

We’re constantly whipping it out at the dinner table, on the bus and in class. We can’t seem to stop fiddling with it, playing with it or showing it off to lovers and strangers. Yes, we may only be human, but etiquette queen Emily Post would turn in her grave if she witnessed the indecent way many of us flaunt our cell phones.

Mrs. Post may not be around to tell you how to mind your digital P’s and Q’s, but your lovely community editor certainly is. Here’s a handy list to keep you from committing cellular suicide.

• DO put your phone on silent during class. Your GPA will thank you.

• DON’T take a call during a meeting with your boss. If you want to show that you don’t care, save your minutes and give your boss the finger instead.

• DON’T answer texts, BlackBerry messages or – god help you – phone calls during sex or intimate moments unless you want your partner in crime to perform an actual crime.

• DO have a simple, appropriate ring-tone. That girl at the bar won’t be impressed when “The Thong Song” starts playing out of your jacket pocket.

• DON’T have a lengthy conversation on a bus or streetcar. The person next to you doesn’t want to hear about that time you got wasted and kicked a dog last week.

• DO excuse yourself before answering a text message or answering a call if you’re in the middle of a conversation. Anything less is just plain rude.

• DON’T drunk-dial or drunk-text. Opt instead for the traditional drunk-write. When you wake up the next day, you’ll be glad that you didn’t mail that scathing essay to the boy you dated five merry winters ago.

• DO get to the point with your voicemail greeting. This means no humour or wit. You may think you’re Oscar Wilde, but your callers aren’t likely to agree.

• DON’T conceal your weapon at the dinner table. If you and your companion both have cell phones, place them face up on the table. In my experience, you’re less likely to grab it to check your Facebook if the other person has their eyes on you.

• DO feel free to fake getting a text to exit an awkward situation. A fake text from a peer is the new, “I think I hear my mother calling…”

• DON’T feel obliged to tell people your cellphone password. Kindly tell them that you’d prefer to keep it a secret because you’ve had a bad experience in the past. Leave it at that.

• DO lock your phone to avoid pocket dialing. Though you think your friends laugh it off when you text a LOL-ridden apology, they aren’t laughing and your apology is not accepted.

• DON’T put people on hold and forget about them. That’s just not cool.

• DO turn down your phone volume. It’s bad enough that strangers have to hear your part of the conversation. Don’t subject them to what the other person is saying too.

• DO save the earpiece for the road. Nothing says “tool” like a student walking around campus talking into their Bluetooth.

Photo: Allyssia Alleyne

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