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Respectfully Yours: cell-phone talk

Dear Jacquelyn, While I was sitting in a automotive service department waiting room, a woman sat down next to me. She was on her cell phone, having a long, loud, animated conversation. Me and everyone else in the room could hear every single word of her conversation. Is it not common practice to leave the room when you get a call in a confined space? Do people not realize that they are being intrusive?

Dear Reader,

Some people honestly don’t realize their actions are disrupting and intrusive. As innocent bystanders, many of us have been forced to listen to the chatter of personal conversations. It’s an invasion of our own personal space and peace of mind. That’s the problem. Hard as you try, it’s impossible not to tune out these conversations. Clearly there’s a lack of understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of cell-phone etiquette.

Cell-phone conversations aren’t inherently rude, but all have the potential to become offensive. Because people may feel somewhat anonymous in a crowd of people, they may be under the impression that no one is paying attention to them.

Conversations have a tendency to distract people from what’s happening right in front of them. They fail to recognize that they have a listening audience and they become more engaged in the conversation itself. Unfortunately for their unwilling listeners, they are anything but isolated.

On the flip side, some loud public cell phone offenders enjoy being entertainers. Perhaps their foolish, irritating behavior is because they enjoy being in the conversational limelight. They want to come across as busy and important. They have no issue with sending the message that their conversation is more important than what is going on around them.

I gently remind cell-phone users to move away to an uncrowded area to talk. Keep cell-phone conversations short, quiet, and respectful of others. Show respect not only to whomever you’re talking to on the phone, but also others around you. The golden rule for cell-phone use is to use common sense and common courtesy.

Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2018 Jacquelyn Youst