A recent report indicated that 95 percent of Americans now own a cell phone of some kind. That did not include desktop or laptop computers, tablet computers or e-reader devices. Could we survive without our mobile phone? Most of us would likely say “No way.”
If that is our response, could we improve the effective uses of the cell phone and also show greater consideration for others when we are making connections with family, friends, employers, providers and clients?
Speaking on a cell phone makes some of us forget our manners. Consider just a few examples from daily life:
You are in a restaurant for dinner with your family. Just as the server starts to take orders from each of you, a cell phone rings. No, it’s not yours, but it is awfully close. When it is answered, most of the diners could hear every word from the table nearby.
A family member is at an automotive service center, waiting for the family car to be ready for a weekend trip. Others are in the waiting room when a phone rings. No, it’s not your phone, nor is it the manager’s. Another customer answers and proceeds to a lengthy discussion about how long it’s taken the shop to finish the work. That’s followed by what appears to be questions about the judgment that led to this shop for repairs.
When you are at the grocery store, waiting in line to check out, the person in front of you gets a cell phone call. Someone at home is apparently asking for additions at the last minute to the grocery list for the day. An awkward time and a situation not enjoyed by anyone in the area around the checkout lane.
In a staff meeting at work, the boss is outlining plans for the months ahead. He is focused on improving customer relations. Suddenly he is interrupted by a cell phone ringing. And, this time it is your cell phone. You remember instantly that a company rule is that there will be no cell phones in staff meeting.
Since the month of July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, maybe these examples can serve as a reminder that we can still make connections, do our jobs well, benefit from using a cell phone that we cannot do without, while being considerate of those around us.
There are lots of suggestions on various internet sites that can help us improve. We should be courteous to those we are with, watch our language, and avoid talking about personal or confidential matters in a public place. Finally, it’s simple courtesy, basic concern for others, and an effort at more effective communication in our lives.
William H. Baker, Claiborne County native and former Middlesboro resident, may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org