Coupla cellphone "ettiquette" questions

I am not a “heavy” user of my cellphone. It is not uncommon for me to not have my phone with me, or for it to run out of charge. I’m seeking input primarily from folk who like to have their phones with them and available most of the time, and who tend to check/use them rather regularly.

First - are there times/places you DO NOT check your phone? Like if you go to friends’/family’s house for a meal or drinks? My personal thought is that if you are spending a limited period of time with people you like, and if you don’t have some plans you need to coordinate for immediately after, that you either excuse yourself and check your phone, or wait til you leave to just check in with what is going on on-line.

Second, if you are the type of person who check/type on your phone every time it signals, what are your thoughts when you choose NOT to respond to a text? I find my emotions mixed when I send a text to someone whom I KNOW checks their phone often - maybe asking a question, maybe just checking in, and hours pass without them even responding w/ a “k”, “busy - get back to you later,” “:D”, etc.

I’m not a heavy user at all - I have a pay-as-you-go flip phone. But my mom and my inlaws are in their mid-80s, so if it rings, I’ll look to see who’s calling. More often than not, I end up silencing the ring on a junk caller.

Of course, I didn’t even own a cell phone till I was in my 50s, so being constantly in touch isn’t a major element of my life. I remember the olden days before answering machines were invented! :smiley:

Let’s say that where you would feel funny pulling out a paperback book from your pocket and starting to read it, you should not whip out a telephone. That definitely includes formal and semi-formal social settings, as well as spending time with friends unless by mutual agreement such things are OK with your crew.

If you are a doctor or fireman on call, then certainly you may politely excuse yourself and take care of business.

Unless your correspondent is otherwise required to respond promptly, I would not get excited for at least 24 hours or more. People are busy, you know.

At first I would respond as soon as the situation allowed, socially or safety-wise, but I’ve found some people would take advantage of me and become de-facto pests. In turn, I felt I had to “train” certain people to the reality that I’ll get back to them when I’m damned good and ready. Even if I could respond immediately, I would wait. There’s a few leads at work who I gave my # to in good faith in case they really needed to mention something important. Then it got to be a constant stream of frequent and silly requests for updates, and then being pestered seemingly every time a thought popped in their heads. I had to give them the silent ( er ) treatment as I couldn’t get anything done.

I’m like you though, I don’t carry my phone with me unless I’m expecting contact, preferring to have it where I can get to it and check it every now and then. I don’t do idle chitchat in public places.

More often than not, i don’t get back to peeps immediately. Usually it’s a lost or dead phone that’s the reason. My kids go berserk if I don’t respond promptly. They know I am scatterbrained. They just cannot abide it. Of course they always have the phone in their hands or close by. My very young granddaughter ( just 6) already as an iPhone. She plays on it. Takes pix and texts. I dont see it as being any different from her Nabi pad or the DS. It does seems a bit early to me. I ain’t said a word to Son-of-a-wrek about it. Nana has no pull in that matter. So be it.

I only check my phones if they ring or buzz - I may have to respond if it’s work and if it’s my home phone, I’ll look to see who’s calling. If it’s my sister who lives with my mother, I’ll find out if its an emergency and if not , I’ll get back to her later. If it’s my husband or kid, they usually text rather than call, and I will text back a single word - yes, no OK or busy. All of this of course assumes that the people I’m with aren’t on their phones to settle arguments about who held the XYZ record in 1988 or what year a movie came out or …

My phone is always with me, and I check it frequently, but it does not make any sounds. Sounds are rude, not glancing at your phone occasionally.

If I’m at a social event, I’ll glance at it if there’s a lull, or if I go to the bathroom or get a drink. No big deal, and most everyone else I know does the same thing.

I know the Dope skews old and Luddite, but I’m 48 years old and this is normal behavior for my peer group. And I don’t know a single person with a flip phone, and I’m not sure why that seems to be a bragging point around these parts.

I have 30 minutes/texts a month and sometimes don’t use it all.

If I don’t have your name/contact in my phone, I won’t answer your call or text.
If you don’t leave a voicemail, call wasn’t important at all.
If you VM or Textbomb my phone because I don’t respond, your first voicemail or text better be REALLY important to me, not just you!
If you think talking or answering your text is more important that the live social interaction I’ve having with someone right now, we’ll talk about it later, but you won’t like what I have to say.

At a social gathering even with one person, phone on silent
At the movies, phone on silent and vibration off
In a business meeting, phone silent and vibration off

When to check the phone. When I excuse myself to to use the restroom or I lag behind for a moment when changing rooms.
Never, ever check the phone when there’s just a lull in the conversation, even if everyone else is doing it
Never, ever check your phone when waiting for a business appointment. Reading the paper or magazines if fine if they’re provided.

Exception is when you’re waiting a very important call related to a possible emergency. In which case I inform the host/other guest ahead of time that I’m awaiting an important call. Too easy to fake a vibrating phone to get out of a conversation/situation. And yes, the others are thinking that if you don’t let them know beforehand that you’re on call.

We’re raising a generation with the Pavlovian response of “OMG, he/she didn’t answer my call/text, right away! Something’s wrong!” Wean them away from “You’re the most important thing in my life.”, to “I have a life too, I’ll get back to you when I have time and I’m ready.”

I’m a very heavy phone user. If I’m out with friends, I check my phone about every 30 minutes or so during a lull. I ignore most texts, but if a family texts me and asks me to call on a Sunday night, I know it’s serious and they don’t want to chat about the weather.

I text my current dating interest frequently, so I do let him know if I’ll be busy for a couple of hours.

I’m a heavy phone user as well. It’s well known I’m easy to get ahold of. My phone is always on and most always with me. If I’m with people I know well I’ll check a phone call as it rings, it may or may not get answered depending on the person or circumstance. Most people I know will send a follow up text instead of leave a voicemail. Messages will be read(or not depending on read reports) more or less as recieved. They are responded to on a case by case just like the calls.

If I’m in the company of people I don’t know well like a date or at a mixed gathering I’ll silence it without looking at it. Texts will go unread while in the presence of said people. Unusual activity, if the damn thing keeps blowing up, will be checked with apology and the ringer turned off if appropriate.

When I choose not to respond its not usually for longer than a couple hours. Longer than a half day feels rude. If I don’t respond at all that sends a message by itself I think.

Won’t touch internet or social media in any situation that couldn’t be described as waiting or killing time.

Phone calls these days seem to be for urgent things or things that require a timely response. It’s almost like making a demand for attention. It’s not uncommon for me to get or send texts asking if a call can be made.

There are times, regardless of the occasion, when saying, “Excuse me a minute, I have to take this” is understandable. IMHO.

I answer my phone when I’m good and ready, and not before. Usually if it’s a call, I’ll look to see who it is as I have an elderly parent who’s had a couple of quite serious falls so if it’s her, or her careline, I will answer. Otherwise if I’m not expecting a call then I’ll probably not bother. As fro texts, I have to stop and put my reading glasses on before I can do anything about a text so depends where I am and how convenient it might be. And of course, depends if I hear my phone or not. Generally, if I’m out in a social setting with friends, the phone is on silent and will be ignored. I grew up with the idea that such things are rude when one is out in polite company, as the focus should be on the people you’re out with.

I’m a heavy user only in that I always have my phone on me, and use it for work and leisure, so checking emails/Slack and the like is a regular thing.

However, I am socially sensitive and there are many occasions I don’t look at my phone - in a restaurant (unless I’m alone), at the dinner table at home, out socialising with friends.

I just think it’s rude. I don’t see any reason keep pulling out your phone unless you’re a doctor on call or want to know where your Uber has got to.

If someone texts I’ll answer at my leisure. If someone leaves a voicemail I’ll likely pick up quickly as it’s such a rare occurrence, it might be important.

I’m 48, if that matters.

Thanks for the responses, all.

Personally, I think the “check during a lull” is generally a tad rude - with some exceptions (ailing relative, evolving plans for later that day, etc.) But I’m pretty resigned to the fact that a large (growing?) portion of people (of all ages) thinks that appropriate.

I recall one instance that bothered me a bit - and caused me the re-evaluate things a bit. We went on a ski weekend with 2 of our kids and their fiances. One couple was on their phones incessantly. Since we see each other infrequently (living hundreds of miles apart), we thought they could check their phones during the majority of the day that we weren’t together. And their close friends could have understood that they were on a vacation weekend with parents/prospective in-laws. We went out for a nice dinner, and were a little dismayed when in each of the photos we took around the table, one person had their phone in their hand. I assume just a habit, with no ill-will intended. But somewhat unfortunate and rude IMO.

My second question concerned when you send a text to someone whom you KNOW checks and answers their phone very regularly. You can be pretty sure that, unless they are asleep, on a plane, or at a movie or something, they check their phone at least every 30 minutes - if not as soon as it signals. And they tend to respond immediately - even to texts about which they will say, “nothing’s up.” I assume that such folk realize that they are sending a message to the folk whose texts they DO NOT respond to somewhat promptly (within a couple/few hours?) Essentially screening one’s calls.

I tend not to be the most prompt responder to texts. I’m unable to during the majority of my working days, and my personal habits (flaws?) are that I do not always have my phone with me/charged. But I do check my texts/e-mail at least 1x a day, and respond to ones from people who might expect/appreciate a response. If I know your regularly accept calls from folk on relatively mundane topics, if you do not accept mine - even to respond with a placeholder “k” - it is difficult not to think the recipient thinks none too highly of the sender. Not looking for grudges to harbor - just trying to navigate the changing seas of tech-iquette, and assess/re-assess personal relationships.

Maybe part of it is “reading the room”. When out with friends, I know Mike will check his phone every 15 minutes because he tracks the movement of his 16 year old’s phone. Joe is technically always on call, so he checks anytime his phone vibrates. Beth is a Facebook addict and is always closely following some drama. I love them all.

I don’t feel bad answering when my daughter texts, " Dad, I’m making xyz for dinner and halfway through I see I don’t have balsamic vinegar. Know a workaround?" I also don’t feel bad handling my gf’s occasional family/work crisis. Everyone knows her phone stays, muted, in her purse. They text me with questions for her.

As far as I may concerned, if two or more people are assembled for a single purpose, the cell phone is not to be used for anything. Keep it covered.

That also applies to driving and walking. Every cell phone call and message are not that important. I swear, some people must believe in the “cell phone police” who come put you in prison if you don’t answer every call and text right away.

My mother has a medical alert button. The company that manages it knows that I (and 911) are the first people to call. So yes, I keep my phone with me at all times.

As for checking emails and such, I’ll discretely check if I’m out with friends. If there is something I must respond to (very rare) I’ll try to find a private place to do so. I would never make a phone call at the dinner table for instance. That’s just rude.

If I’m hanging out with people who aren’t heavy cell phone users, then I’d probably feel weird about whipping out my phone, lull or no lull. But if I’m hanging out with people who are constantly looking into their phone, then I’d take that as permission that it is okay to look into my phone too. In other words, I think what’s rude or not is totally dependent on the attitudes of the people involved and what we’re doing. Like, I would never check my phone in the midst of a boisterous, entertaining dinner conversation. But if half the group has exited to the restroom and the other half is talking about a topic I don’t particularly care for, then I’ll probably check the news headlines on my phone.

I’m not a huge texter and I don’t get a lot of texts from people. Most of the texts I get are time-sensitive (like, someone looking for directions to my house or someone asking what time we’re supposed to meet), so I typically respond ASAP. But if someone is just sending me a bunch of cute baby photos? I don’t usually respond, and if I do, it’s not immediate.

BTW, I’ve conditioned myself to check the phone when I am on the bus, twice a day going to and coming from work. Other than that, I don’t check it at all.

People who have to be on the phone in my checkout line drive me bonkers. They have to be called to the line, told to put their items on the counter, asked for payment two or three times, and don’t even acknowledge me! What is so important that it can’t wait for two minutes?

I used to think of them as “plonkee monkees” until my sister said they remind her of turkeys pecking at the ground all the time. That’s it: I call them plurkey turkeys.