Don’t Be Rude! Or How Not to Use a Cellphone.

Don't Be Rude!

by Don Minkoff, LCSW

I only travel by train; where as the rest of my family prefers planes.  I find the pace of riding the train peaceful and relaxing; watching the world go chuga-chuga by at the same time as I am reading and listening to music.  Two years ago while riding the train from Milwaukee to Chicago (The Hiawatha, is a commuter train route between the cities of Milwaukee and Chicago operated by Amtrak) a man was sitting a row in front of me. He was doing business on his cell phone and working on his computer, which was not the problem.  It was how he was doing business.  He was loud and very inconsiderate of the other people in the car.  He was all into stressing how good “I am” even as he was demeaning competitors and co-workers within his company.  In-addition he gossiped about people he worked with, using language and discussing situations, which fortunately there were no children within ear shot.

Don't Be Rude! Or How Not to Use a Cellphone.

The use of phones has come a long way.  Back in the day, you went through an operator to talk with a person if they had a phone.  Now you are able to dial directly to anyone with a phone.  What was once used in the privacy of our homes, or if in public within “a telephone booth,” is now used openly in public. This should imply an awareness of others.  My train buddy seemed to be unaware and unconcerned about how he talked to associates which was in total disregard to me and the other people in the car; making the ride anything but relaxing.  Today, this type of situation is commonplace but the rules of good manners still apply.  Here are some suggestions for being respectful of others when using a phone in a public place:

  • Know where to use and not to use your phone, remembering to turn-off the phone or put the ring tone on silence where appropriate.  One of the articles used for this article reported a survey in which of the 1,035 respondents over half admitted they would happily answer their phone while making a purchase at a shop, 41% while eating at a restaurant and 10% while in a library.
  • Don’t light up your phone in a dark place to check and see if you have received any calls or texts.
  • Stay away from others while talking on the phone.
  • Do not talk too loudly, lower your voice.
  • Be aware of how you are talking on the phone.
  • Do not put the phone on speaker in public.
  • Do not talk about personal details in public.
  • If you are with someone and know you will be expecting to receive or use your cell phone, let the other person know.
  • Do not use your cell phone when driving.  This is the law.

Don’t get me wrong, I am far from against the use of cell phones and other forms of social media.  Cell phones, social media sites, blogging and gaming sites have allowed us to share almost immediately multiple aspects of our lives with anyone.  The benefits they provide allow us to link and communicate with people, access information and a variety of entertainment instantly.

However, as the technology evolves how are we growing as we use the technology?  What are the positive and negative consequences of connecting through technology than relating face to face?  Are we any different at relating, being respectful and compassionate than before the evolution of technology as we know it today?

For this reason I have been writing a series of articles for JFS which focus on both the benefit and detriment of using social media in communicating.  However, today as I conclude all I am asking is Don’t be rude!

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