The cell phone is indispensable to our modern lives, but used in the wrong place at the wrong time it can be rude and offensive.
Some municipalities have warnings posted in libraries, concert halls, and movie theatres; these are often known as cell free zones.
Be courteous and observe these posted signs.
Remember, being considerate of those around you is a part of every day life.
It doesn't stop just because there is no posted sign about cell phone use.
Let's say you are at Starbuck's when the phone rings.
Ask yourself when your spouse or significant other calls if, for instance, the whole coffee shop needs to hear your conversation.
As you think about the answer remember privacy is not a bad word.
You can take this same conversation into your car where no one else can hear the conversation, or you can take it outside away from prying ears.
This is the courteous thing to do.
Besides, when we talk to our loved ones human emotions can come into play.
Whether we realize it or not a raised voice often reflects our emotions.
The more animated the conversation gets the more chance you risk of offending someone.
Pay attention to your surroundings.
Taking care of your business needs on the phone is not a license to be rude.
For example, what happens if you get an important call from an executive while you are in line to buy some pants at a department store? You want to take the call, right? If you can see the feet of the person next to you and they are in toe stepping range you are not in a private place.
Also, be aware that if provoked those very feet could be a weapon.
Let's say you take the call anyways.
The stranger, who is also in line to buy a pair of pants, might think you have in effect stepped on their toes.
All they wanted to do was purchase their pants, not witness a private conversation.
By being oblivious you inadvertently put yourself at risk for a confrontation.
The grocery store is no exception.
If you're like most people you go to the grocery store only to forget an important item on your list.
So you make a call and find out whether you are supposed to get some vegetable or staple.
This needed piece of information you learn about in a 20 second conversation.
Unfortunately, while you're on the phone a few people glance over at you and give you a dirty look.
You ignore their facial expressions as you hear about a loved one's visit to the doctor.
You just demonstrated rude behavior.
It doesn't matter if the information the other party is sharing is important.
You still missed your P's and Q's.
You offended someone by being on the phone.
If you choose to ignore them you risk an altercation.
There are increasing incidences of cell phone rage.
You don't know what a stranger is capable of doing.
The smart thing to do is end the call and move away from the offensive party.
Next time you enter a store or a public place look around and figure out a good place to take a call.
With a little thoughtful consideration towards others you can have proper cell phone etiquette and still take care of business on the phone when the need arises.
Also, before going into a public place you might consider putting your phone on vibrator mode that way when a call comes in you'll know about it without omitting electronic bells and whistles.