« A civility story about parking | Main | Mindfulness, living in the moment »

Was a cell phone invited to your meeting or dinner?

My parents said it was rude for a store clerk to answer a phone if there was a person waiting at the counter. If a person made the effort to come to the store, he or she deserved first attention. It’s a rule so ingrained that it spills over to other situations.

It’s probably why I cringe when I see a cell phone set down on the table at meetings.

And why I cringe when someone answers a phone call during a meal.

The exceptions
If you are expecting a critical call, set your phone to vibrate. I’ve seen civility extended by someone saying before the meeting or dinner, something like “I wouldn’t have my cell phone on during this get together but my son is on the road.” Or “I’m waiting for a call from a doctor about my mother’s condition.” Something significant, perhaps life and death, about another human being. And when the call came, the person would excuse him or herself and leave the meeting area to take the call.

To take other calls during meals or meetings is truly uncivil. It bespeaks of arrogance…of lack of manners...that you don’t place much value on the people present.

If you forget and the phone rings, turn it off without answering and apologize. I don’t have this down perfectly but I’m trying…..because long after the infraction, I remember who took a disruptive phone call. And I’m offended again.

A very good article from the Cooperative Extension Service, University of Arkansas—
Use common courtesy with cell phone, http://www.uaex.edu/news/february2008/0201cellphone.htm