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8 Phone Etiquette Tips for the Modern Gentleman

Posted on September 18 2014

In today's society, it's becoming ever increasingly clear that our lives are being dictated by a humble, small electronic device.  We cannot leave home without it, and panic if we misplace it. It commands our attention, tells us our schedule for the day, directs us and alerts us. We live by our phones, and day by day we're finding more and more social corruptions at the hands of our phones.

 

We know this, and we do need our phones to function in the world today, but perhaps we can improve ourselves in how we deal with others in the presence of our phones. That is, to simply place more importance on fellow people, rather than our phone. 

Let's get into it, and hopefully we can learn to command more respect, by imparting it unto others. 

 

The Tips

i. A Formal Affair | When we sit down to a formal meal, such as dinner in a restaurant or with someone new, leave our phone silenced and in our pockets or bags. The last thing we want to do in such a formal setting is leave it face up on the table, prepped for distracting and disrespectful alerts every five minutes. 

ii. The Stealth Silencer | Sometimes we will find ourselves in less formal meal situations and you may find your phone on the table - this is of course generally acceptable for casual lunches with long time friends or family, however should the phone ring or vibrate in mid conversation, try this simple yet very effective trick – without breaking eye contact, reach down and silence your phone (typically by pressing the power button once on devices such as the iPhone). Your meal partner will be nothing short of in awe at the display of supreme confidence, concentration and respect you have just shown them. Believe me, it works especially well if you happen to be on a date (but then your phone should be no where near the table now should it Gentlemen).

iii. End Calls for Transactions | End or pause a phone call when dealing with staff, this is a no brainer. For example if you’re approaching a cashier to pay for your espresso, show respect to the man or woman serving you by giving them your undivided attention. A simple “hold on a moment please while I just pay for something” is enough.

iv. Family Time | When it’s your dedicated family time, such as immediately after dinner, many of us will be guilty of hastily reaching for our phone. It can wait. Even the simple act of sitting silently at the dinner table after a meal shows you care about the people around you, and also trains your self control and discipline. So leave it in another room, and hang around a little longer after meals, and rekindle the art of conversation. 

v. Bedside Manners | How often do we go to sleep cradling our phones and checking our social pages and emails? Too often, especially when we share a bed with our wives or girlfriends. It’s all too easy a habit to create, let’s break it. When a man goes to bed, leave the phone in another room or in a drawer. It immediately shows respect and love to your partner and also has the added benefit of helping you get a better nights sleep, as your face isn’t subject to the artificial light emitted by the phone. Also, of course, there are far better things to be doing in bed with your lady...

vi. Stranger Danger | When in close proximity to others, strangers or not, don’t take a call. I’m talking about any space such as a lift, bathroom, restaurant or public transport. No one wants to hear your phone call, and it can almost always wait. 

vii. Head Down Thumbs Up | Let's avoid texting or using our phones in the typical head down fashion when in the immediate company of others. When hanging out, waiting for others, in a cab. Typically once a group reaches four or more, it becomes more acceptable, but sometimes it will pay to be the man observing the world around him.

viii. Blind Walker | Finally, don’t be a walking death trap. When utilising our legs, use our eyes as well - don’t text or do anything that requires concentration. There is nothing Gallantoro about a man walking into a street lamp. Stop, move to the side, get the job done and proceed with purpose.

"What is this guy looking at, the world!?"

In Summation

Look Gents, most of this is just our habits urging us to check for new messages and such, but there is so much more to life and we simply don’t have to do it as often as we do. Let's add a little Christopher Nolan to our lives - he is an astonishing director who somehow gets through every day and achieves incomprehensible accomplishments without ever having owned a cell phone.

Common sense rules. What you find inconsiderate by others, will usually be found inconsiderate by others about you, so be aware, take note and let's be better than the rest.

In a world so dominated by a dependence on phones, your new actions will cast you as a shining beacon of light, in the dark abyss of night.

-rbjs


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