We all believe that we are practicing good cell phone etiquette when we venture out into the world with our cell phones and our daily mission. It is not uncommon for us to get a little wrapped up in ourselves and violate the basic rules of cell phone etiquette. This can be particularly difficult when we aren’t even sure of the rules when it comes to cell phone etiquette.

Obviously, talking on your cell phone in public places that a quiet environment is paramount is considered quite rude. Libraries, courtrooms, and high-end restaurants are the most obvious, and yet people still believe that they are exempt from this very basic example of cell phone etiquette.

Even more appalling is the basic attention that a cell phone can require. Regardless of where we are or what we are doing, we can be reached, and of course, we can be distracted. Whether we are having a quiet moment with a loved one or a meeting with a potential client, cell phones can quickly drag away our attention. There is little that matches the glaringly obvious communication faux pas as the cell phone that creates the distraction and the answerer who puts their ‘live’ individual on hold.

Cell phones come with voice mail, which is to provide us with the freedom of allowing a computerized voice to take a message for us. This means we are not obligated to take every single call, and of course, if we are busy we can reach the individual when we are through.

Hopefully, most of us have enough basic cell phone etiquette to refrain from answering our cell phones while engaged in excretion activities. Why is it any less appropriate to allow the computerized voice to take a message when we are currently engaged with someone else’s time and attention?

Perhaps this is the basic cell phone etiquette misunderstanding. Cell phones have the capacity to intrude on the value of other people, whether we are sitting in a restaurant talking loudly to an anonymous voice on the other end of the phone, or allowing our boss to interrupt a tender moment with our significant other. The moment our cell phones intrude on the respect of other people, we are guaranteed to be violating basic cell phone etiquette.

Cell phones definitely have their place in our society. However, except checking the caller ID to be assured that it is not a wayward child trying to reach a parent to retrieve them, cell phones need to come with more convenient off switches. Perhaps it would be more prudent to ask people to locate their off switch.