By Mary Young
Did you know that July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month?
If that sounds like an oxymoron, try to lighten up. You can chuckle, and get
good information on promoting cell phone civility, at www.cellmanners.com.
The rules of common cell phone courtesy are well known but
widely ignored. The challenge for the polite majority is to confront offenders
without being rude ourselves.
One of the most annoying situations is being trapped in a
public place with someone who is carrying on a loud conversation. I’m always
tempted to ask the offender to “say hello for me.”
There’s always the passive aggressive approach – the
“cell glare” – but I find it difficult to get the cell phone user’s
attention so I can glare at them.
It might help to find the positive side. When you look in the
rear view mirror and see the driver talking on the phone, think of it as an
opportunity to practice your defensive driving skills.
Yes, there will always be cell phone abusers, but help is
available. Barbara Pachter, author of the book “The Jerk With The Cell Phone:
A Survival Guide for the Rest of Us,” offers five tips to help people deal
with cell phone jerks politely and powerfully:
1. KEEP YOUR COOL. If you can give a cell phone jerk the
benefit of the doubt, you’re less likely to lose your temper when dealing with
2. BE POLITE AND POWERFUL. Speak up, but be polite. Say
something like, “Can you please lower your voice, your conversation is
3. KEEP YOUR BODY LANGUAGE IN CHECK. You can say “Please”
and “Thank you,” all you want, but if you’re clenching your teeth or
wagging your finger, you’re not being polite and powerful.
4. USE A CPEG CARD. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking
up, hand the person a Cell Phone Etiquette Guideline (CPEG) card that says
something polite and powerful like, “Hi. Can you please put your phone on
vibrate? The ringing is disturbing us.”
5. LET IT GO. If
it’s a minor and passing annoyance, or if you’re concerned for your safety,
let it go. You’ll be less stressed that way.
Mary Young is Associate Editor of the Oahu Island News.