Inconsiderate people, Part 2: Cell Phones

I know I’m not going to be the first person to bring up this issue. But some of you may not be aware that you are the culprit, so please pay attention. All cell phones come equipped with a silence or vibrate option. The reason this is standard is that there are situations where the ringing of a phone is distracting and inappropriate. For instance, listening to someone give a eulogy at a funeral would not be the best case scenario for your cell phone to be ringing. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that in this case you would either not bring your phone with you or you would think to turn it off. I’ll also give you the benefit of the doubt that maybe the reason you don’t put it on vibrate is that you haven’t figured out how. That doesn’t exactly explain why the ringer must be turned all the way up and you couldn’t at least lower the volume out of courtesy.
This has happened to me many times. I’m sitting in a restaurant and inevitably someone’s cell phone goes off, or maybe during a training or some other occasion where it isn’t critical to have your cell phone next to you. That’s not the worst part, though. Here’s what I don’t understand. I’m at a restaurant enjoying a nice meal and good conversation. Three tables away I hear a cell phone. It not only rings once, it rings twice, and then three times, and then four times. Eventually, it’s picked up by voicemail. The entire restaurant is looking at this one person who is oblivious to the ringing. Why on earth would you just look at the phone and watch it ring as it disrupts everyone else’s conversation? I get that you are deciding whether or not you want to take the call. (And by the way, thank you for not being one of those people who actually answers the call and screams as though the other person is on another planet. That is inconsiderate, but I think most people are beginning to recognize this so it happens less often.)
So instead, they stare at the phone and watch it ring. They haven’t figured out how to hit the button that sends the call to voicemail immediately or they don’t think to simply leave the room. Instead they just stare. The entire restaurant is quiet waiting for the phone to stop ringing. The kicker, though, is that the person has no idea that it disrupted anyone. They are so busy staring that they don’t even realize they’ve offended other people – kind of like the person who cuts you off while driving and isn’t aware they did it. That just adds insult to injury.
Please do me a favor. If you own a cell phone, be responsible enough to learn two main functions: 1) How to silence your phone; and 2) How to send a call to voicemail. If you won’t spend a few minutes learning this, then at the very least, don’t bring your phone with you! Just sayin’.

Visit for Inconsiderate people, Part 1: Airports.

About the author

Robin Lavitch, MA, CPC, is the founder of Surpass Your Goals, a coaching practice for entrepreneurs, executives, tweens, school administrators, and more. Her capacity to connect with audiences, elicit thought-provoking ideas and clarify personal ambitions prepares people to apply that knowledge instantaneously to accelerate their own results in leadership, sales, and time management.

Related Posts