As a social media editor, I check my smartphone frequently.
I’ve checked it during a long movie (discreetly), at the gym between exercises, and while cooking dinner near a hot stove while holding a sharp knife (not advisable).
But there are times when even social media editors and PR and marketing pros immersed in new technologies need to put the phone away and pay attention to what’s happening in real life.
Unfortunately, it seems those occasions are becoming less common. Studies have shown that smartphones are invading every room in your house—from the bedroom to the bathroom—and a recent study by social dating site Zoosk says one-third of dates end prematurely due to poor cellphone etiquette.
Don’t let those numbers influence your behavior. Rise above the fray. Start with these six occasions in which people, not a smartphone, should hold your attention.
When dining out with friends, a date, or family.
Go ahead, do a quick check-in. But do so politely, perhaps excusing yourself or mentioning that you’ll only be a minute. Then put your phone away.
Checking your phone constantly throughout a meal sends a message: I don’t care about what the people I’m dining with have to say; I’d rather be on my phone. Next time, go out to dinner by yourself with your phone. It’s cheaper and less rude.
During a meeting.
Meeting hosts have more to grapple with than ringers going off. If you’re not using your phone or iPad to take notes, you’re ignoring the meeting that’s taking place. It’s a bad impression and a great way to show your boss you just don’t give a tweet about what he or she has to say.
In the middle of a conversation.
Again, you’re sending the message that you don’t care what the other person has to say. If you have to put out a workplace fire, excuse yourself or let the other person know you’ll just be a moment. But typically there aren’t fires—you’re more into Angry Birds than your friends. Maybe get more interesting friends? Or just accept that your phone is your one true companion.
During a play.
You probably wore jeans, too, didn’t you?
God is watching you. Go ahead, text your friend about how drunk you were last night.
During a funeral.
touching this one—except to say that the 140-character eulogy is not the wave of future.
So prove me wrong. Show people the courtesy they deserve. Instead of laughing at an inside Twitter joke your dinner companion isn’t privy to—actually listen to them. Live-action humor is far funnier anyway.
What are some other occasions in which smartphones are a no-no?
Samantha Hosenkamp is the social media editor at Ragan Communications. You can follow her on Twitter @samhosenkamp, but don’t expect her to tweet you back when she’s dining with friends.