It never fails, I am either on the phone with someone or trying to carry on a face to face conversation and I am met with someone breaking up the conversation to finish sending a text message. We've all been there and in all likeliness, we have had an important text message to finish and cut someone else off in the process. But that is only the beginning of the tale.

We are all increasingly dependent on our cell phones. They provide us with seamless connectivity, endless communication via social media and text messaging, news, sports scores and a plethora of information and entertainment. This reliance – or addiction rather – has changed the way we socialize and act in a public environment.

Since I work some pretty odd hours at times, my schedule doesn't exactly match up with a lot of my friends' and I tend to head out to dinner alone. Without the distraction of company, the irritating and impolite habits of people are amplified, tenfold. I have composed a list of what to do with your cell phone while out to eat with family, friends or co-workers.

Turn your ringer to silent, enable vibrate

It's easy to forget that you and your group are not the only ones in a restaurant, especially if the group is large. If the group is of ten or more people, they can generally be pretty loud. Adding an ongoing ringer or text tone to the background noise can and will quickly frustrate other guests.

Excuse yourself from the table

Answering a phone call at the table is an obvious no-no. It is rude to both the caller, the people you are dining with, and others in the restaurant. If you are out eating with a significant other, answering a phone call at the table can create tension and put your significant other in an awkward position. If you must take the call, excuse yourself from the table and take the call outside or to the bathroom.

Hold off on text messages

Just like answering a call, text messaging at the table is frustrating and unsettling for anyone not involved in the conversation. It causes some awkward silences and makes for a hard face-to-face conversation. Answering a text message or two is fine, but if you are going to text the entire time, you might as well be eating alone.

Games are for waiting rooms, not the dinner table

Games are more available now than ever, and one of the easiest ways to pass the time ... when you're alone. Playing Angry Birds while waiting on your food doesn't sound like a bad idea. But when you have several people at the table carrying on a conversation, your brooding over getting two stars or missing the last pig of the level is just plain annoying. Save those addicting games and high score battles for the waiting room at the doctor's office or during a flight layover.

Wait to check sports scores, Twitter, Facebook

This is not too different from excessive texting, but can also be extremely frustrating for the people you are dining with. Not everyone cares for the sports you are interested in and it's pretty embarrassing when someone at your table keeps getting angry or applauding the latest LeBron James blunder. While checking Twitter or Facebook isn't usually as intense as an upset sports fan, it will disconnect you from your party. The scores, Facebook and Twitter will all be there when you get home.

Save your own music for the car or home

This one just blows my mind. Why someone would be inclined to play their own music aloud from their cell phone while in a restaurant is beyond me. It is extremely rude and nobody wants to hear your music, especially in a quiet setting. If you want to listen to your own soundtrack, they do make headphones for that. This has only happened to me a few times, but that's more than enough.

I know these etiquette tips may seem obvious to some, but you would be surprised at how rude people can be with their cell phones, particularly at the dinner table. Every time I go out to eat – with or without friends – I find at least one person (usually more) not following some basic table etiquette. Sometimes, one out of the group I'm with is the culprit.

Next time you go out for a bite to eat, pay attention to how many people have their noses buried. You'll be surprised at how many tables have several people pecking away at their keyboards and touchscreens. Be mindful of your dinner friends and other guests. Remember these tips and try not to be that guy (or gal).

Image via NY Daily News

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Comments & discussions  

22 Reactions to this post

"Have you ever been interrupted at dinner by someone's cell phone?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
Thanks for your participation! :)

Mike West
Mike West A recent study shows that 1 out of 1 Brads thought about this poll.
Brad Swenson
Brad Swenson Who hasn't? Something tells me almost no thought wen't into this poll.
Charles Shell
Charles Shell yeah xD
Zhang Yang
Zhang Yang yes of course
Nick Koval
Nick Koval Not in our family phones off or they get smashed....
Marti Ruiz
Marti Ruiz I was interrup on barhroom
Sunny Patel
Sunny Patel Nope...no one ever calls me ...(insert forever alone Guy here)
Rick Jackson
Rick Jackson Remember that commercial from the Time-Life series about the old west - John Wesley Hardin, a gunfighter so mean he once shot a man for snoring? Imagine what he'd do to the guy on the cellphone! You should see my smile it would light up your life!
Kalob Martinez
Kalob Martinez Omg i HATE it when people do that!
Nuno Terceiro
Nuno Terceiro Those rules shouldn't be mealtime only! I can think of a bunch of situations where using a cell phone is really annoying and those rules would still apply. Anyhow, this is a great article and they're very simple rules to follow! It's disgusting seeing grown up people behaving like kids with a cell phone in their hands. Politeness FTW :D
Antony Guan
Antony Guan that's funny. has that ever happened to u?
Antony Guan
Antony Guan whats up
Sabina Krasnov
Sabina Krasnov My kids cell phone all the time
Zach Ortstadt
Zach Ortstadt It's always on vibrate and most of the time I text. Same with most people I know.
Todd Donna
Todd Donna No but my biggest pet peeve is when someone answers their cell phone while at the theatre I mean come on have some respect people
Jon Jerico Calanio
Jon Jerico Calanio @Mark: I use my phone to watch movies, play games and access the net. Maybe the term "phone" is irrelevant these days, with all those crazy features crammed into one device.
Mark Gittens
Mark Gittens People still use their phones to talk?
Darryl Mouzone
Darryl Mouzone Yes and it's incredibly annoying. And I love it that while that person is on the phone you're pretty much invisible.
Jon Jerico Calanio
Jon Jerico Calanio Been putting my phone on vibrate since I bought it off the store. :3
Nichole Maldonado
Nichole Maldonado my moms phone went off in church once :
Wes Walker
Wes Walker Yes it makes me wanna punch a b*%ch......
Hansel Starley
Hansel Starley I knew this girl that kept checking her phone during our first date. I wanted to die.

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