Tech Etiquette 101: Cell Phones and A Must Have Tool

I've been in a predicament, and I'm sure most of you have, when I absolutely had to answer my cell phone at an inappropriate time. It happens. In emergencies, this is okay, but only if you do it with consideration. 

Sometimes we are waiting on a very important phone call. That call comes when we are standing in line at the store to be checked out. There are several ways of handling this while still considering those affected by your conversation (This includes those in the store, the cashier, and the person on the other end of the line.)
Please, make sure that this is truly an important call. Nothing is more annoying than being a cashier and having your current customer chat on the phone while you are trying to decipher who the customer is speaking to. Not only is it rude to the cashier, but also to the other customers in the store. 
1. You can simply remove yourself from the line. When possible, this is by far the most considerate option. 
2. Have your conversation, but when it is your time to be helped by the cashier, either let the person on the phone know you will have to call them back, or put them on hold. 
3. Let your voice mail handle it and return the call at a more convenient time. 
Just remember: Even when you do one of these, still remember the fundamental rules of etiquette. 

In a true emergency, I think the people around you should be understanding. One rule of etiquette that is often forgotten is compassion. Our lives do not follow the rules we set forth. Things happen, and they never seem to be at a convenient time. 


I find it disheartening that the signs above should ever be considered. But, I guess that's the point of these Southern Charm Sundays- spreading some etiquette lessons around. Thanks to my mom for always teaching me these fundamental rules. 

I will share with you some basic cell phone rules. I'm sure your days will go much more smoothly if you just consider others. 

  1. Keep in mind where you are above the conversation you are having. If you are in a quiet restaurant, don't get loud if you have to answer the call. 
  2. When you have to answer the call, try to remove yourself from the location. Step outside or to an area that doesn't have as many people. It is best to keep at least 10 feet from yourself and other patrons.
  3. Turn your phone off when in a theater, wedding, graduation, courthouses, job interview, churches, or anywhere that silence is valued or the audience is focused on an event. Also, be careful while texting in these situations; phones can have very bright and distracting screens. 
  4. Be careful with your ringtone. It is inappropriate to have the latest pop song blaring from your phone while at work, in a professional situation, or other serious situation. Please be sure to use a g-rated ring tone when in public; you never know when there may be little ears around. 
  5.  Lower your voice while talking on the phone- the person on the other end can definitely hear you- no one else wants to. Also, if you are in a public place, avoid discussing personal information.
  6. When leaving a voice mail, keep it short and to the point. I personally will be quicker to get back to you if I know exactly what you need and how to reach you from a simple voice mail. I'm not a fan of talking on the phone, so if you call me and leave me your life story, I am not going to want to have a conversation with you because I don't want to be caught on the phone with a chatty person. 
  7. PLEASE do not text or answer a call while in the midst of a face-to-face conversation. That is just plain RUDE!
  8. Don't forget basic etiquette like saying please and thank you. Sadly, they will go further in today's world than even 10 years ago. 
  9. Establish phone free time in your life. This can be that you turn your phone off while sleeping, eating dinner, doing yoga, or even while watching your favorite television show. My theory is that we would be much less stressed if we did this for just an hour a day. For instance, my husband and I do not have outside conversations during dinner and we do not allow technology in our bedroom. 
  10. This is a lost etiquette rule in general, but I'm going to go ahead and put it out there. If you are on the phone in public, and the conversation turns south, either excuse yourself to a private location or excuse yourself from the phone call. It is inappropriate to have arguments in public. Period- there is simply nothing more childish. 
Since today is cell phone etiquette, I want to share with you a tool I have recently discovered. If you have used this for a while, excuse me- I am quite excited about it. Please don't take this as an advertisement, I just happen to love this service and think it will greatly benefit you! 

Google Voice  is Google's free voice service. By free, I mean free. It is free to all domestic numbers and Canada; the rates are cheap for international calls. 

It is great for a business line. You just set up your account, voice mail, and forwarding number. You can have it set to forward to your cell, home, or even not forward it at all. 

The reason I wanted to make you aware of this is my views on using a personal line for business or vice versa.  I feel this is inappropriate. It will throw people for a loop either way. I understand that there are financial issues in having more than one line, but Google Voice solves that. You can even set up quiet times!

I've thought of other reasons to use Google Voice- It is free, so use it to your advantage. 

  • Have a dedicated number for schools to call. It will get your attention better if it is a different ring. Just make sure it is forwarded, test it, and leave another number for schools as well. 
  • Use it for research contacts, such as researching insurance, utilities, programs, and other things that you may not want to give your actual home number out to. 
  • To collaborate with organizations or planning events.
  • Create a Voice mail Only line for when you don't really want to give out your number like when setting up accounts. 
  • Have family in another area code? Use it so set up a number in theirs to help save on phone costs. 
  • Create vanity numbers for a fun option
  • Use it as a permanent emergency phone number- less to worry about if you ever need to change numbers. 
  • Send text messages
  • Make and Receive Free VoIP Calls with Your Google Voice Number
  • Combine it with Skype so that your number will show up on caller ID
  • Add a voice mail feature to your blog- I'm seriously considering this one since I've had such great responses from my vlogs!
  • Record phone calls (great for businesses or if you are having a conflict)
  • You can even have a transcription of the voice mail sent to your email. 
I hope this information on Google Voice made up for my cell phone no nos!
Do you use Google Voice? Would you like to share a unique use or tip?
Do you have a cell phone pet peeve? I would love to hear it!

Tech Etiquette 101 will run through July. In August, I will be writing about more tradition etiquette and how it relates in today's world. What would you like to see on Southern Charm Sundays? I would also love to have some fellow bloggers to guest post for me. Send me an email at and let me know your idea! 


  1. what a great idea for google voice. I have heard of it, but never thought of using it for those ways. thanks

  2. You are welcome and I hope it helps with your life!