Don’t Be Rude! The Ultimate Guide To Phone Etiquette


The widespread poor social skills and the overwhelming digital bad manners are clear indications that once again Ugandans are clueless of what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of mobile etiquette. It’s not   uncommon for two people on a date to completely ignore each other and concentrate on the phones. Nor is it unusual for someone to reveal family secrets in a taxi on a mobile phone. Do you ever pretend to be engaged in a conversation with someone when you’re really checking your phone on the sly? That, my friend, is akin to saying to that person, that someone or something else is more important than whatever you have to say. Therefore we should learn to be careful with the way we use our phones, there is no justification for poor phone etiquette. Here is a user friendly guide to help you improve your phone etiquette.

The Dos

Respect those who are with you. When you’re engaged face-to-face with others, either in a meeting or a conversation, give them your complete and undivided attention. Avoid texting or taking calls. If a call is important, apologise and ask permission before accepting it.

Think about the choice and volume of your ringtone

Keep conversations about money, relationships and work private

Watch where you are walking when texting or emailing on the go

Turn off your phone in important social situations – weddings, church services and at the cinema

– Do keep arguments under wraps. Nobody can hear the person on the other end. All they are aware of is a one-sided screaming match a few feet away.

Pay attention to where you are calling from – the echo of a bathroom is a dead giveaway

Think about being overly affectionate in texts – putting too many kisses – especially if you don’t know the person too well

Wait until the next day to text someone after a first date

Give your friend your phone when tempted to drunken call or text

Consider earphone volume when watching movies or programmes on your tablet on public transport

And The Don’ts

Don’t text and drive. There is no message that is so important.

Don’t tweet in church, don’t write in caps no-one wants to feel like they are being shouted at and don’t text while drunk

Don’t carry on phone conversations when making a transaction in a shop, bank or restaurant

Don’t send more than two texts without a reply – it looks needy

Don’t use your mobile phone or tablet when eating with family

Don’t check your phone constantly when out with someone – give them your full attention

Don’t use acronyms like ‘LOL’, ‘K’, ‘G2G’

Don’t end a relationship by text. Be brave and do it face to face

Don’t overdo it with attention seeking selfies

Don’t use your phone on the toilet

By Leticia Kahubire