National Cell Phone Courtesy Month during July encourages us to evaluate our cellular habits and consider others before we reach for our phone.

Our phones have become an integral part of our lives. We schedule events, organize shopping lists, order birthday presents and communicate all from this one, small device. Do we even make a phone call any more?

Phone courtesy has always been in fashion, but when they became smart, it seems we lost a few brain cells.  National Cell Phone Courtesy Month strives to bring polite phone usage back in style.

Dos and Don’ts
  • Silent the phone whenever you’re spending time with anyone. That includes work, a meal, meeting or with family. If you are attending a performance of any kind, turn the phone off. There are exceptions to this rule for medical professionals or other expectant emergency situations.
  • Rude Do not expect to be waited on if you are on your phone. There is nothing as rude as being on your phone and pointing at people to come wait on you.
  • Hidden phones are forgotten phones. We pay attention to the people in the room, the performance, or the meeting. It’s also a signal to the people we are with that they are important to us.
  • Step away if you do need to take a call. No one needs to hear your conversation while trying to enjoy a meal for two.
  • Shhh. Monitor the volume of your voice. Even when you step away, voices carry.
  • Pause before sending emails, texts or social media posts. Consider the content, especially if it is posted in haste. Ask yourself the following questions. Sometimes just the need to ask will be all the answer you need before deleting the comment or text.
    • Will I regret sending this later?
    • Am I angry?
    • Will this hurt someone?
    • Is this appropriate?
    • Will this affect my job or relationship?
  • Don’t use your phone and drive. Many states prohibit cellular use or limit it to hands-free only. Any message can wait until you arrive at your destination. If it truly is urgent, pull to a safe stopping area to receive the message or call.
  • Don’t let your mobile device become a social hindrance. We often look to our phone for social engagement when we don’t know what else to do. Meet new people when you are in a new circle of people and begin networking with the people near you. Expand your social circle face to face and broaden the world around you.


In 2002, Jacqueline Whitmore, a Palm Beach, Florida manners expert, created National Cell Phone Courtesy Month with the help of Sprint to increase phone etiquette.

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Our phones are tools. They shouldn’t replace every social context in our lives. Practice a little courtesy and gain improved relationships everywhere you go. Encourage your friends and families to join you throughout the month. Use #CellPhoneCourtesyMonth to share on social media.

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