Ask the grumpies: Smart phone etiquette?

Debbie M asks:

How do I deal with having a smart phone? How to I carry it? Where do I bring it? When do I have it on? I don’t want to turn into one of those people who’s always attached to the phone even when I’m socializing with actual people in person, or watching a movie with them, or attending class with them, etc. And I don’t want to mess it up or be uncomfortable carrying it in my pants pocket. I don’t always have a purse or wear a blazer.

In the interest of full disclosure neither #2 nor I have a smart phone, but we can still opine! And, of course, the grumpy nation knows best.

If it won’t fit in your pocket, get a different phone.  My opinion would be to leave it on vibrate and leave it in your pocket and don’t use it unless you have to.  You can stick it in your bookbag or something.  Everyone’s always losing theirs too, or spending a lot of brain time making sure it isn’t lost, so… ugh.  Why not just put it right next to your wallet and treat it just like your wallet?  Wherever you carry your keys & ID, just carry it in there and ignore it like you ignore those things, is my totally-made-up advice.

#2 tends to leave her flip phone places and then it runs out of batteries and she finds it days later and oops, she’s missed a text or a voice-mail that she got days ago and has to call back and apologize.  That’s kind of bad etiquette too, except the apologizing part.  She does let people know that her DH is MUCH better about keeping his phone on him and energized so he’s a better person to contact.  Sadly, moms wanting to do playdates will dig up her phone number even when she’s only given them DH’s.  *sigh*

Other (better) thoughts?

51 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: Smart phone etiquette?”

  1. Mrs PoP Says:

    Also, depending where you are, feel comfortable leaving it somewhere that you can’t access it. We drop purses and phones on the entry table at my in-laws when we go over to visit. When we’re there, we’re generally focused on them, not our phones.

    If you have it out while out to dinner or lunch (ie it’s uncomfortable to sit while it’s in your pocket like Mr PoP), keep it face down, preferably in airplane mode.

    Speaking of airplane mode, don’t be afraid to use that or sleep (do not disturb) mode liberally. Most of them you can set specific people whose calls would come through that mode (ie for emergencies), but you can block most people from thinking of you as instantly available by using that a lot of the time and responding to calls/texts when you decide you want to.

    • Debbie M Says:

      I’m liking the idea of generally keeping it off except for a few people. But I should still check it and charge it daily!

  2. Miser Mom Says:

    Ohhh, this is going to be good. I don’t have any advice (other than plug it in at the same place every night, as much to make sure you haven’t lost it as to keep it charged). But I’m not that good with my smart phone, and I’m looking forward to seeing what advice other people have.

  3. Steph Says:

    “Wherever you carry your keys & ID, just carry it in there and ignore it like you ignore those things, is my totally-made-up advice.”

    Yup, this is exactly what I do. I also don’t have a smart phone, but my current phone is still a little big to have in my pocket for extended periods of time (if I’m even wearing clothes with pockets). So I use a wristlet as a wallet, and put my phone and keys into it. Then it’s all together and I can attach it to myself when I go out. I carry it alone or throw it into a bigger bag as needed.

    If I’m at my desk at work or in my apartment, I generally forget about the phone unless I’m specifically expecting a call (my family does complain about this, but I’m trying to teach them that email is better unless it’s urgent). I second Miser-Mom’s point about plugging it in every night in the same place. My phone is my alarm, so that place is by my bed, but for smart phones it might be better to plug it in out of reach.

    • Debbie M Says:

      Yes, I also love that quote. I actually found a wristlet that I keep it in to protect it and then keep that in my purse.

    • SP Says:

      I disagree, because it comes in handy much more often than your keys and ID, and if you are going to ignore it, why not just get a dumb phone?

      Also, I read some advice to NOT charge it overnight, because it can be harmful to charge a fully charged battery. I’m not sure if this is true with current battery/phone technology. Google would tell you.

      • Debbie M Says:

        I’ve heard to not overcharge stuff like that, too. Maybe it’s good to start it charging at dinner and then unplug it when it’s done (presumably before bedtime).

  4. sciliz Says:

    Mental checklist before leaving the house becomes “keys, wallet, phone”. I second the advice to have one charger that stays in place for nightly charging. If you have many pairs of stupid girl pants, ignore the advice about pockets (as nothing fits in the mockets of stupid girl pants) and consider getting a case with a clip. It’s a bit of an awful fashion statement, but very easy to remember. If the phone is on you, you can have it set to vibrate always. Also, during coat season you can have it live in a zippered pocket, as long as you aren’t the type to forget coats. But then you need the ringer on, at least sometimes.

    Learn to use the maps app. Sometimes I get lost in areas with no signal, so it’s not a foolproof thing, but I never print out maps and I’m very comfortable finding places with a vague idea of where they are. It’s a nice feature.

    If you do social networks or email interesting people, that’s the stuff that’s hardest to balance with socializing in meat space. I uninstall twitter when it gets too much- you need to spend about as much mental energy deciding which apps to keep as you do de cluttering a PC desktop. Facebook’s stand alone messenger is super annoying. Consider telling people texts cost you per text so they leave you alone.

    Smartphones can impact sleep…
    Use the gradual alarms for morning wakeup- unless you already have a very fancy light clock, this is the only smartphone feature that actually improves quality of life.
    With my kid, electronics have a bedtime of 8pm. I try to go by that too, though for dedicated e reader fans, I hear kindles by default and nooks with an app will emit less of the wakeup light wavelength.

    It’s a Swiss army knife. Some tools are great, some really pathetic versions of the stand alone type. But as someone who has literally bought at least half a dozen cork screws (usually when traveling), having an obscure tool the once every couple of years when you need it is delightful. In related news- I really want a decent swiss army knife.

    • Miser Mom Says:

      Side note, related to the “mockets” observation above. When I was in high school, I became convinced that Freud was oh-so-close about what women want when he saw women staring with envy at men’s crotches. But what he didn’t realize is that what women were thinking was, “Oh, I wish I had *pockets*!”. So close, and yet so far.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Good one, Miser Mom!

        sciliz, my friends already know that my preferred method of communication is e-mail, so that’s good. I’m happy to check Facebook and blog on my laptop rather than my phone.

        I also like your idea to use it for a gradual alarm. I do like maps, but they require a data plan which I don’t currently have. Usually I’m with my boyfriend and so we use his.

      • Ana Says:

        Lol! Seriously, lack of pockets=tool of patriarchy.

    • Rented life Says:

      Seconding the map app. That’s helped us a lot even in our hometown when we need an alternate route (yay construction).

  5. hollyatclubthrifty Says:

    I have a used iPhone4 and have service with Ting. Everyone complains that I never answer it, but I don’t want to be glued to it. My mom will call me for a few days and not get an answer and think we all died. Then she starts messaging me on Facebook.
    I keep it in my purse when I go somewhere and the ringer has never been on. It’s mostly for texting and surfing the web when I’m stuck somewhere waiting on something. I don’t usually bring it with me if we visit friends or see family.

  6. Leigh Says:

    I keep my notifications so that only a phone call from someone in my contacts will actually get the ringer to go. Any other notification is silent. It doesn’t vibrate. It doesn’t make a color change. If my phone makes a noise, I will instantly want to deal with it, which is why that mode is super important!

    I don’t carry it around with me in buildings, but I do when I go outside. It’s nice because it doubles as a pedometer :)

    I always vote wristlets for carrying a smartphone safely, but they aren’t always cheap.

    • Debbie M Says:

      Your notification system sounds great! I didn’t even know that silent and nonvibrating was an option for phones that are on. I really need to learn more about this actual phone part of my phone!

      I already have a pedometer I like (that fits easily in my pocket), so I’m good there.

  7. Linda Says:

    I think everyone has covered the best options already. A wristlet that bundles the phone with the wallet and keys is great since most women’s clothing doesn’t have useful pockets. (And if you’ve found a brand of pants that always offered good pockets, please let us know what it is! Then I can only hope they also have taken into consideration that many of us have quite a difference in our waist and hip measurements, too.)

    I always have my smartphone with me, because I am expected to. My work pays for the phone (or most of the cost of this particular phone) and the voice/data plan because they expect me to be responsive. This doesn’t make me into an a**hole with my smart phone, though. I only check the email occasionally on the weekends, and when I’m out with people the phone is usually not in my hand. I’m not expected to be ALWAYS available, just available within reason. Sometimes I need to be on an airplane, or driving a car and unable to check email (but thank goodness for the bluetooth connection in the car so I can talk hands free, at least).

    Smartphones are awesome. I use lots of apps — for listening to music and podcasts in the car or while traveling; maps (of course!); Notes to make lists for groceries and stuff like that (I have a Note for grocery store, a Note for hardware store, a Note for pharmacy, etc. and just add stuff to each list as I think of it so I can check the list at the store); Evernote is great for web site clips to read later and storing my knitting patterns so I can knit on the go; loyalty program/coupon apps (my CVS card is on my phone, as well as all their coupons); contact lists; calendar; public transit apps for planning transit; reading apps for times I want to read while waiting and don’t have a real book or the ereader with me; calculator; airline apps for mobile boarding passes and updates on flights; dining apps that help me find a restaurant; community apps like Nextdoor for keeping in touch with stuff in the neighborhood; mobile banking apps for quick transactions…

    I LOVE my smartphone. It’s about much more than Twitter or Facebook, people! It’s a mobile computing device so you can get information to organize your life. Why do so many people hate smartphones? I used to carry a HUGE planner with my calendar, task list, and contacts. Now I have all of that in my phone PLUS so many other things that help me navigate the world.

    • the frugal ecologist Says:

      Mine has definitely made my life easier/better too. Things I use a lot are notes (running lists of baby milestone, questions of ask pediatrician, house projects, grocery etc; camera with easy way to share photos (local camera store has an app to easily printed t photos); e-books, audio books, podcasts (love podcasts!); passbook to keep track of all loyalty cards (airline, Cvs etc), and calendar (work plus shared family, doctors etc). I love the app Pocket for saving and reading longer articles at a later time.

      • Linda Says:

        Oh, right! How could I forget the camera!? I use it all the time. Need to remember something that would take a lot of time to write up in notes? Take a photo of it! I keep a photo of my license plate on my phone, too, so I can remember it when parking lots/meters want that info.

      • xykademiqz Says:

        Yes yes yes on taking pics of stuff rather than taking notes! I do it all the time.

        (My iPhone 4s doesn’t have the world’s greatest camera though if people are into taking really nice pics. Android phones and newer iPhones are better in that regard.)

    • Debbie M Says:

      I got burned last time I fell in love with a personal electronic device (a Revo, from back in the Palm Pilot days). I mostly used spreadsheets for everything. I had a price book. I had notes on sizes of things (like my house’s A/C filters and pants sizes for different companies). I had a wish list of things I want to buy but not until I find the right deal. I had a list of books I already owned in certain categories and movies I already owned so I wouldn’t accidentally re-buy them. But then I walked home from work in torrential rains (because the city was too flooded for the buses to run) and my toy was ruined. And they were no longer made. I found one second-hand and had the back-up on my computer and all was good until it broke. Modern devices have focused more on other people’s data (which is awesome) than one’s own data (which I still want), and terrible input mechanisms–like hard-to-manage cutting and pasting–make me not love modern phones as much as I should.

      Now I’m chicken to rely on the phone for so many things again, like maps, coupons, books, calendars, camera. Ugh, I clearly need to get over that. Knitting patterns! Calculator! Airline aps! Podcasts! Camera–for useful stuff, not just pretty stuff! It’s pretty amusing to watch classmates in my Spanish class pull out their phones when the teacher creates a particularly useful chart or something.

      For pants, I recommend LL Bean. The front pockets are deep, unlike most other pants (except for the low-waist ones, which don’t really have enough room for deep pockets). And they do understand that some women actually do have smaller waists than hips! It’s scary to order things online, but a friend of mine will actually deliberately order multiple sizes knowing she is going to return most (or all) of the items (for free).

  8. the frugal ecologist Says:

    Mine is pretty much always on but set to vibrate rather than ring or beep. I don’t carry a purse but have a larger wallet, so when I go out I put it in the wallet or if I am carrying my backpack it goes in there. At home I *try * to keep it plugged into charger which lives in kitchen.

    I turn off all push notifications so the only time it vibrates is when I have a call or text (no email alerts). Mrs. PoP’s tip about numbers that ring through airplane mode & Leighs tip about having only certain numbers alert you sound great – I will have to figure out how to set that up.

    I have an iPhone 4s and use airvoice wireless (att mnvo). My bills are $10 a month, occasionally $20. I am not a big phone user (talk less than 200 min/month) and rarely use data (but a big user of WiFi which is available most places I go).

    • Contingent Cassandra Says:

      Thanks for the mention of airvoice. I’m in the process of buying a smartphone (unlocked Samsung G5 mini on its way from Amazon), and was planning on using Cricket wireless, but airvoice sounds like a better place to start, at least until I figure out how I use the thing (I, too, can probably substitue WiFi for data in most cases, since the main places I’ll use the thing — home, campus, church — have WiFi).

  9. Leah Says:

    Moms seem to be more comfortable contacting other moms. Weird social thing.

    Re: the phone — airplane mode and vibrate is awesome. Agree that one should turn off all push notifications. I use the phone in my time and place and not someone else’s.

  10. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    (1) Don’t become the antisocial f*ckebagge who shouts into your phone in public places.

    (2) Make sure you zealously allocate genuinely phone-free time to focus on interacting with your loved ones.

    • Debbie M Says:

      No worries. At worst, I am an asocial f*ckebagge who holes up at home.

      The worst: “Hello? Hello?” while looking at me but really talking to the person on the other end of your Borg phone.

  11. Katherine Says:

    My husband and I just got smartphones this week (somewhat reluctantly). I don’t think we’ll treat them much differently than we did our old dumbphones. We don’t have data. I’m planning on just keeping the phone in my purse, and I don’t have any apps on it yet.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      what convinced you to switch to smartphones?

      • Katherine Says:

        My husband’s dumb phone (>5 years old) started to die, so he was going to have to get something new anyway. We’d been paying $70/month (after taxes and a university discount) for our two dumbphones, and I didn’t have any service in my basement office. My university took away the office phones because everyone has cell phones, so I was basically unreachable during the day.

        I had read rave reviews of Republic Wireless on multiple PF blogs. We’re now paying <$25/month including taxes, and I have service in my office (Yay!!). We had to buy the phones, but we got the cheaper option and they'll pay for themselves in less than a year. So far we're happy with the new phones, aside from my husband's general curmudgeonliness about anything new and different.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        that’s probably what we’ll end up doing– as soon as one of our phones dies in earnest

        though I don’t know if it will be Republic or something else

  12. xykademiqz Says:

    I always wear pants, so it’s keys-right pocket, phone- left pocket; I do the pocket check before going anywhere. I am still on iPhone 4s because it fits in the pocket. Newer phones are too big for my taste. [Men’s jeans have deeper pockets — my son’s Wrangler’s have pockets down to mid-thigh.]

    My phone is also always on vibrate. I check email constantly and text a fair bit with both Eldest and DH, because neither is a talker (teens generally text, don’t talk). The family will sometimes go as far as to text each other when on different floors in the house (Eldest in his room, perhaps with gf, I text to get them to come down to eat), although that is probably not the best etiquette.

    DH and Eldests have Android (Eldest has no data/wifi only), DH is switching back to iPhone as he hasn’t been happy. We have a charging hub at the home office for our many iPads and phones.

    What can I say? I love my phone dearly; i’s smarter than me. I use google maps and navigation when I travel (awesome, but drains the battery; btw, I have a charger in the car), use the calendar, use the TurboScan scanner app (best app ever), shazam. Occasionally I use spotify and amazon prime instant video apps. I should probably use the airplane or night mode more liberally.

    One tip: get multiple chargers. I have one in the office, one at home, and one for travel (hot pink one, in fact). Small investment for a great peace of mind.

    • Debbie M Says:

      It’s also great for when you decide to split up someplace like shopping or some kind of festival to help you find each other again later if necessary.

      Thanks for the advice on the scanner ap and multiple chargers.

    • notofgeneralinterest2 Says:

      I second everything xykademiqz says: iPhone 4, use for navigation, keep on vibrate instead of ringing, multiple chargers and a home charging hub. Texting. Taking pictures. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, so they’re on the iPhone, and have a scanner app but haven’t had much luck with it. But I never have the phone out when family members are around or in social interactions.

  13. middle class Says:

    I second buying a wristlet. It’s handy when you don’t want to carry a purse but just need some cash, credit/debit cards, ID and phone. The one I have is very pretty but it’s actually hard to close when my smartphone is inside, so any suggestions for good ones are appreciated.

    I don’t think having a smartphone is as intrusive if you don’t use Twitter or Facebook. I check emails, read blogs and play word games way too often but I don’t have a constant feed of updates/news going on. And I’ve developed a bad habit of looking at my phone during light conversations with family members. However, in a social setting, I only check it once in a while and don’t respond unless it’s urgent. I also leave it on silent/airplane mode.

    I was anti-smartphone for a while, but I love having the navigation function, carrying music with me, having a camera handy, and being able to check emails easily. Oh, i also love having my shopping list/to list and calendar easily accessible (via an app).

    I also have a charger in my car. When I get in, I always plug in my phone so that I won’t forget it.

    • Debbie M Says:

      Heh, I carry a purse when I don’t want a whole backpack! My purse isn’t very big, but it’s much bigger than a wristlet. It sounds like I’ll want to stay away from Twitter and Facebook. I’m still fine with just checking those at home on the laptop.

  14. Debbie M Says:

    Wow, Grumpy Rumblers, you’re right about getting more good advice. But I also liked your advice as well. It seems so obvious now–of course I should just carry it in my purse. Like all my other tools I like to carry around with me. Thanks for featuring my question!

  15. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    As far as apps, there is going to be corporate pressure on you to use bullshittio “social media” apps so they can sell your eyeballs to advertisers. But there are many apps that really make your life easier. These include banking and credit card apps, airline and travel apps, weather app, and various other apps that allow you convenient access to your various Internet accounts from your phone. Example of how great this can be: I was once on a plane waiting to depart and they started announcing delays. I went right to my airline app and found a different flight leaving shortly. Click, boom, and I was now on that other flight, and got right off the plane. Another time I was in a taxi to the airport and received a text that my shuttle flight was delayed at least an hour. Got right on the Amtrak app, got a seat on the next Acela, and told the taxi driver to turn around and take me to Penn Station instead.

    So a smart phone with appropriate apps can make you much more flexible and resilient with all kinds of stuff when you are not able to access wired connections. Even with the weather app, when I am out and about on an intermittently rainy day, I can check the local radar to see when I should make my way to home or other shelter as rain rolls through.

    • Debbie M Says:

      Yes, the future is upon us! Thanks for these recommendations!

      • Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

        Have fun! And if you like to tinker at all and make things just how you like them, be sure to get an Android phone, not an iPhone. The Androids are vastly more customizable than iPhone. Although if you are just willing to take shitte as they give it to you, then iPhone may be marginally better.

      • Debbie M Says:

        It’s already decided–I have an Android. Yea!

  16. Ana Says:

    For pants, I’ve had good luck with Boden in terms of pockets. But I wear dresses/skirts often that don’t have pockets and I just keep my phone in my backpack for work, or bring a wristlet or my cross-body wallet that my phone tucks into. On the weekends I often leave it at home. I charge it at night, I use it for my alarm. But when charging, I can’t reach it from bed, so I’m not tempted to browse at night. This is key. I also have a portable charger I bring with me if I really really don’t want to run out of battery (traveling alone or going to be out late)
    Turn off all notifications if you don’t want it buzzing and beeping; I also turn off badge displays because I don’t like the messy stuff showing up.
    I love my smartphone. While I do sometimes succomb to phone distraction (reading blogs mostly), if I resist that urge, I think it makes life easier. I use the camera almost daily, email, text, maps and my life-trackers: YNAB and Mint for budget, FitBit for steps, MyFitnessPal for calories. I also use Paprika for recipes/grocery list—I love this because it syncs with my husband’s phone, so we can add stuff for each other to get. I like listening to podcasts when I’m doing housework. I use mobile boarding passes & airline apps—so helpful if you need to change a flight or are standby—you can see the list & make sure you’re on it. I have the Overdrive app so I can get library books. CVS and other loyalty cards. Uber. I have YMCA app so I can see the class schedule. If I’m ever stuck somewhere, I’ve got something to do. Now whether this is a good thing is debatable, but it makes me WAY more patient waiting if I can read a blog, catch up on email, or clean up the budget in that downtime.

  17. J Liedl Says:

    My phone is on all day long, usually in vibrate mode (unless I’m getting a lot of alerts for useless social media stuff, in which case it gets muted). When I teach, I put it on the console, muted but face up. I do something similar when I’m working at my desk. If, heaven forfend, the school phones or another important number appears, I can step out of a class and deal with the crisis. If it’s just a text from my partner telling me that the dog threw up and her bedding is now in the wash, I can ignore it. Having had a kid sent to the hospital in another city while I was in the classroom makes me a little bit paranoid. Having Autistic Youngest still prone to meltdowns at school makes me even more so. I tell everyone to preferably text or, if not, phone me at any time if there’s a real emergency, so having my phone with me all of the time helps.

    If I don’t wear clothing with pockets, my phone is usually in my hand or in my purse next to my wallet. I also have a wristlet which just barely accommodates the phone if I need to be on the go without pockets. It’s a Samsung S4 because anything bigger is too darned big. (Side note: why do phones keep getting bigger? Why aren’t there more phones that stay at a usable size?) At bedtime, if all is well and all concerned are home, I turn the darned thing off.

    My favourite phone app is Evernote – I use that for to-do lists, meetings and also for activities like grad seminar evaluations. It’s fabulous that I can take a photo with the camera (maybe a handout) and add that to my Evernote file. I also enjoy having Dropbox to have instant access to important documents such as syllabi. And I adore my reading apps (Overdrive and Kindle) so that I always have a book if I’m stuck on the go. I’m also addicted to my step-counter app and will go out of my way to carry my phone just to get credit for the exercise!

  18. SP Says:

    I might not be the best one to take advice from… I cracked mine about 2 weeks ago and am deciding what to do next. (So far, just living with it…) But maybe I’m good to listen to, because I have a tendency towards scatterbrained-ness and losing things and dropping things. This is super annoying, and my biggest failure at being an adult, and I hate it. Anyway, the scatterbrained among us have to try really hard not to lose things and set up systems to enable success, so coupling with my wallet is helpful. Also a wristlet is key, because purses are just too big and I need to physically attach my wallet to my wrist, or else.

    The wristlet is not custom made for the phone…. custom ones are probably safer. I still have to pull my phone out to use it, which introduces some risk of dropping (see cracked screen). I keep it on my desk during the work day. I don’t think pockets are a great idea – they can slide out or you can crack them, depending on the location of pockets (most pants it is fine, but I had an incident with some trouser cut jeans). So, I use pockets sometimes too… but I don’t think it is a good idea!

    Hmmm. After reading all the comments, I think I should switch to a different wristlet solution that allows me to use the phone while also keeping it attached to my wrist.

    First world problems, man.

  19. Debbie M Says:

    Good luck finding a better wristlet. I also don’t like the idea of keeping my phone in pants pockets and am glad there are other ideas. (A blazer pocket, now, that would be nice. In colder, dryer weather.)

  20. MutantSupermodel Says:

    So I had a not smart phone for a long time and then I made the switch. And I swore I wasn’t going to do any of the things that you said. That was 3 years ago. Things are different now. If you get a smartphone, it’s because you want the handy and useful features on it. The thing is, they become more handy and more useful ALL the time so you will ALWAYS want it on. If you don’t, you’re probably not really using your smartphone enough to make it worth it. You can use it for all kinds of handy things and it can actually enhance socializing (you’re talking with your friends about books and you know there is a GREAT one you wanted to tell her about but you can’t remember the title so you pull it up on your Goodreads app and show it to her OR you are hanging out with your co workers at happy hour and someone pulls out their phone and starts a really fun game of Heads Up). The only time you’ll really want it off is if you’re watching a performance of some kind (movie, play, musical, speech, ceremony, etc) or attending a solemn occasion (seriously phones ringing at burials?). So that being said, I would advise you to get a very good case for it– the kind that is rubber AND plastic to help protect it from falls because it’s going to fall A LOT. And get a screen guard for it. I almost always have mine in my pocket and it doesn’t really bother me anymore. If you care about having meaningful time with your friends, that’s just about setting your personal boundaries and not taking it out every few minutes to check your Instagram or Snapchat or whatever. Making your own rules like no phones at the dinner table. But yeah, they are GREAT devices and I use mine a ridiculously lot more than I ever thought I would. And mine’s not even a super awesome one. I totally want a super awesome one.

  21. Happy Says:

    To the commenter that lost everything to a dead device, it’s so easy now to enter it into a google doc or sheet on your computer, open it on your phone, and have it in the cloud that it’s easier than ever before to have everything you need, all the time, even when you forget your device or it’s not charged. I love having my Google calendar available on every device and it syncs wonderfully to other apps. There is an app out there that auto silences your phone during events on your calendar and then turns the ringer back on after. I LOVE that feature. If someone in your contact list calls back immediately, it will allow it to ring through so in an emergency, your spouse can still reach you. I resisted a smart phone vehemently but now that I have one, I’ve found it makes my life so much easier without invading.

  22. Leah Says:

    I should add my #1 tip: a good case is essential. You don’t need to pay top dollar, but you do need a case that covers the edges of the screen. I’ve dropped my 4 year old smart phone many a time with no issues.

  23. Rented life Says:

    Lots of great ideas here! I use a wristlet a lot (I had one before I had a smart phone but didn’t use it before then.) I’m pretty tied to my phone during business hours M-F. It is the only reasonable way for me to get certain work tasks done while managing the kid. (There’s plenty I need the computer for but emails, calls, initial research and jotting ideas can all happen on the phone.) I’m expected to be available during those hours, even if I don’t have a task so I’ll keep it on silent or vibrate and face up during that time, even if I’m with other people. I check it often during work hours. But once that’s over its on silent the rest of the time. I’m not the best person to reach because 1) I will ignore texts and phone calls etc if I would rather be dealing with real life–no one but my husband needs to reach me all the time and 2) being on silent means I’ll miss calls and texts and won’t respond right away. My best friend understands this and will leave the messages anyway because she knows I’ll read it in my own time. But other people get bothered by it.

    If I’m out somewhere my phone is facedown on the table or in my purse. The map app and shazam are two of my most used things. I use the notes and camera all the time but I made the mistake of getting too little space on my phone so I don’t have too many apps over all. Oh there’s one that tells us the best bridges to cross locally based on traffic. That’s been awesome. If I’m worried I’ll be on social media too much I just log out. Turns out I’m too lazy to log back in.

  24. chacha1 Says:

    It took me years, but I finally trained people not to call me on my cell phone. Since I have a conventional office job, there is a landline phone right in front of me; people who need the number have it. I also have access to email all day long. The cell phone, as I finally had to bluntly announce, is for MY convenience, not anyone else’s. It is not even turned on during the day. I turn it on when I get home from work, and back off before bed.

    I don’t even have voice mail. :-) My phone is “smart” only in the sense that, if I paid for services, it could execute them. Since I am cheap and antisocial, the $12 plan with restricted minutes & texts is fine.

    Debbie’s question was about etiquette though. In my opinion, if you use your smartphone for business and it is during business hours, then answering a call or text while in company with other humans is allowed. If it’s a personal communication device and toy, then it should be off (or on vibrate) and in a pocket or bag when in company with other humans.

    Basically, you wouldn’t leave someone sitting alone while you went to answer your old-fashioned rotary phone, or to play a game of solitaire.

    Because of the ubiquity of these devices, I think it’s okay if all parties agree on a “phone check” at a certain point during a face-to-face interaction. But if someone then decides something on their phone is more interesting than the other humans in the room, that person should just bugger off with their phone. They shouldn’t stay in the room playing with the phone while pretending they are still involved with the other humans. To me, that is MUCH more rude than just saying “this has been great but I’m going to go now.”

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