Cell phone etiquette - leave it off and avoid the urgency that can lead to stress and anxiety

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Posted: Friday, October 4, 2013 10:52 am | Updated: 9:10 am, Mon Oct 7, 2013.

Dinner table etiquette has been around for centuries, but cell phone etiquette- not so much.

Many of us can’t resist the urge to answer that call or respond to that text, no matter who we’re with or who we might offend.

Dr. Joe Rock, a psychologist at Cleveland Clinic said we must be mindful of the people around us when the phone rings, beeps, or buzzes. “Have a little consideration for the other person." He added, "Part of the problem with being on a cell phone is you get into the reality of the conversation you’re having on the phone instead of what’s really going on around you and it makes you impolite, it makes you rude, it makes you irritate other people.“

Dr. Rock recommends avoiding your cell phone when you’re with a group of people- even if they’re close friends.

He said this robs us of a chance to decompress and plays into a sense of urgency that can lead to stress and anxiety, and, that stress can spill into other situations and increase an overall level of emotional upset.

Also, if someone is speaking during a meeting or a one-on-one conversation, it’s usually not a good idea to pick up your phone to look through E-mail, or respond to a text.

“I think texts are worse than calls a lot of times because there’s a certain amount of urgency that’s implied when you send a text. If you don’t respond to a text right away people seem to think you’re rude by not doing that. You don’t have to do it.”

Dr. Rock reminds us to pay attention to the situation before you “go for the phone.”

If you’re distracted from the present moment, it could be tough to see how your behavior is impacting other people and may make interpersonal interactions more difficult. He added that it’s a good time for some of us to become “cell phone role-models.”

“I mean if people see you picking up your phone on the bus and saying “Look, I’m on the bus. Can I call you back? There are a lot of people around right now.” People will go “Hey, there’s an alternative for me.” And maybe they even think “Oh my gosh, people do that?” They don’t just have to answer their phone?”

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