Phone Etiquette: Tips everyone needs to know!
By Gabriella Nashiva
Have you noticed how people walk over the unsaid rules of phone conversations? I mean I understand how the excitement of new phones in this digital era came as a tsunami and swept us all off our feet!
The question is as we upgrade our phones from time to time, do we remember to upgrade the etiquette that comes with the digital era?
It’s 6AM on a Sunday morning, it feels like 2AM for me, I can sleep approximately two extra hours than usual before I start the day’s shenanigans. Then my louder than usual ringtone insults the morning calm, I immediately wake up and reach out for my phone while my eyes are closed. On the other end is my workmate Salma, I hadn’t said a word she began to speak her energy matching that of a horse who just won a race! It sounded like she was speaking to me from inside a sauti sol concert right after her favorite song played and standing next to a concert speaker.
I lowered my phone volume and by now she was past the greetings, so she went ahead to ask me,” ulisema keys za ofisi niweke wapi nikishafunga ofisi? Niliweka kwa … my head was beyond mesmerized by this question and I drifted off for a minute. “Uliweka mahali pa sawa “ I replied calmly. “ooh sawa nilikua sina amani naona nimeeka mahali haifai, kwani bado umelala?” She jumped. “nimeamka sasa”, I said keeping my words at a minimal to end this rather unnecessary conversation.”sawa basi tuonane kesho” she ended and I murmured,”sawa”. I could not go back to sleep, so I sat in bed shortly and had a 2-hour head start for my Sunday, grumpy at that thought I got out of bed.
Why would you call someone at 6AM on any day let alone a Sunday morning?! With all respect understand my phone number is not an emergency line for the fire department, not the Kenya Red Cross, or police department neither the St. John’s ambulance, so why? Why wake someone up for a matter that could be handled any other time of the day! This is the same mannerisms that follow the habit of visiting your neighbor at 6AM. Honestly, I believe the question that should cross our mind before dialing a number is that is it necessary to make this call and is this time necessary.
More of the unsaid phone etiquette is calling someone when they’re trying to beat traffic and get home. This time expect no meaningful conversation especially if it is an official call.
Another bad time for official calls is during lunch break, imagine you’re busy enjoying your ugali and juicy nyama choma your hands fully engaged, and you have to pick a call. First, your meal will definitely go cold and appetite lost in that process. I know people who put their phones on airplane mode on lunch break, I would think it is funny but now I think it makes some sense.
Another thing I don’t understand how you can call someone at 10 pm in the night to ask for work or make enquiries of any sort. Unless it is a work emergency that specifically requires the immediate attention of the person, the rest becomes A.O.B. My opinion, if its past 7pm then wait for tomorrow or send an SMS.
This could be different for different people some creative work best in the late hours of night, so it goes down to the questions you ask yourself before calling someone.
On social grounds, picking your best friends call and talking hours on end at work is unprofessional. It is more appropriate to take a day off and spend with them. When having social or formal conversations do not be engaged on your phone, it is bad mannerism, period.
Now this one could bring a bad taste to your mouth, but it is what it is. Using your phone at a wedding you’ve been invited to is rude. There it is! The bride and groom have a plan of the videography for their wedding that they have paid for. Plus, where do we normally take all the many videos and photos, we take at a wedding eventually, you know. The moment is there’s to enjoy and we are invited to share the moment with them we can enjoy that moment without tossing and turning distracting those around us from a moment in a lifetime for the couple.
When it comes to the etiquette on the use of social media, we can write a whole book! So, for today, let us leave it at this take a moment before you make a call or sending a message.