Debrett’s, known for its guides on etiquette and social behaviour, has recently released updated guidelines on mobile etiquette.
According to the etiquette bible, answering the phone is now a matter of personal choice and often deemed inappropriate. Communication predominantly takes place through messaging, social media, emails, and voice notes, reflecting a general preference for less direct methods.
Debrett’s is over 250 years old authority on the United Kingdom royalty and matters of etiquette. Here’s its “Ten Commandments” on mobile phone usage.
- Prefer texting before calling:
• It’s becoming common to text before calling, asking if it’s a good time. This minimises intrusion and lets people manage their time.
2. Social calls to mobiles:
• Unannounced social calls to mobiles might go unanswered. Texts are seen as a politer and more informative option.
3. Avoid repeated redialing:
• Repeatedly redialing an unanswered call can be intrusive. Sending a text is a more considerate approach, unless it’s an emergency.
4. Text after unanswered call:
• If a call goes unanswered, send a brief, explanatory text. Pithy texts are preferred over long, rambling voice messages.
5. Consider the impact of the calls:
• Some people may find calls alarming due to their decreasing frequency. Callers should offer reassurance before their greeting or consider texting ahead.
6. Respect others’ phone preferences:
• Understand that not everyone is comfortable receiving calls. If someone indicates it’s a bad time to talk, respect their preference and withdraw.
7. Tolerance for older people’s phone habits:
• Older individuals may prefer unannounced calls and voicemails. Be patient and consider their comfort with technology.
8. Avoid multitasking during calls:
• Concentrate on calls in a distraction-free environment. Multitasking during a call can be alienating for the recipient.
9. Use headphones video calls:
• In public spaces, use headphones for video calls to avoid forcing others to listen. Respect the privacy of your conversation.
10. Voice for nuanced communication:
• Use your voice for nuanced communication. Expressing subtle emotions or handling delicate situations is better done through a phone call.
Debrett’s defines etiquette “is about feeling at ease, and putting others at ease, in a variety of social situations.” Thus, following the new rules may make mobile phone communication experience better.