Cell Phone Etiquette Tips for Dating



You’re out on a date and things are going really well, and then it happens: Ring-ring, your date reaches into his pocket, takes out his phone and starts talking, texting and even takes a moment to check his email.  So it’s not surprising that 86% of singles polled by the online dating site Zoosk said the worst cell-phone related behavior during a date is “constantly glancing at a cell phone.”


July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, founded by author and internationally recognized etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore in 2002, with the intent of making cell phone users more respectful of their surroundings. She’s also the founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach.


Whitmore’s cell phone courtesy tips for dating:


–          Be all there: When you’re on a date, especially a first date, the person you are with should always take precedence over calls you want to make or receive.  It’s sad when couples are at a restaurant and are more interested in their phones than the person sitting in front of them.  Put people first, technology second.

–          Excuse yourself: If you are expecting a call that can’t be postponed, alert your date ahead of time and excuse yourself when the call comes in if discussing private matters or confidential information. If you do take the call at the dinner table, keep it as brief as possible and avoid “cell yell.”  Use your regular conversational tone when speaking on your phone.


–          Avoid ridiculous and loud ringtones: Never put your phone (or your handbag, keys, sunglasses or anything you can’t eat) directly on the table.  Keep your phone concealed and remember to silence the ringtone.  If you forget and it happens to ring, don’t ignore it and pretend someone else’s phone is ringing. Apologize and silence it immediately.


–          It’s permissible to pull out your phone three times on a date: 1) To take a picture with your date, 2) to show your date pictures of a family baby or pet, and 3) to find the answer to a perplexing trivia question that comes up in conversation.  If on a date with multiple couples, show the photo to everybody at the table so no one feels excluded.


–          Ask permission: If you must take out your smartphone while on a date, always ask permission first.  Something like, “Do you mind if I take out my phone to…?”  If taking photos with your date, always ask for permission before posting them to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to respect his or her privacy.