My cell phone pet peeves

Share Button

photoThe other morning I was walking along the trail to the Makapuu Lighthouse and heard a noise behind me.

It sounded like chatter at first.

But as it got closer I realized the noise sounded vaguely familiar.

Like Pharrell.

Turns out, the group of teenagers coming up behind us had an iPhone blasting “Happy” from the cell phone’s speakers.

And despite the song’s upbeat message, hearing it on the trail didn’t exactly make me feel like dancing.

I’m not sure when it became popular to listen to music eking out of tiny speaker on a mobile device, but it’s rather annoying. Not everyone wants to hear Pharrell — or anyone, for that matter — especially when you’re trying to enjoy the serene sounds of nature.

It’s one of many complaints about cell phone users — and one that no doubt prompted etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore to declare July National Cell Phone Courtesy Month back in 2002.

“Wireless phones and other electronic devices have become so important to keeping people in touch with information they want and need,” said Whitmore in a statement. “It’s important to educate people about the proper way to use these devices so that they’re still in touch but not annoying those around them.”

Here are some others — and see if these pet peeves annoy you, too:

• When the person you’re having dinner with can’t stop snapping photos of the food, checking Facebook or texting someone else. The worst? When he interrupts the conversation to tell you how many “likes” his photo of his salad got.

• When you’re in a public bathroom and the person in the next stall is having a conversation with someone. The worst? When that person admits she’s in the bathroom talking on her cell phone.

• Annoying ringtones, period.

• When people are so distracted by their cell phone conversation they don’t realize what’s happening IRL around them. Like chatting in line at the bank or while ordering coffee at Starbucks — and holding everyone else up. Multitasking that includes phone convos just don’t work.

• When people leave voicemail messages that say something like, “Hi, call me back.” That could’ve been a text. At least explain what you’re calling about.

• Voicemails in general.

Got a cell phone pet peeve?

And if you do what’s on this list, just try to refrain this month. That’s all we’re asking.


It doesn't bother me too much if someone checks their phone while we eat. It gives me a break from feeling like I have to constantly entertain them. But if they're completely ignoring me the entire meal then that's a different story.

I think it's more distracting if their phone is constantly beeping/lighting up/vibrating with texts or notifications and they just ignore it.

I hate when people use their phones in bathrooms. Its especially awkward when they're taking a picture!


not just a cell phone complaint but a courtesy issue going back to the days of bake-lite rotary dial phones with cotton cords: you answer. you are clearly not whom the caller expected. the first thing they say is: "who is this?"


Yeah, voicemails are annoying, so I'm playing around with the idea of having an inbox greeting that discourages leaving voicemails...maybe something that says, "Hi thank you for calling, I take longer when responding to voicemails so call backs are preferred...(etc)" you think that seems unprofessional and/or cold?

But the other part of 'educating people' is also communicating. Did you ask them to turn down? I felt that frustration when I ran into a group of kids on the trail with their speakers, but we soon were at different paces and I was back with myself on the trail. Relief. Acceptance, but also reflection took place - if I didn't express to them that their behavior was bothering me, should I really hold on to that frustration and resent them? Instead, focusing on how I would approach someone about turning down seemed like a lot better use of energy.

As for table etiquette, I try to call out my friends at the table on their phones when it really bothers me. I almost see it as an obligation as a friend, because there are new sets of norms being established in our society, and being open about those behaviors and how we effect each other is the least we can do as friends...if it's a business meeting, it's definitely something to note about in terms of behavior, even if they are a client, and especially if they're a partner. Admittedly, I have the most difficult time with family meals, and that says to me I need to put away the [net]work[ing], appreciate my family more, and realize how I'm taking them for granted. 

Letting things out on the spot is something that I think could help us shift away from our local passive aggressive culture that Melissa Chang wrote about a couple months ago. However, learning to communicate that is not easy, and something we should understand as a growing pain for our modern day. 


Being on your phone during a meal with someone else is a definite no-no for me. You can check your damn email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or whatever else after we're done eating. Even if you want to post a pic of your food, you can do so after you're done eating. No one's dying for a live stream of what you're eating.


CAT:  People who use cells while driving.  People who have to talk loud/shout while on the phone so others around can hear them.  People who have to answer their phone during coitus. LOL


@Myong REALLY? Uh, oh, we can't eat together! LOL.


@Cat @Myong Haha, I'll make an exception for you Cat! Nah, I was more referring to an intimate 1 on 1 setting, like a date or with your S.O. If it's a group of friends, or just having a meal with a friend, I don't mind.