Ten easy steps ensure your mobile manners are top notch
According to a new study, Irish people have the best mobile phone etiquette in the world.
Can you believe it? Frankly, I can't. In my experience, most of us are guilty of breaching every golden rule of acceptable mobile phone use on a daily basis.
Basically, we're afraid to let our phones out of our sight, because we're gripped by the irrational fear of missing out. We know we should switch off when we're in company and yet we just can't help checking our texts and emails every five seconds, just in case the world stops turning if we don't.
We take calls when we know we shouldn't, regardless of where we are and who we're with. We even have what should be highly private conversations in public without stopping to consider if other people can hear us.
I'm as guilty of obsessing over my phone as the next person. If I forget to take it with me, I break out in a cold sweat. I sometimes think I hear it ringing, even when it's not, and I live in dread of losing it because my entire life is on there.
At one stage, I was becoming so fixated with checking my email and Twitter updates that I had to disable the Internet facility to break my addiction. And I'm not alone.
The survey, by travel firms Expedia and Egencia, discovered that we Irish are among the most dependent on our phones in the world, with 90pc of us taking at least one mobile device on holidays with us.
Now that's a result that can't come as a surprise to anyone.
It's probably unrealistic to expect that we'll ever give up our phones for good, but the least we can do is remember the basics of 'mobile manners' so as not to aggravate those around us:
1 Do not take a call when you're having dinner with friends. Likewise, arriving at the restaurant, immediately asking the waiter for the WiFi code and then slapping your phone in the centre of the table doesn't make your companions feel warm and fuzzy inside.
2 Don't put someone on speaker phone unless you tell them first. How would you feel if you discovered midway through what you thought was a private conversation that complete strangers had been hanging on your every word? Exactly.
3 Save the really intense conversations for the privacy of your own home. No-one wants to hear about your excruciating hernia operation or the cheating love rat who broke your heart (even if this sometimes makes for compelling listening). There's a time and a place for these sorts of heart to hearts, and travelling home on the 46A surrounded by weary commuters is neither.
4 Novelty ring tones are not hilarious. This includes audio clips of your child screeching 'Mum! Your phone is ringing!' over and over again. No-one finds this cute except you.
5 Never use your phone in the bathroom. In any capacity.
6 Do not 'butt call' someone by mistake. People will never look at you the same way again if they hear you singing along to Celine Dion as you drive. Phones have locks for a reason.
7 Always, always hang up properly. This is especially important if you plan to badmouth the person you've just been speaking to.
8 Use your headphones when you're playing Candy Crush. Not doing so is tantamount to torture for everyone within a twenty foot radius. Do the same when you're listening to your specially personalised play list. Not everyone appreciates your musical taste, hard as that may be to believe.
9 Keep your voice down. There's no need to shout. And there's no need to repeat, over and over again 'Can you hear me? Can you hear me now?'
10 There is an off button. It really is OK to use it occasionally. The world won't stop turning.