I’m not a personal communications expert, nor do I profess to be a manners expert. But lately I’ve witnessed some of the most horrific acts of talking and texting. And I’m not even thinking of teenagers. These crimes against communications are by adults who went through high school and college before the Internet was even blink in Al Gore’s eyes.

8 tips for talking on the phone and texting with manners:

  1. Say Hello or Hi. I am in disbelief about this one too. Why the heck this needs to even be said is a mystery to me, but experiences lately indicate this is lacking is many adults and teenagers. In the last week alone I have gotten two phone calls from adults who, when I answered the phone, just started talking without one of the common recognitions of hello, hi, or how are you.
  2. Introduce yourself. Again, something that shockingly shows up on this list. My wife got a phone call from a grown man the other day. She answered like most people, “Hello?”, to which the person on the other end of the line responded, “Where’s Isaac?” If we hadn’t been new to the neighborhood and my wife recognized his voice, this would not have sounded so creepy and worth calling the police over.
  3. Introduce yourself. No this is not a duplicate. The last item referred to when you are calling people. In the land of mobile devices increasingly being used as family phones over land lines, it’s important for the people who place to the call to know who answered the call. Those who call my cell phone, expect me to pick up. But it many times my wife or kids answer as well. It is important for parents to teach kids to identify themselves. A caveat would be around child safety.  A rule in my house is if you don’t know who is on the other end of the line, you don’t have permission to answer.
  4. Soundbites are for radio disc jockeys. So many people lately have developed a pattern of intense brevity over the phone, that it feels like they have gone roboto or are barking.
  5. Be with the person you are with. 20 years ago before cell phones became mainstream, when people called when we were not at home, they left a message and we called them back. Just because the phone is in your pocket does not mean you are at home. If you are on a family outing, with friends or others, it’s OK to not answer the phone. Don’t be a servant to technology. It shows respect to those around you.
  6. Be with the person you are with. Nope, not another duplicate. This is a texting tip. We all text so frequently, as well as do many other things on our phone, that its hard to know what someone is really doing on their phone when they are with you. At work, I take notes on my phone. When I am with someone new I tell, them, “Just so you know, I am taking notes, not texting or doing email.” This lets them know I am with them, and not some where else. In other situations, if you are texting or doing email, use good judgement. Texting, email and games can be addictive. Start today by putting it down when you are with others.
  7. Sarcasm does not work in print. Unless you really really really really know the person, don’t be sarcastic when texting. I’ve learned the hard way that most people just don’t get it.
  8. Show a little respect. Always pretend you are communicating with your grandma. I get text messages from one of my son’s friends all the time and it feels like he is talking down to me. I am on the verge of banning him from texting my phone again. He never uses any polite language, only commanding language. There is a big difference in face to face conversations, and even a bigger difference in texting situations. Know and live the difference in both.

I know there are a lot more ideas and rules to showing some manners when texting and talking. I am curious, what are the rules you live by, and wished others did as well?