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Hey Loudmouth, Keep It Down! The 4 Most Annoying Cell Phone Habits. Since July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month, it's the perfect time to remind everyone of a few basic cell phone etiquette rules.

By Deborah Mitchell Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


It is hard to imagine what we ever did without our cell phones. Today, we use our mobile devices for everything from talking to texting and, for some entrepreneurs, running an entire business from the palm of their hands. In some cases, people are so focused on their phones 24/7 that it's easy to forget that not everyone around you is or should be a part of your personal conversation.

Since July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month, it's the perfect time to remind everyone of a few basic cell phone etiquette rules. A new survey of 1,000 people from across the country reveals what Americans find to be among the most annoying daily cell phone habits by strangers and friends alike. What do you think it is?

Related: Life Without Smartphones Is Hard to Imagine, According to Nearly Half of U.S. Smartphone Users

1. Yes, other people can hear you.

Turns out, having a loud cell phone conversation in public is the most-cited annoying habit, according to 77 percent of respondents. I agree. It's one of my pet peeves to be subjected to hearing all the loud details of someone else's conversation. In New York City, I'm usually riding the bus where several different people are talking loudly about everything from dinner plans to having to fire an employee at the office.

Etiquette alert: If you have to talk in a public space on the phone, keep the conversation short and use a low tone of voice. If texting is permitted, then send a quick message and arrange to continue the conversation later.

2. Stop texting. I'm trying to watch a show!

About one-third of those surveyed said people who frequently send text messages tops their list of annoyances. I believe actress Patti LuPone might agree with this one. She recently caught a theatergoer texting on her cell phone during LuPone's performance of Shows for Days at Manhattan's Lincoln Center. Annoyed with the bad etiquette, the Tony-winning actress grabbed the audience member's phone and gave it to a stage manager. The phone was returned at the end of the show.

Don't be the person who can't put their phone away or turn it off for a few minutes -- especially when you are asked to beforehand. The theater and movie theater aren't the best places to have a conversation. And even if you aren't talking, we can all see the blue light on your phone glowing in the dark as you text, so turn your phone off. Sixty-four percent of people are bothered by cell phone conversations in a movie theater, with 54 percent being irritated by a person continually looking at their phone while having a conversation.

Related: 5 Antidotes for Chronic Digital Distraction

Etiquette alert: If you have to talk or text in a restricted area, remove yourself from the space for the moment. It's the courteous thing to do. Finish your conversation or text message, turn off your phone, and return to your seat.

3. Here's an idea: Look up while walking.

While we are on the topic of texting, the survey reveals that other text annoyances include incomprehensible text shorthand, people who take a long time to respond with a text, and people who text while walking. New York City is filled with people walking with their heads down while they are using their cell phones. There was actually a video of a man who fell into a plaza water fountain as he texted and walked. And we all have seen the commercials about the dangers of texting while driving. You might think it only takes a second to compose and send a text, but it's much harder when you are driving.

Etiquette alert: When driving, keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheels as you carefully pull over out of traffic. Once you've brought the car to a full stop, take a few minutes to send a text. Once the text is sent, put your phone away and then get back on the road.

4. Hello? A real person is in front of you.

Finally, when it comes to using your cell phone with friends and when dating, try to be mindful of that, too. Americans in the survey were divided on this one. Forty-four percent said people should keep their phones in their bag or pocket when out with friends, and 48 percent said people should do the same when they're on a date.

Etiquette alert: I love to eat out with friends, and we are guilty of taking lots of photos of our food, as well as occasional selfies. However, on a date, I think the cell phone should be put away. It's rude and inconsiderate not to give your companion your undivided attention. What's so important that it can't wait for anyone to be alone to take care of?

When it comes to poor cell phone etiquette, what annoys you most? Let us know in the comments section below.

Related: This Gadget Lets You Text and Use Apps While Driving, Without Looking at Your Smartphone

Deborah Mitchell

CEO & Founder, Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles and finally connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Mitchell is author of So You Want To Be On TV

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