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Cell phone etiquette a grey area

There are two opposing groups when I ask, “what are your feelings towards your cell phone?” Most people love their phones. However, there are some individuals who hate their phones, which is weird because they still own one.

These people hate their cell phones in a way that the people who love their phones can’t understand. A part of the hate comes from the obligation of always being available and having to answer.

Personally, I hate my cell phone because I feel this obligation. I am not very “good” with my cell phone. I hate how if I choose to not answer, some people freak out and get upset with me as if I were ignoring them on purpose. However, the reality of the matter is that I am not ignoring the individual trying to get in touch with me — I am just busy. I would rather focus my attention on the people I am currently with or the task I am doing. Some people might find it rude to not answer an incoming call or text but I don’t. This is a dilemma.

For me, answering my cell phone is a constant battle because I know people are waiting for a response.    I don’t feel connected with the person I am texting like I would face-to-face. You are able to read someone’s body language, hear the tone of the conversation and detect how someone is feeling. We are not able to read the tone of a text, because there isn’t one. I often feel confused when I read a message, because I can’t distinguish if someone is upset, happy or mad, causing a weird and awkward reply on my end of the conversation. But this is only when I choose to answer at all. When I don’t answer, it’s a whole different situation in itself. Waves of texts come through when I take my phone off airplane mode; it’s like I died or went missing and came back.

At first people seem concerned, which turns into frustration, and then they get really upset. But the moment you text them back, it’s a miracle that you have. “Omg where have you been? Are you ok?” or you get a text that confronts you on your bad cell phone etiquette. What happens if someone loses their phone or it dies? What if they forgot their cell phone at home? People don’t seem to take any other consideration other than the person ignoring them.

It’s getting increasingly harder for people to avoid conflict on not answering their phones. People assume that because lots of us are avid cell phone users, trying to get in touch with people should not be difficult. The division which exists between cell phone users has created great confusion towards the concept of cell phone etiquette. As a result of this dilemma, a new form of social anxiety has emerged.

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