AS we all know, manners can get complicated. But the Bible can help, it says: just as you want people do to you, do the same way to them.

We can apply this advice also in our cellphone manners every day. Here’s the scenario: You are talking face-to-face with a friend when you receive a text or call. What should you do: read the text/receive the call while still talking to your friend, say “excuse me to your friend and read the text/receive the call or ignore the text/call while you keep talking to your friend.

As the scenario is so simple, we realize right away that the first option is unmannerly. But what about the second and third options? Is it rude for us to interrupt a conversation just to check a text/receive a call or is it rude for us to ignore a text or call just to continue a conversation?

What we can do:

Be discerning or to know, recognize, understand something that is not obvious. If you are expecting a call or an important message, it might be necessary to excuse yourself from a conversation. Often though, the message or call can wait.

Your cellphone will still be there when your friend has finished talking. But your friend may not be there when you finish texting or receive the call.

You can use similar discernment when at a gathering. Don’t text the whole time or receive calls because it tells people “I don’t care about your company, I’d rather be somewhere else.”

Call or text only at appropriate times. Sometimes we receive a call/text late at night. It’s not even for anything important and it disturbs one’s sleep. Ask yourself, “Do I call or text people at times when they might be resting?”

Check your tone. Communication is carried by words, voice inflection, facial expression and body language. Unfortunately, most of these elements are missing when we call/text. So how can we compensate? We use common courtesy like how are you, please and thank you.

Think before you receive the call or hit the send button. Your call or text might be misunderstood. Would your emotions help convey the right feeling? People get their feelings hurt and fights can even start because they take a lighthearted remark to be serious.

The following scenario are equally important: During family meals at home or outside, we keep our cellphones away except to record the event or an emergency. Texting/calling while driving has been one of the major causes of motor vehicle accidents all over the world.

Hopefully, the employees, as hi-tech as they are now, do multi-task such as chatting and texting with their clients for their company’s productivity during office hours.

Sadly, the art of conversation among friends and members of families has almost disappeared as everyone is glued over his/her cellphone.

Good manners are usually based on love. How is this quality of love displayed? Love is patient, kind, not jealous, does not brag, does not get puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not become provoked, looks for one’s and others’ interest, too. Which aspect of love do we need to work on?

Clearly, showing some of our cellphone manners really matter everyday and everywhere!

[Email: dr.nirmla_motoomull@yahoo.com]