Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cell Phone Etiquette: What does your phone say about your social status?

What do you do with your cell phone when you're sitting at a table? What about at a meeting? Cell phones have quickly become the most opaque symbol of status. Every cell related gesture can tell you worlds about the person and the hierarchical position they perceive/wish themselves to be within the group. So what do cell phone behaviours tell you about your friends?
The one who leaves his cell phone on the table
This behaviour is common among midlevel businessmen and jappy women who want to appear more important than they actually are. Putting your phone down on the table in front of your peers is a way of demonstrating that your other engagements are much more important than your present one The aforementioned teenie bopper will be cell showing to let others see their popularity and how there are many other friends who may want to contact them.
The one who silenced subtlyThis is the behaviour of a true high status individual. He earns respect because he gives respect. Firstly, he lets you know that your conversation is important to him and he doesn't want to break its momentum. Secondly, he's sending the message that, even though there are others looking for him, he'll decide if he chooses to delay the conversation. Both traits are signs of a higher status individual. He's important enough that individuals will continually try to reach him.
The one who excuses their cell phoneThis falls into the category of subtle silencing. Even big shots have crises that they need to address. Excusing their phones shows that they're aware of offence that may be taken by their faux pas. As long as they manage the situation efficiently and return their phone discretely, the interruption wasn't simply a pathetic attempt at showboating.
The one who takes the callIf you’re in a casual social setting, taking a call, so long as it’s excused and brief, may be deemed acceptable. In a more formal setting, or if the call is not brief, the call is once again the phone holder simply asserting their dominance. When you look at the pack mentality of wild animals, the dominant one of the group is allowed leaving the pack whenever he pleases while the lower ranking members aren’t granted such liberties. This is essentially what’s being represented with the cell phone conversation. The phone holder is showing that they can choose when to break the conversation and devote their attention elsewhere. In my opinion this is a dominance gesture that doesn’t carry over to the civilized world. Whoever does it is just a flat out prick. Period.
The one who uses his cell needlesslyWhen once upon a time a man would show his resourcefulness by displaying the pocket knife skills he picked up in boy scouts. Being robbed of that opportunity to display their true skills, all that's left is to download all the pseudo-interesting apps they can find and try to wedge them into any situation they can. On a level of status and self worth, these are individuals who are looking to express their self worth. It's a behaviour common amongst adolescent/young adult males. They're at a point in their lives when their still hammering out their place in industry and what will be their contribution to the world.