Cell phones at the dining table

DinnerWithPhone(Flat)Back in 2011 I posted the following Tip on Restaurant Etiquette Pet Peeves (also at http://www.advancedetiquette.com/blog/social/restaurant-etiquette-pet-peeves/). In addition to these items I want to add and specifically address my top pet peeves about cell phone use at a dining table, whether in a home or in a restaurant.

  • No cell phones on the table… ever!  Never, ever place your cell phone on the dining table.  It should be kept in a pocket, in a hand bag, or on your lap… again never at the table!
  • Taking calls at the table: I don’t care if everyone at the table says it’s fine that you take a call at the table… it’s not!  The time shared at a dining table should be exclusively among those at the table… no one else. Should a call come in and you absolutely must take it, you must leave the table to take the call outside the dining room… period!  Beyond this all phones should be turned off when dining.  Let your most capable assistant handle all calls when you are enjoying the meal… a/k/a voicemail.
  • Taking photos. Here’s something I don’t mind when done in moderation.  Taking photos of nicely presented food can be fun. So here’s the compromise… Unless you are a professional food critic, take photos sparingly and primarily your own food.  Do not disrupt the overall dining experience of others just so you can “capture the moment” of each course of everyone’s meal.
  • Posting photos on social media: Again, capturing the moment does not mean you must spend half your time tweeting, texting, and/or posting photos on various social media sites to say: “Look at me, I’m dining at this “chichi” restaurant.  Post all the photos you want after dinner when back home before you go to sleep.  Give up your sleep in lieu of the quality time you should be spending with your table mates.
  • Placing calls at the table:  What if a friend says, “Since we’re all together and Peter lives so far away, let’s call him to say Hello!”  First decide what kind of restaurant you are in.  If at a fast food or coffee shop, OK.  However, any other type or fancy restaurant, absolutely not.  Save it for when you are all done eating and in the lobby or outside the restaurant.  Remember all calls should be handled outside the dining room… period!

Bottom-line: At no time should a cell phone be placed on a dining table or used in any way.  The time you spend dining with others should be exclusively reserved for the people you are with… Nothing else!  Remember the old saying:  Love the one you’re with?  I think this applies nicely to this discussion.

Question:  What other pet peeves do you have about cell phone usage at a dining table?  Share them here.  We’d enjoy hearing from you!

Happy Practicing!

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