Ahhh, it’s that time of year again: the holidays. Time to take a break from our daily routines and celebrate with those that matter most. With all of the parties on the season’s agenda, it’s also the perfect time to practice our phone etiquette.
Miss Manners herself, Emily Post, says that as a guest, it’s your job to put your best manners forward—including your phone manners. According to Post, proper phone etiquette at parties is to put your tech away altogether. However, a recent Asurion survey found that’s easier said than done. We surveyed more than 1,300 people and learned that 51% said it’s annoying for others to be on their phone while eating/drinking with family or friends. But nearly 60% of those same people fessed up to checking their phones in that exact scenario.
Whether it’s an office party, a friendly get-together or a family event, consider this your guide to help you get through the holidays with proper phone etiquette. Here are four tips to ensure your best phone manners are on display.
Ask before you post
Here’s a rule of thumb for sharing holiday party photos and videos: ask before you post.
Yes, it’s funny, but that doesn’t always mean it needs to go on the internet. Life will go on without sharing video of your coworker snoring on the couch while cuddled up with a stuffed reindeer after having a bit too much fun at the office holiday party. You won’t be able to rack up a lot of views and quit your job to be a YouTube star, but trust us, they’ll appreciate your discretion.
Put your phone away while at the table
We get it. Your phone is your best friend, your lifeline to the outside world. But when you’re at the dinner table, your group chat can wait. Like Miss Manners said, “Your job as a guest is to display enthusiasm, consideration and thoughtfulness.” That’s challenging to do if you’re more engaged with what’s happening on Snapchat than with those sitting beside you. Practice good phone etiquette and put your tech out of reach for awhile.
Also, avoid putting your phone on the table. Accidents happen when a table of 20+ people are passing the turkey, the stuffing, mashed potatoes… the list goes on and on. While you might like your meal doused in gravy, your phone may not appreciate that extra flavor boost.
Ask for the Wi-Fi password – but only if necessary
To ask or not to ask for the Wi-Fi password: that is the hotly debated question. Are you in charge of playing music? Were you asked to FaceTime your cousin that couldn’t make it? Are you all playing a game that requires internet access? If so, asking for the Wi-Fi password so you can save data is perfectly acceptable. Pull your host aside and ask quietly to help avoid the Wi-Fi frenzy.
Otherwise, if you’re just wanting to connect so you can dodge questions like, “How’s work?” or “When are you and so-and-so getting married?,” then you might miss out on the point of the holidays: bringing loved ones under one roof. After all, it’s just face-to-face interaction Grandma Lori is after.
Avoid phone photo fatigue
Being crowned the holiday party photographer is an essential job. Even though people groan when it’s picture time, capturing these moments is important – and easier than ever, thanks to the amazing cameras built into our phones. Where phone etiquette kicks in with phone photography is knowing what’s important. Important: taking a few photos of holiday moments to look back on. Not so important: Snapping 20 different poses and then spending 20 minutes afterwards searching for the “perfect” photo filter . Don’t miss out on memories because you’re focusing on creating the perfect social post. Snap your photos, then hop back into the moment. You can edit and share your pics after the party. Trust us, your friends will still like the photo of you and your family no matter when you post it.
Remember, the most important thing about using your tech at holiday parties is that moderation is key. Take the picture, FaceTime your friends who couldn’t make it – but then focus on enjoying the day with those around you. After all, the holidays only come around once each year. You’ll be back home curled up in your pj’s, streaming movies and scrolling through your timeline, in no time at all.