Smartphone etiquette 101 at the dinner table

Just like mom told you to keep your elbows off the table, etiquette experts say to keep your smartphone out of sight during meals too.

“Your smartphone, your iPhone, your Crackberry, your Blackberry all of that should be off the table, because really what it is, is a non-verbal statement to those other people, that they're not really as important as your phone,” said Pamela Eyring with the Protocol School of Washington.

What you might interpret as a sign of the times, or a display of your productivity at a business lunch or a social dinner, may be off-putting to a potential boss, client or even a date.

They say updating your status message or tweeting during your meal, especially if it includes information about who you're dining with, without their permission, can be considered poor taste.

If you're dining with a smartphone addict, you're not out of bounds to call them out on it, in a polite manner.

Experts suggest you say "You seem to be distracted and really busy, do you want to reschedule our lunch?"

Despite their portability, experts also say tablet computers like the iPad are always taboo at the table.

“No, it's much more distracting than even the phone. Because it's larger, you put it up on the table, you're clicking away, and you're moving your hands, and you're totally not connected with the person that you're sitting with,” said Eyring.


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