Smartphone etiquette 101

There are unspoken rules when it comes to just about everything. Like cover your mouth when you sneeze, or if you’re going into somewhere like a room, elevator etc, then let the people who are inside leave first. Unknown to many of us, there are also a number of unspoken rules about smartphones.

It has come to my attention that many of us are ignoring these essential rules with disregard to their fellow human beings. Having been a victim a number of times, I decided to rant about it on my corner of the internet. So I came up with a list of a few important ones :

8. Earphones = Don’t talk to me.

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It’s simple. If I’m seated alone by myself with my earphones in then I am not interested in having a conversation with you. Period.

Exception: This one may be broken if we know each other. Else otherwise, let me have my peace.

7. Keep your eyes on the road.

Whether you’re walking or driving, texting at the same time is an accident waiting to happen.

6.  Don’t stop in the middle of the path to check your phone.

Are you trying to get me to bump into you? If so, then go ahead. If not, then don’t just stop abruptly in front on me and then glare at me when I end up walking into you.

5. Don’t go through my phone without my permission.

In this era, one’s phone is about as private as their underwear drawer. Whether you have some ripped, smelly panties or sparkling white undies;I doubt you would want someone going through them.

Unless I have given you permission to handle my phone, keep your hands off it.

Exception: If you have reached friendship level 7 (if you have to ask then you aren’t there yet)

Also important: If I give you my phone to look at something on the screen, don’t start browsing through my gallery, search history etc. Have a look and hand it back.

4. Excuse yourself to answer your phone.

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I don’t need to hear the latest gossip involving your best friend and their latest booty call gone sour. Also spare me the details of how you’ve just come from making deals worth “millions of shillings” ( yet you exclaimed in disgust when the waiter told you that the price of chips had gone up!). Keep your junk to yourself.

Exception: If you’re giving directions to where you are or just exchanging greetings with the person on the other end. Or if your conversation will be less than 5 minutes (unless you have multiple calls coming through).

3. Don’t hold personal conversations on group chats.

Some things are meant to be said in private. Keep them off the group chat.

Exception: If you are smartphone illiterate and have not yet discovered how to inbox/DM (Direct Message).

2. Keep your phone away while we are having a conversation.

It’s rude to start responding to texts and emails when we’re having a chat. Just rude!

It is especially a NO GO ZONE when on a date.

Exception: If I found you already deeply engrossed in texting or Instagramming etc and attempted to iniatiate a conversation.

1. K

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I think this is my biggest peeve. Though I haven’t received this in a while, its spot at the top of this list is reserved. Why, you ask? After I have taken the time to carefully word out and punctuate my text, how do you just decide to respond with “k”? As in, SERIOUSLY?

“K” communicates a strong lack of interest. You mean you lacked the capacity to type “Okay”. On a serious note, why are we friends again?

I know that this is not just a reservation of mine. There are many of us out there who cringe when they feel that they are in the heat of a conversation only to receive “k”.

Not only is it rude but disrespectful as well.

However, this rule can be flouted if I had just sent you a long (6 lines or more), boring and  unpuctuated text.

Exception: If I ask you a question [probably Chemistry] and the answer is Potassium (abbreviated K) 


While these laws should be almost sacred, we are all human. I also send the inappropriate LOL every now and then, so don’t beat up yourself too much if you feel that you’ve been a constant criminal. That is, however, no excuse to break the rules.

This list is not exhaustive so let me know what you feel I may have left out. Otherwise, keep the law (the smartphone one) and have a good week.

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