1. There’s these neat things called folders.
Have you heard of them? Maybe you haven’t, because judging by the 234 apps you have on 17 separate swipe screens, you are living under a folder-sized rock. Do your thumbs ever get tired from all that swiping? Do you ever have trouble finding a specific app in all of the app vomit on your phone? If so, folders might be for you!
2. Hey, good news: 2006 called. It wants its ringtone back.
Unless you are literally my mom and you have selected the most adorkable songs for different people/things (e.g., “Popular” from Wicked for friends or “Heigh-Ho” from Snow White for your morning alarm), you need to find your ringtone chill and just be generic with the rest of us. There are like 50+ sounds you can choose from on your phone and I know that some of them should have a seizure warning and I know it sucks to not be special but do you really want “JASOOOONNNN DERULO” or the latest audio meme to be the thing that announces you have a phone call? Just settle for one of the skeumorphic tones like the rest of us.
3. I know we all think it about each other, but I still want to say it: Get. Off. Your. Phone.
If we are hanging out IRL, just set that bad boy aside. Don’t even put it in your pocket or anywhere on your person, okay? Literally, physically separate yourself from your phone; leave it in another room if you have to. Be present with me, and I promise to try and be present with you. Unless you have nuclear launch codes on that phone or your family is in crisis, I would really appreciate not repeating the question I just asked you seven more times because you were too busy trying to un-autocorrect “duck” to “fuck” in that text message to your friend. Please.
4. If you’re interested in getting where you need to go, use Google Maps.
I know it sucks to download yet another app and it sucks to have to click out of the default when you follow a link, but for the love of Jobs, please don’t use Apple Maps (free rebrand name: Mapple). It is unwieldy and though it is getting better all the time, I’m still not sure I trust it more than Google to get me where I want to go.
5. If you ignore a “turn your cell phone off” sign and your phone goes off, you look like an idiot and everyone else suffers.
If you regularly frequent locales that are prone to silence or lowered voices of the accidental or purposeful variety e.g., yoga studios, doctor’s lobbies, movie theatres, therapy appointments, and/or nail/massage/hair spas AKA you go out in the world, please familiarize yourself with A. vibrate mode and B. airplane/do not disturb mode on your phone. If I had a dollar for every time someone’s phone went off in savasana, I’d be able to pay those people never to come to yoga ever again. This would be nice but not very yogic of me. The point is: be considerate. Have a brain and remember to turn your phone off if you think there’s even the slightest chance it might go off at an inopportune moment.
6. Respect your phone: put a case on it.
Again, unless your phone has nuclear launch codes or you regularly offroad/mountain bike/aggressively jostle your body over rough terrain, your Otterbox case is probably a little overkill. Conversely, unless you are Albus Dumbledore and/or the most gifted and least clumsy person ever, the caselessness of your phone comes off as a little foolhardy. This is a serious, beautiful, tremendously advanced piece of technology you carry around with you on a regular basis. It is your lifeline to the world, to the latest photos of North West, to that Wells Fargo bill pay notification, to your worried Mom who hasn’t spoken to you in two days. Treat it with respect and be an adult who owns their occasional fallibility. Get a case. Just not an Otterbox.
7. It is not polite to look at other people’s phones.
Period. Even if we’re sitting directly across from one another and my phone is face up and gets a notification and you hand it to me so I can see it or, ideally, so I can just flip it over and ignore it (see #3), please do your damnedest not to skate your eyes over the screen in the attempt to glean information about who may be texting me or what email I just got or who just tagged me on Instagram. I know it’s reflex and maybe we even have the same notification sound so you get confused and think it’s your phone, but this is 2015, and eyes are no longer windows to the soul. Phones are.
8. Your notifications are showing.
So if phones are windows to the soul and I happen to (accidentally, of course) get a glance of your homescreen and see you have eight unread texts and 150 unread emails and basically an army of little red circle notifications erupting all over your apps, I’m going to think your soul is kind of disorganized and not very timely in its responses. Your phone is a reflection of you. Even if no one else sees it, strive to be the person with a homescreen free of notifications. I’m betting it will not only make you feel better, but probably the people on the other end of the notifications too.
9. There is a Yiddish word: schmutz.
As in: “You’ve got some schmutz on your face, dear,” says your grandma as she wipes away crumbs from your cheek. Schmutz is what happens when you don’t regularly wipe off the crumbs and fingerprints and oils and, yes, fecal matter, off of your cell phone screen. So carry around a sunglass cleaning cloth, or make a habit of rubbing off your screen with your t-shirt or a wetwipe. Don’t let your phone look like a BP oil spill. Be better than the schmutz.
10. This isn’t AIM circa 2004.
I like acronyms and abbreviations just as much as the next millennial, but you know what else is pretty cool? Proper grammar and spelling. U R 2 old 4 this.
I think that covers it. We all have shitty phone habits, just like we all have shitty life habits. The point is to be aware of them and try and do better. And by all means, if you feel like I have annoying phone habits, feel free to point them out. Just call me and leave a voicemail.