Instead take this lapse in conversation to survey your surroundings like a baby gazelle on the great prairie of life. The moratorium on phone checking is doubly true on dates. Don't check your phone on a date. If you do, your date will think you're setting up another date for later, or texting your ex, or checking the time because you're bored.
Dates are already stomach churning enough without you acting like a drug dealer who wants to get back together with his ex. If you really must take a call while on a date, it helps to tell your date who the person is before you pick up, like "Oh it's my mom," and then throw in an eye-roll for good measure to show that it's you and your date against this crazy technological world.
If you don't think you can tell your date who it is you're about to answer the call of, don't answer it. Of course, there are times when you really do need to look at your phone. Times when a minor inconvenience to your companion means a huge convenience for you. In these situations by all means pick up the damn phone and sell those shares, but do it with some class. This does not mean you can now leave your phone sitting out on the table or bar. You should never leave your phone on the table, since not only will you be constantly staring at it, but it ensures that everyone is interrupted not only by the call you are expecting but by your phone's every beep, burp and flicker.
Put the thing on vibrate, and put it in your pocket. Note that in casual situations, preemptive warning is only really necessary for groups of less than five people. If your group is larger than that there's no need to make an announcement about your incoming phone call. Probably no one will notice. But what if you weren't an important communication, and then you get one that you need to respond to?
If you ask, no one is going to try to stop you from saying a quick thing to your friend, but the important thing is to ask. Warn your companion beforehand that you might have to slip out, and then do slip out. There is no excuse for answering your phone in a theater. The same goes for texting. Send him a text or an email thanking him for a lovely evening.
If you are feeling bold, you could even try the old fashioned way: Your date will be pleased that you took the time to thank him and it gives you an excuse to talk to him again. If the date went poorly, stick to the text or email. Simply thank them for the evening and suggest that the relationship will never leave the friendship stage. For example, I once went on a date with an absolute pig.
Afterwards, I sent him a text message: I think we could be really good friends. Pull out your cell phone at the dinner table. If you need to answer an important phone call or return a missed call, excuse yourself from the table. If you are in a restaurant, go outside. No one wants to hear your phone call. If it is important enough to deal with during a date then you want your privacy. And while your mother is never someone to be ignored, your date does not want to sit through your once-a-week reunion phone call with her.
Answer her call; tell her you are busy, and that you will call her back later. And while I realize this is outside the realm of my expertise, dare I say it, actually call her back. Abuse Google on your date. If you both are raving over the new movie you just saw, and want to know more about the production or its stars, wait until after the date is over to check the IMDB app.
Not only is it more polite, it gives you an excuse to call him the next day. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If, for instance, you are on your way to a new restaurant, use the GPS on your phone to get you there. No date likes unnecessary detours; she would much rather spend the time in the restaurant. Use your GPS to get you to your destination, then turn it off and return the phone to your pocket.
Avoid answering emails or text messages that might have been received while your phone was in your pocket. Your date will know you are doing more than just looking at options. Cancel plans via text message. If you went through the effort to ask someone out, chances are she went through the effort to get ready for the date. Give her as much notice as possible that you are cancelling, and provide a legitimate excuse. If something comes up last minute that affects your ability to be present for your date, call her, explain the situation, and ask for a rain check.
Then keep your word! Your girl will love that you shared what was going on in your life, and be happy to reschedule. Call the next day for best results. I told my date up-front that I hated it when people texted in front of me and asked if we could try turning our phones off during dinner. As we approached the new sushi restaurant I was dying to try, we switched our phones off and placed them in my purse.
I actually learned a lot about him, since we were free to talk over our seaweed salad and sashimi.
Cellphone Etiquette: When To Check, And When Not To
The Dos and Don’ts of Cell Phone Dating Etiquette
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