We’ve all been there — completely annoyed by a friend who is more into the conversation happening via text than into you, the person right in front of them. And, sometimes we all may have been that annoying friend as we had some urgent business to take care of. Sound familiar? Texting and social media have drastically changed the world in which we live — for better and for worse. Let’s be real though: it’s nearly impossible to go to dinner and ban all phones. Babysitters, kids at parties, kids at home, parents trying to get in touch, waiting on a last minute business contract … or other numerous reasons, we all have valid excuses for needing our phones. But maybe some etiquette suggestions could help us all navigate the tricky waters of gatherings with friends and when it’s okay to pull out our phones. Today’s post lays out some rules that we thought were pretty right on and helped us, so we wanted to share.

social media rules

Sorry girls, but I did blur your faces out. This was just too priceless not to snap a photo — and, yes, while I was dining. The irony, I know.

Social media is still a brand new world and having some help, like these rules written by etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore, can help give us some boundaries for what to expect of ourselves and others. It’s just good manners, but manners many of us were never taught, as social media did not exist!

These etiquette rules were sent to us in reference to smartphone use specifically for dating. We found them completely appropriate, not only for dating, but for anytime you gather for a meal with friends.

#1: Be all there

When you’re on a date, especially a first date, the person you are with should always take precedence over calls you want to make or receive. It’s sad when couples are at a restaurant and are more interested in their phones than the person sitting in front of them. Put people first, technology second.

#2: Excuse yourself

If you are expecting a call that can’t be postponed, alert your date ahead of time and excuse yourself when the call comes in, if discussing private matters or confidential information. If you do take the call at the dinner table, keep it as brief as possible and avoid “cell yell.” Use your regular conversational tone when speaking on your phone.

#3: Avoid ridiculous and loud ringtones

Never put your phone (or your handbag, keys, sunglasses or anything you can’t eat) directly on the table. Keep your phone concealed and remember to silence the ringtone. If you forget and it happens to ring, don’t ignore it and pretend someone else’s phone is ringing. Apologize and silence it immediately.

#4: It’s permissible to pull out your phone three times on a date:

  1. To take a picture with your date
  2. To show your date pictures of a family baby or pet
  3. To find the answer to a perplexing trivia question that comes up in conversation

If on a date with multiple couples, show the photo to everybody at the table so no one feels excluded.

#5: Ask permission

If you must take out your smartphone while on a date, always ask permission first. Something like, “Do you mind if I take out my phone to…?” If taking photos with your date, always ask for permission before posting them to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to respect his or her privacy.

We hope this helped you as much as it did us!