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20-40-60 etiquette: Time for new friends?

Friends constantly check emails, texts and the time when we are out to dinner. Is this the new normal? 20-40-60 answers, with Mary McReynolds as guest.

by Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman Published: October 28, 2012

But all you can do is be mindful of your own use of a cell phone with friends, accept some interruptions and enjoy the time with them anyway.

HELEN’S ANSWER: Unless you have an appointment immediately following dinner and you have told your group that you have to watch the time so you won’t be late or have an emergency telephone call you need to make, it is very rude to continue checking your watch OR your cell phone during dinner with acquaintances or friends or family members.

GUEST’S ANSWER: Mary McReynolds, book author: One should be discreet when checking one’s watch at social events and invisible using cell phones in public. In my opinion, cell phones should be used for emergencies only and left in the car while attending social functions, especially a lovely dinner that hosts have taken the time and effort to prepare.

The level of rudeness among many “cell-ists” is becoming epidemic and also dangerous on the road, with drivers juggling keypads the size of lipstick tubes. Also, trust me: No one wants to hear cellphone users cataloguing, broadcasting and otherwise proclaiming their presence in stores while shopping.

Good sense and good manners should accompany the use of cellphones. The worst is to hear the things go off in church. Put the mobile phones away when in public. And if you want to discuss, I’ll only be too glad to text you. :)

Signed, Mary McReynolds, Cellmudgeon of the first order

Callie Gordon is 20-something; Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s; and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. You’ll also find a guest answer. To ask an etiquette question, email For more 20-40-60 etiquette, go to

by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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