In conjunction with OnePoll, Carphone surveyed the mobile habits of 2000 smartphone users in the UK to find out what habits annoy us most – and which habits we’re guilty of ourselves – in a bid to bring back good old-fashioned phone etiquette.
Loud phone conversations are the nation’s worst mobile phone habit, with almost half of us (46%) expressing this as an annoyance. Texting while walking and not looking up closely followed, and then using your phone while someone is having a conversation with you came in third place.
We might judge others on their mobile bad manners, but 7 out of 10 (69%) smartphone users admit to at least one bad habit themselves. While two out of five adults are annoyed by people texting while walking and not looking up, 1 in 10 are guilty of it. Rarely answering the phone annoys a third of us, but 1 in 5 are guilty of not picking up the phone.
Phone habits also vary when looking at regions across the country. In Scotland, taking too many selfies reigns supreme, whilst keeping your key tones on annoys people in Wales the most. Oversharing and drunk dialling/messaging in Northern Ireland is the biggest annoyance, and in London playing loud music through your phone in public is the capital’s most prominent pet peeve. In the East Midlands, putting calls on loudspeaker is regarded as the most annoying.
In the workplace, smartphone users admit to checking their phone during work a staggering nine times a day, and over half of us make or take at least one personal call a week while we should be working. Despite being in the office environment, this doesn’t stop 65% of employees sending at least one text whilst they should be working – and just under half of us browse social media not for work purposes.
Smartphones also influence the way we interact in our personal relationships and our home life, with more than a third of Brits (35%) admitting they have zoned out on a partner while using a smartphone. 1 in 5 of us have had an argument with a partner or friend for being glued to their smartphone when they should have been listening – highlighting how smartphone use impacts the way we operate in real life.
A whopping 60% of us admit to ‘double screening’ – that’s simultaneously watching TV and using your phone – with over half (54%) doing it on a daily basis. More women (68%) double screen than men (52%), suggesting that women are better at multitasking. More women than men are also more likely to triple screen than men.
When looking at gender differences, whilst women are more likely to take a phone call while using the toilet, their most common bad habit is not answering the phone at 25%. For men, hanging up while someone is still talking is the most popular habit.
Despite Brits feeling so strongly about bad mobile habits, most don’t do anything about it with half of us (49%) being prepared to ignore it. 29% will make a point of being annoyed without saying anything – with 15% huffing or sighing in annoyance, and 14% choosing to stare or glare. Findings show only 1 in 5 Brits will actually say something.
The UK’s top ten worst mobile phone habits
1. Loud phone conversations (46%)
Bare-faced raving down the phone within a 10-metre radius of the nearest person is the habit that ticks off Brits more than any other bad mobile behaviour.
The solution: Loud and proud? No problem. Just walk twenty paces from the closest person and let it rip. This works in most places except the library.
2. Texting while walking and not looking up (41%)
We’ve all been stuck behind someone shuffling along the path while engrossed in a group chat, morning selfie or unmissable Snapchat moment.
The solution: If you think you can walk and text without looking ridiculous, trust us: you’re mistaken. Ditch the slow-motion texter’s shuffle for a playlist or podcast. You can answer that text when you’re not walking down stairs, across roads or into lamp posts.
3. Texting/looking at your phone while someone is having a conversation with you (40%)
Nothing says, ‘you’re boring me now’ like staring at your phone while someone is talking. It’s the kiss of death for any conversation – it might even be worse than yawning.
The solution: As tempting as it may be to send that text, now is not the time. You’re having a conversation, so try to maintain eye contact at all times. Texting with your fingers while staring blankly into someone’s face and pretending to listen doesn’t count. You know who you are.
4. Oversharing – loud and highly personal phone conversations (38%)
When someone broadcasts the scandals of their personal life over the phone while bystanders are helpless to escape the gruesome details.
The solution: Even if you have the gossip of the century, try to keep it PG in public. You never know who might be listening. It’s probably just a stranger, but it could be a neighbour… or maybe even your boss.
5. Putting calls on loudspeaker in public (37%)
If there’s one thing worse than overhearing the mundane details of someone else’s phone call, it’s hearing both sides of that conversation through a very small speaker.
The solution: Headphones. It’s that simple.
6. Talking to other people while on the phone (37%)
It might seem like multitasking to you, but if you’re holding two conversations at once, chances are you’re concentrating on neither.
The solution: Unless you’re on a video chat with your extended family, there’s really no excuse for talking over someone on a call. Stick to one chat at a time.
7. Taking a photo of every single meal for social media (34%)
Pouty face? Check. Downwards facing camera? Check. Album full of photos of just you in the exact same pose? Check.
The solution: There’s nothing wrong with taking selfies. Heck, create a whole selfie album if you like. Just throw in a landscape every now and then.
8. Hanging up while someone is still talking (32%)
This might seem like a bold way to cut off a rambling caller, but if you’re on the other end, it’s just plain rude.
The solution: There’s got to be a better way to wrap things up than hitting the red button. “Goodbye” works. Sometimes the old ones really are the best.
9. Rarely answering the phone (31%)
We all know that person. The one that never picks up their phone even though we know it’s probably in their hand.
The solution: It turns out twice as many people expect an immediate response to a message than they do to a missed call. So, try dropping them a text. See what happens.
10. When someone rings you and you immediately call back but they don’t answer (27%)
Here’s what happens: They call you, you call them back and…it goes straight to voicemail. Makes you wonder why you – or they – even bothered.
The solution: If it’s that important, they’ll call back. We hope.
Over half (56%) of smartphone users in Northern Ireland get annoyed when someone texts/looks at their phone while they’re having a conversation.
The biggest pet peeve in Scotland is people who text while walking and don’t watch where they’re going (50%).
In England (45%) and Wales (46%), loud phone conversations were voted the worst habit.
Men hang up, women don’t answer the phone
We might judge others on their mobile bad manners, but 7 out of 10 (69%) smartphone users admit to at least one bad habit themselves. So, are we a nation of hypocrites?
- While two out of five adults are annoyed by people texting while walking and not looking up, one in 10 (11%) are guilty of it.
- Rarely answering the phone annoys almost a third of us (31%) but 1 in 5 (21%) are guilty of not picking up the phone.
- 1 in 10 (11%) smartphone owners have taken a phone call while using the toilet – women are more likely to do this than men – even though it annoys 1 in 5 (19%) people.
- If you’re a man, your most common bad habit is hanging up while someone is still talking (17%)
- Among women, the most common bad habit is not answering the phone (25%)
Turn your key tones off in Wales, and avoid a selfie in Scotland
It’s better to avoid certain habits, depending on where you live. Of these unpopular habits, here’s where they annoy the most people:
- Taking too many selfies in Scotland
- Keeping your key tones on (the typing sound) in Wales
- Oversharing and drunk dialling/messaging in Northern Ireland
- Playing music through your phone in public in London
- Putting calls on loudspeaker in the East Midlands
- Rarely answering the phone in Yorkshire
- Wearing wireless headphones (so it looks like you’re talking to yourself) in East Anglia
- Not saying goodbye in the South West.
More than a third have zoned out on a partner while using a smartphone
It’s no wonder certain mobile behaviours have become a bugbear when we’re displaying bad habits in every part of our lives.
- Over a third (35%) of us admit to zoning out on a partner while using a smartphone. While almost 1 in 5 (18%) have had an argument with a partner or friend for being glued to their smartphone when they should have been listening.
- Three out of five (60%) admit to ‘double-screening’ – that’s simultaneously watching television and playing on your phone – with over half (54%) doing it on a daily basis.
- More women (68%) double screen than men (52%)
- Women (41%) are also more likely to triple screen (use a smartphone while on a laptop/tablet and watching television) than men (32%).
Of people that use dating apps:
- 1 in 5 admitted they swipe right to everyone.
- Over a quarter (28%) said they swipe right and then don’t message even though the same number of people say they find it annoying when a match doesn’t message.
Going out with friends
- Around a quarter (23%) of people regularly check messages and social media on a night out
- Almost half (48%) of 18 to 24-year-olds regularly check messages and social media, but almost 20% (19%) of 45 to 54-year-olds do the same.
- Around 2 in 5 (37%) of 18 to 24-year-olds say they have their smartphone in their hand the whole time on a night out.
- Smartphone users admit to checking their phone during work a staggering nine times a day.
- Half of us (51%) make or take at least one personal call a week while we should be working
- Almost two thirds of us (65%) send at least one text while we should be working
- Just under half (46%) of us browse social media at work (when it’s not for work purposes). 1 in 10 (11%) admit to doing it 3-4 times a week.
- 51% of us admit to browsing the internet on our phones while we should be working
Half of Brits will ignore bad mobile habits
In true British style, when faced with an annoying habit, almost half (49%) of us are prepared to ignore it.
- 1 in 5 will say something
- Around 1 in 3 (29%) will make a point of being annoyed without saying anything
- 15% will huff or sigh in annoyance
- 14% will stare or glare
- 10% don’t know what they’d do in the situation
More information on Carphone Warehouse’s research is available here.