Lawyers need to communicate.  The ones who face malpractice actions typically fail to communicate with their clients to learn what clients want, how they want to hear about it, and where the client’s business or personal needs may be headed. 

But I think lawyers – and most of the rest of society – have increasingly fallen into the trap of too much communication with their cell and smart phones. Cell phone use for many people seems to have become a natural extension of themselves – they inflict it on everybody around them. Just like drivers who hog the left lane while driving at half the speed limit and remaining oblivious to everyone else on the road, these cell phone users hog the physical space of those around them with the sound of their own voice, and are oblivious to how irritating it is.It’s not hard to create a list of pet peeves about these people.  

Here are some of mine: 

·        People determined to shout their conversations as loudly as possible, presumably to show off their wit or importance or intelligence (and of course doing the opposite).

·        People who board a plane and decide to place orders on their cell while sharing their private credit card information.

·        People who look for the proper signal area – with a constant "Can you hear me? Can you hear me now?" – but never seem to find it.

·        People who let their cell phone ring time after time, in a workshop or a concert or anywhere else where they can ignore the stares of those they annoy.

·        People sharing half of their life stories in an elevator or a crowded vehicle, completely unaware that others don’t care about all the “fascinating” details.

·        People who absolutely must interrupt their call with me to get another call rather than letting it go to voice mail.

My “favorites” are those who talk while in the stall of a public restroom. When I encounter one of them, I make as much bathroom noise as possible (flushing toilets or urinals multiple times, using the hand-dryers). Anything to let the individual on the other end of the phone know that the person is talking to them from a bathroom….

I’m sure you have your own special list of such people.  Share it and I’ll pass along the responses in a future post.  Maybe all of us together can generate enough “shaming” to change some behaviors.