Perhaps one of the most irritating things is when someone speaks to you with ear buds in or headphones on. It makes you feel like they are not even paying attention to you. In truth, they probably are. But that really doesn’t give them an excuse to appear to not care what you say.
If you are listening to music, there are certain rules you should follow. Even though this applies to all mp3 players, C.D. players, etc, I call it “iPod Etiquette” because it rolls off the tongue easily.
There are some very basic rules as to when you should not listen to your iPod. (With a few qualifiers, see below)
- When you are in a social situation that requires lots of interaction with other people.
- When residual noise coming from your earphones might distract people.
- When you are speaking to a group.
- When you have been listening to it all day (you need a break).
This is by no means a comprehensive list. Take the first one as an example. An iPod can be a good way of shutting yourself off when you have had too much social time. This is perfectly acceptable. But the rule is do not try to interact with people for extended periods of time with ear buds in your ears. Now, in some occasions it is appropriate to have one earbud in. But you have to judge for yourself.
That said, there are several times when using ear buds is definitely appropriate.
- When you are in your own home (particularly if you are alone).
- When you are on rapid transit, (who wants to socialize with that crazy old man?).
- When you are on a car trip that doesn’t have much interactions (either when you are on your own or when it’s a long one were people don’t want to talk the whole way)
- When you are doing something non-social that you need to focus on (if, of course, music helps you focus).
Of course, in the end, you are the one that needs to make the judgement call. However there is one general rule. If you are going to talk to someone, in any capacity, make sure at least one of your ears has its full attention on them. This will make them feel better, and listened to for that matter. This post was not meant so much to to tell you everything you need to know, but to raise awarness. I don’t think very many people actually know how frustrating it can be to others when they are listening.
What about you? Do you have any iPod etiquette that you follow? Perhaps it is different from mine. I would love to hear about it so why don’t you leave a comment below?