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iPod etiquette


You may be a music lover or a techno freak or both, but your attitude might come across as rude when you plug in your iPod without a care in the world. Here are some basic things you should keep in mind when you decide to listen to your iPod without sacrificing your manners.


Wearing earphones is like hanging a “do not disturb” sign off your nose. Like an engrossing novel, they help you avoid interactions with annoying strangers on airplanes or subways. Unfortunately, they send the same go-away message at work. If you hide behind it eight hours a day, your iPod is more likely to irritate co-workers.


It may be fine to use your iPod on the commute, but it’s more difficult to use it in the break room at work. When you’re likely to run into someone you know in a communal space, leave your iPod behind, or at least remove one earbud so you can hear someone greeting you; then you can remove the other earbud. If you don’t feel like greeting people, consider addressing that with your therapist.


Leaving your earphones on when someone is talking to you is like refusing to make eye contact. It looks as though you aren’t listening. Stop what you’re doing, remove both earphones, and pay attention. Removing only one earbud signals that you hope a conversation won’t last too long, or that a person is not important enough to warrant your full attention. Therefore, reserve this gesture for strangers on the bus.


Mp3 players are unwelcome at weddings, funerals, and other gatherings, and also in classrooms or places of worship. You should also avoid using mp3 players in restaurants because the waiter needs to interact with you and in waiting rooms so you can hear the receptionist call your name


If you work in the customer-service industry, iPods are out. No one should have to feel like they’re interrupting you to get service. Of course, your boss may have already mentioned this. iPods also have no place in office meetings. Even innocently setting your mp3 player on the table suggests that you’d rather be doing something else. This, though possibly true, will not help your cause during bonus time—and iPods are expensive, yo.


Yes, we know you like music. We can see that it moves you. This is because you’re always moving—bopping your head, dancing, drumming, even singing along. Please, stop it. Otherwise, we’re forced to feign interest in your childlike enthusiasm for a song we can’t even hear. It’s exhausting.


No one else should be able to hear your music. That constant buzz emanating from your headphones is only slightly less irritating than your tendency to hum.


Some people spend obsessive amounts of time assembling mood-appropriate playlists and unearthing obscure bands. Asking these people for a carbon copy of their iPods is a close cousin to identity theft. Instead, ask for a few recommendations or advice on where to look for music you might like.


Just because it’s common for people to denigrate one another’s musical tastes doesn’t make it polite. If you’re sharing a speaker system, respect others’ choices, and let everyone have a turn at the jack.


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