These tips apply to people who are in the company of others.
1. Do not look at your phone while at the table
Unless you’re a surgeon and you’re on call, whatever is making your phone buzz can wait until the end of the meal. Checking your phone at the table is rude and indicates to the people you’re dining with that you think whatever’s going on on your phone is more important than they are. Even better…
2. Turn your phone off
Again, if you’re not on call and no one’s life hangs in the balance, your phone doesn’t need to be on when you’re enjoying people out there in real life. The bonus is that the slower you respond on Facebook and the like, the cooler people think you are. “Oh, he isn’t responding right away. He must have a life.”
3. Do not have lengthy personal conversations
Not on a bus, not on the plane, not at a restaurant, not at a party. Don’t do this anywhere that people are stuck listening to you whether they want to or not. If you need to talk in a crowded public place, keep it brief.
4. Do not take out your phone every time there’s a question you can’t answer
It doesn’t count if you just looked it up. You don’t get points for that. Sure, this can be helpful if there’s something everyone really needs to know, like what time the last train leaves. But if it’s some bit of trivia and you’re consulting your phone every 3 minutes, that’s overkill. Your friends would certainly prefer your company to the company of the you+iPhone hybrid zombie.
5. Do not use an obnoxious ring tone.
This is mostly relevant if you refuse #2. No one wants to hear R2D2’s attention beeps over and over and over again.
Disclosure: my personal conduct is much more extreme. My phone is on if and only if I need to make a call. I do not take calls. I do not text. I do not have any G’s, or internet of any kind. My conversations are kept to a max of 3 minutes.