Overhearing Conversations: Communication Ethics

Overhearing Conversations: Communication Ethics
Overhearing Conversations: Communication Ethics

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Overhearing Conversations: Communication Ethics

According to research, overhearing a one-sided conversation is more annoying than eavesdropping (Bianca 2011). It’s even more annoying because you cannot avoid overhearing the conversation. The loud talks about one’s private life or how they behaved in a party are annoying. While I was in a restaurant taking a quiet lunch, a woman across the table made a call that was quite inappropriate.

She seemed to have been talking to her husband about their vacation and talked to him as if she was alone in the restaurant. She was loud and as she gave details about the requirements for the vacation one couldn’t help but overhear. She talked the entire time I was in the restaurant and the fact that everyone else was quite made it impossible to overhear her.

Overhearing one side of a conversation becomes uncertain and unpredictable making one’s brain get drawn to it to fill the other parts even when someone was not eavesdropping. According to Bianca (2011), though cell phones are making people rude, it doesn’t have to be that way. Top three phone etiquettes include lowering the voice while making calls in public, not being personal when there are other people present, and not taking calls while a person is already engaged in a face to face conversation.

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Cell phones can be so distracting if not used in a proper manner. With everyone now owning a cell phone, one becomes a party to unwanted conversations often. Otherwise, cell phones don’t have to be a bridging gap between people.

To avoid distractions and annoying others, it is advisable to lower one’s voice while in public, avoiding private discussions if there are other people near, and asking for permission from people close if you have to take a call when having a face to face conversation with others.


Bianca Bosker (2011). Cell Phone Etiquette: 15 Rules to Follow. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/26/cell-phone-etiquette-15-r_n_514927.html

Wood, J.T (2014). Communication Mosaics: An Introduction to the Field of Communication. Published by Wordsworth, Cengage Learning.

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