We know, technology is hard. You just got the hang of politely using your cell phone and now they spring video chat on you? It's not fair! How are you supposed to know not to FaceTime your boss at midnight without pants on? We'll tell you how. Just read this informative guide to not embarrassing yourself on a video call. Read it carefully. Pants are optional, for now.
LESSON 1: Thou shalt not start a conversation without confirmation.
Would you want somebody banging down your apartment door while you're in the middle of happy bunny pajama time? No? Then don't randomly place video calls to everyone in your contact list. A good rule of thumb is to consider if you'd stop by that person's house unannounced. Mom? She's good to call. Your co-worker? You should probably send a quick text or Skype message first. Something like, "Are you free?" always gets the job done.
LESSON 2: Call business contacts during business hours.
You remember how weird it was to spot your teachers living normal lives outside of school? Enough said. If you can't say it in an email, save it for the morning.
LESSON 3: Don't assume confidentiality.
Just as it's polite to let a voice caller know if they're on speakerphone, your friends should let you know if there's eavesdroppers off-screen that you can't see. But don't assume that they will. Before you dive into your embarrassing story, make sure the person on the other end is solo.
LESSON 4: Stay still.
The days of pacing while chatting on the phone are gone. If you decide to strut across your living room on a FaceTime call, you're likely to give your partner vertigo.
LESSON 5: Don't be vain.
Yes, it's cool that you can see yourself in the bottom left of the screen. But it does not give you license to stare at yourself the whole time. Glancing to see if you're still in-frame is cool, but checking your rear molars for this morning's breakfast is not. Remember, whatever you see in that small screen, the other person's watching at 10 times the size. Try to keep your eye on the big picture to maintain polite "eye contact."
LESSON 6: Don't video chat from the bathroom.
It's bad enough that people make regular phone calls while they're on the toilet. Please don't start sending Skype requests from your porcelain throne.
LESSON 7: Wear pants.
I mean, really. Is it that difficult to throw something on before you hit "call"? It's weird that we even have to say this.