Picture this: you’re on a first date, and you run off to the washroom – phone in hand – to text your best friend and update her on first impressions. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. No lady would ever pull out her cell while sitting across from a new love interest on a date — or would she?

In this social media, every-friend-at-your-fingertips day and age, what is the proper cell phone etiquette on a date?

On leaving your phone on the table: If your guy is a social media junkie and you just so happen to be too, it’s totally OK to leave your phone on the table.  In fact, it would be weird if you didn’t.  If you both constantly tweet and the like, acting this way shows just how things would be if you end up in a relationship.  It shows that you guys are on the same page.

On whether your phone should be on silent/vibrate/loud: Never (under any circumstance) have the volume of your phone on.  In fact, unless you are expecting a call from a boss or news from a family member (e.g., your sister is nine months pregnant and you’re meant to be in the birthing room with her when she goes into labour) then your phone should always be on silent.  The reason?  You don’t need constant sounds and vibrations interrupting your conversation.  With the volume on silent, you are forced to get through conversation without any distractions.

On when you can use your phone, whether it is left on the table or tucked away in your clutch:  When I first started blogging a few years ago, I coined a term in regards to phone etiquette called “The Domino Effect.”  Essentially, when one pulls out their cell on a date, the other is allowed to do the same.  Firstly, it keeps you occupied while he’s doing his thing so you’re not sitting there, lost in your thoughts about not feeling important and/or good enough, which also ensures you don’t change the vibe of the date.  Secondly, it’s a great opportunity to check your texts/social media feeds/update your friends on the date, without being obvious by leaving the table midway through with your phone.

On accepting phone calls:  Unless you’re on the best date, like so best that you see yourself pretty much marrying this guy and moving in with him tomorrow (hey, it happens!) or unless you’re expecting a call, as mentioned above (which, by the way, you should warn him about) then don’t answer your phone on a date.  It puts your date in an awkward position and is completely unfair.  Even if it’s a terrible date and you want to use the phone call as a ploy to get out of it, don’t answer your phone. Just don’t.  It’s immature and you’re better than that. And, if it’s the best date ever, you can answer and tell your friend you’re having a blast and have him say “hi” into the phone. It’s super cute, gives him reassurance and he’ll feel flattered.

Plus one point for you, my dear.

Jen Kirsch is a relationship expert, columnist and blogger. For quick tips and tricks, follow her on Twitter @jen_kirsch. Read her posts every Tuesday on Slice.ca.