Monday, May 13, 2013

Phone etiquette

Telephone and cell phone etiquette has gone out the window. Yes, this is going to be about social (not business) telephone etiquette, but not what you are thinking. This is not about talking on the phone while your dinner partner is left alone to eat his or her meal.

I am talking about taking calls while you are already talking on the phone with someone. I don't like it. It is rude, inconsiderate, thoughtless, and discourteous.

There is something that I sometimes do to soothe the irritation that erupts when someone calls me  and then interrupts our conversation to take a call from someone else. I hang up. Then later if they call back I say that we got cut off. Or if there is time, I say, "Oh, you take the call and call me back later." Then I hang up gently.

I would rather that people decide with whom they are going to be speaking and then commit time to speaking with that person. If you call me on the phone, then speak with me. If your phone rings while you are speaking with me, then either let the phone ring or hang up with me and then answer the phone and speak with the other person. Don't make me wait until you decide with whom you want to speak.

I realize that there is always an emergency that could happen, but most calls are not emergencies, and it becomes disgustingly frustrating to be speaking with someone and then be  put on hold for a long time. It is just as irritating to be put on hold for a little while and then be told, "Sorry, I have to take this call."

So that is why I sometimes just gently hang up and then later, if called back, say oh dear, we got cut off. But if someone's phone rings and he or she says "Excuse me, my phone is ringing," I prefer to say, "OK, bye for now, then," and quickly and gently hang up before they can ask me to wait.

Life is too short to wait for inconsiderate people, but also, it all depends on my mood. If I am feeling particularly mellow I might sit around and wait for a little while, but not unless.


9 comments:

CrystalChick said...

I agree with you, but will also confess to having 'call waiting' and 'caller i.d.' and using them both. I have put one person on hold to take a call from another, but it depended on the situation. I certainly wouldn't do it every time. If I'm chatting away with a girlfriend and my husband calls, she will probably understand that I want to find out what he needs. If I'm talking to my mother-in-law and a girlfriend calls I'll not answer and let her leave a message. I guess that could get confusing... one person seems more important than another. But that's not it really. There are times I've not taken a call from my husband if I was on the phone with a friend and she was upset or sharing something important. Etc.
It's both a blessing and a curse to have the technology we do today. It's a balance to find the line between managing all our communications well or rudely.
I've been put on hold, sometimes I'm understanding of it, other times I feel a little put off. One time, I took my nephew out to lunch and he was sending and receiving texts from a girlfriend pretty much the whole time. That was very annoying. I should have said something.

Interesting topic!

Shelly said...

The lack of phone etiquette is something that truly bothers me. I'm not one who's tied to my phone anyway, but it seems like even people who are should have a little bit of polite sense about it.

DJan said...

I got a new phone in the fall and haven't mastered taking two calls at once. If my phone rings while I'm talking to someone, I let it go to voice mail. It's easier, too. :-)

HermanTurnip said...

This x 1000! Yep, being put on hold for long lengths of time is discourteous at best. I'd rather be asked if I want to leave a message or be transferred to voice mail than being kept on hold for any great length of time. It's just one of those things are rubs me the wrong way...

Dee said...

Dear Lorna, I've thought to myself that I was being discourteous when I did this, i.e., took another call while talking with a friend. Your posting helps me decide that from now on I'll say "I'll call you back"--if I'm expecting an important call. Or I will simply ignore the signal for another call. Thanks for helping me think this through. Peace.

Lorna said...

@Dee---I'm so glad that something good happened because of my post. Thank you.

A Lady's Life said...

Today with cell phones and texting,I think it's all gone over board.
What do people have to say that is so important it can't wait?
I agree. People are not taught manners today and there is nothing you can do about it.

Jeff Doyle said...

You made an interesting point. I think most people think they can get away with such behavior because that's how we tend to talk in real life. We are talking with someone, and someone else butts in and the next thing we know there are three of us talking together. The problem is, it's a lot different on the phone. We can't see each other, and only have our voices to tell the other person that we're still listening and devoting our attention to him/her. So when that person diverts his/her attention to the other caller, we tend to feel offended.

Jeff Doyle @ SmileDogToronto.ca

Lorna said...

To Jeff Doyle ---
I don't see in-person conversations as being the same as phone conversations. Phone conversations allow a caller to leave a message if he so desires. In-person conversations don't allow that option.

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