Thursday, June 04, 2009

Phone Etiquette

I have phone issues, people.  Serious  phone issues. I cannot tell you how often I answer my phone and hear, "Oh, you actually answered," instead of "Hi, Melissa!"
 I remember when I got my first cell phone, I was completely obsessed with answering EVERY single call that came my way.  But the times they are-a-changing.  
Last week while at my pediatrician's office my cell phone rang three times (Thanks Mom!).  I knew who it was, but I was not in the position to get it.  My pediatrician kept saying, "You can go ahead and answer that,"  but I didn't want to at the time.  I knew who it was, and I knew I could call them back at a better time.  When I told him that he said, "I think that the younger generation is better with boundaries than the older generation.  We all had cell phones so people could get in touch with us at any given time.  We feel obligated to answer, and can't handle ignoring a call.  But you guys (um, I was pretty flattered to be part of the "younger generation") just get it whenever you want to.  That's impressive." 
Here are my cell phone true colors:
1.  I screen EVERY call.  If I'm not at a good place, or if I don't have the time to talk - I won't answer.  My kids play a big part in this, because as soon as I get on the phone, they want to talk to whoever is on the other line.  A few weeks ago I was being chased around the house by Maddie who was whining, "...but I want to talk to Delta TOO!"  
2.  If you don't leave a message, I probably won't call you back.  I am a firm believer in the answering machine.  Sure my cell phone has caller ID, but to me - that's not a good enough reason to call someone back.  I think this stems from the early 90's when my parents first got caller ID.  I'd get home from school, scan through the missed calls, and call back any friends that had called me.  On several occasions the callback made for some VERY uncomfortable conversations. Example:

Me:  Hi friend, I just got home from school and saw that you called.  What's up?
Friend:  Oh, hi - I was just calling to see if you could come over and play.
Me: OH!  Let me ask my mom.
Friend:  Well, actually since you weren't home, I called _________ and she's on her way over now.
3.  I don't carry my cell phone on me.  Ever.  If I am out running errands, it is in my purse.  But I never keep a phone in my pocket.  My phone does not beep when I miss a call.  So if you call, and I don't hear it, I will see that you called the next time I feel the need to look at my phone.  
4.  If by chance I DO have my cell phone close, and I don't recognize the number - I will NEVER answer.  I've answered too many on-the-spot calls, and they drive me nuts.  The Red Cross calls me every eight weeks to "remind me" that two weeks prior I was qualified to give blood again.  
5.  I DON'T have a text plan.  (I know, what's that about?)  So I rarely respond to texts.  It even charges me twenty cents to read every text that I open.  Lame.  

Perhaps I am behind the times, or even phone-lazy, but I don't think that having a cell phone makes me available at all times.  So I hope that laying it all out there will help anyone who has been offended by my terrible (as some would say) phone etiquette.  


Jodi said...

Okay - so I am now replaying, in my mind, the recent times that I have called and you didn't answer...but I think I always leave a message. Glad to know where you stand on the cell phone issue!
Oh...and sorry if I was the one calling while you were visiting the Dr! I promise, I'll be better!

Melissa said...

Haha. Oh, Jodi. I didn't write this to criticize anyone but myself. I know that everyone else is soooo connected, and I am still missing all of the phone savvy that is required in today's world.

...and you DO leave messages. :)

Mrs. H said...

I hate how everyone with cell phones assumes that just because you have a cell phone and can take it with you wherever you go that you will answer it wherever you are and have a conversation. I'm not someone who loves talking on the phone ( best friend and I had hours long phone conversations in middle school, and we lived five houses away!). I, too, screen calls, and I, too, don't call back unless a message was left. We have voice mail for a reason. Phew...I feel better getting that off my chest. Thanks, Melissa.
p.s. I do, however, love the text...

Wilson Family said...

Finally a cell phone kindred spirit. I loved this post!

mom said...

All of this from the kid that calls ME in a restaurant to ask me really important questions like..."what were those things that the Ghostbusters wore on their backs?"

I mean protopacs? to which she says...thanks...I knew you'd know..bye.

Glad to know your boundaries. I'll just wait to hear from you. If I don't go boundary haywire, I'll still answer every time you call.