Mr. Telephone Man: The new phone etiquette

Hello! Today, we’d like to discuss telephone etiquette. Who actually calls anyone these days, right? Which is why we feel a little refresher course is in order.

No calls after 10 p.m.

Recently, a reader told us the harrowing tale of 1:30 a.m. call from a hammered merrymaking friend. During the work week. No, it was not, as she worried, an emergency, which we both agreed is the only time adult humans should call one another at 1:30 a.m. Otherwise, consider the “cutoff” 10 p.m. for the childfree and 9 p.m. for parents, unless you literally just left that person after cocktails, dancing or some other event or you’ve been told specifically by the other party that calling later is A-OK. (Enjoy this clip from “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” where Larry thinks the “cutoff” is 10:30 p.m. and he gets a lesson from Julia Louis-Dreyfus).

This morning, we received a lovely text message at approximately 7 a.m. (CST) from a much-loved family member in the Eastern timezone, where — if you don’t want to do the math — it was around 8 a.m. Normally, we’d be against any form of communication at this hour, but we’ll give him a hall pass, because he knows what time the Re-find gang gets movin’ in the  mornin’. Typically, one should refrain from calling until after 9 p.m. in the timezone of the other party.

Please note that the same rules apply for texting, because many people keep cell phones near the bed for reasons we can’t fathom, other than perhaps they don’t own an alarm clock.

Additional things to note:

When you call, ask “Is this a good time?”

If you are the caller, it is up to you to end the call in a timely fashion. The recipient is at your mercy, don’t make it awkward for him or her.

Try “setting an appointment” first, so that you can ensure that it’s a good time to chat and that the person isn’t caught off guard, because quite frankly, the telephone is an interruption, no matter how cute the ringtone.

Speaking of ringtones, go with the least annoying type and keep it on a low volume. Don’t be “that person.”

Speaking of “that person” don’t have private conversations in public, where others can overhear; don’t talk loud, you aren’t that important, even if you are that important; don’t talk or text or FB or anything involving your phone at the dinner table or when you are supposed to be socializing with the people in front of you.

And breathe.

If you want to read more about phone culture, read this fun story from the New York Times, “Don’t call me, I won’t call you.”

What’s your biggest phone etiquette pet peeve?

On that note, have a great day! We’ll call you later.

Cheers!

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2 thoughts on “Mr. Telephone Man: The new phone etiquette

  1. kekemichel says:

    Hi,
    Both of our blogs share the same tag, “etiquette,” on Word Press, which is how I came upon your blog article. This is a fascinating and timely article. You hit a lot of points that we need to heed. One point that stands out is using one’s mobile device while at dinner or socializing in a group. That is such a new phenomenon that has corrupted good communication skills. On the last episode of Celebrity Apprentice, there was a lot of that happening and it was striking. It happens everyday. Also, I like the point about when you are the caller, be the conversation closer. OMG, that is one that I uphold strongly, as well as calling people at appropriate times. Thanks for such a timely blog.
    ~Peace

    • Melanie Spencer says:

      Hello Keke (is it?). Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m loving your blog too, which for anyone reading this comment thread is http://blackfemaleandhappy.wordpress.com/. Beautiful imagery and such a great message. I’m glad there are a few of us out there spreading positivity and good manners! The caller being the closer is a firm rule in my family. I think my granny started it and we all do what Granny says! Have a happy Friday! Cheers!

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