Pedant phone etiquette

A few months ago I chose to ignore a phone call and one of my step sons sucked in his breath aghast, and declared that his mother says that not answering the phone is RUDE.

Firstly, that speaks volumes about the difference between his mother and me.

Secondly, I would like to address what is rude.

You know what is actually rude? Being so full of yourself that you believe that any other person owes you so much that they are required to drop whatever they are doing whenever you choose a time for them to do so to pay immediate attention to you.

You don’t get to decide when I am available. You don’t get to judge my choices either. No one else gets to decide for anyone else what is and what is not a priority – ever. I am fully allowed to choose not to engage in conversation with you because I just don’t feel like it. Full stop.

I will quite frequently choose to not answer the phone.

I loathe the phone. So those of you out there who have actually had telephone conversations with me should right now be feeling pretty darned special. I don’t answer the phone for just anyone. As far as I am concerned, text messaging is a gift from God.

Before you telephone-attention-demanding extroverts out there object on the grounds that I need to keep my social skills sharp, let me also say that I do not avoid the phone because I don’t want to communicate or connect with other people. I am quite probably the most gregarious misanthrope you will ever meet. But I am gregarious at my own convenience, and conveniently misanthropic always. Always.

If it is imperative that you to speak with me, let’s set up a mutually convenient time and I will meet you for coffee or for a beer. We can go to the theatre, wander through the farmers market or have dinner. Then you don’t only get to speak with me, you also get to see my smiling face. Much better, no?

I just really, really, really, really don’t want to talk to your disembodied voice on demand.

At the tone, please leave a message.

2 thoughts on “Pedant phone etiquette

  1. Here here! I, too, eschew the telephone unless it is absolutely necessary. My husband is horrified when I ignore the infernal ringing during mealtimes and simply can’t manage to leave the damn thing alone. Let’s talk about this over coffee, or a beer, or perhaps a wander through a local farmers’ market.


  2. An unplanned phone call is like someone unexpectedly showing up at the door and demanding to be let into your home. It’s disruptive and, arguably, rude. Choosing not to answer simply means that I’m not inviting you in. Another time, perhaps, but not today.


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