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General

Annoyance by phone

02.20.06 | 1 Comment

These days my time is spent doing one of several things. I am either: in class, studying, working, cooking, cleaning house, exercising, or spending what has become precious little time with my husband and/or pets. Occasionally I sleep. The point is that at any given moment, I am probably doing something that precludes answering the phone. Even if I am able to answer it, as I am a busy woman I have no problem admitting that I screen my calls. There are a few exceptions. I answer at any time for: family, medical personnel, and anything that seems like an emergency. I will also answer a coworker if I am on the clock, a friend if I can pay attention to the conversation, and those for whom I have made an exception on a case by case basis (late night before a lab or test, for example). Other than that, if it is important enough to call and talk with me, I expect that the caller will leave a message.

Now this may seem rude, but it’s not. It is a time and stress management technique and a secret to success. If I answer the phone right away, what are the odds that I will be prepared for the caller’s question/problem/request for information? If I know what is wanted of me, I can gather that information and make the most efficient use of both our time. Widespread use of email gives us the ability to respond when time allows for the most thoughtful reply. Why can’t the same philosophy be applied to the phone? We’ve all been on both ends of distracted phone calls, and though sometimes it cannot be avoided, to me this is more rude than letting it ring and calling back in response to a detailed message.

Not to mention that if a person calls my two numbers eight times in a three hour period without leaving a message, I begin to treat said caller as I would the boy who cried “Wolf!”. And for anything besides the aforementioned exceptions, the cutoff is 9:30 PM. Yes, I am a student, yes, we’re night owls, and yes, we have no children. But we get up before 6 AM, and if someone rings the house at 11:30 PM, we could very well be sleeping. Next time I’m answering on principle and giving said inconsiderate caller an earful.

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