Home Phone Etiquette

Everybody is accessible ALL the time now.  Most of the time, this is a wonderful thing.  My car breaks down? No problem! I just call for a tow truck on my cell.  Late for my dinner engagement?  No worries; I’ll just shoot them a text message.  However, there are those moments (and I know you know what I’m talking about here) when I really wish I was unreachable without having to explain why to the world.  I was reminded of this today while huffing and puffing during my workout, sweat pouring down my back,  as I received a non-emergent text message.   When I didn’t respond to the text within a minute,  I received three more calls in 90 seconds from the same individual.  Of course now I am concerned that this may be urgent, so I  rush to stop the rowing machine and clumsily grab the phone, still wearing my weightlifting gloves.  After the call (which was not an emergency after all), I found myself thinking: “Can we just go back to home phone etiquette, please?!?”

Let’s step back in time to the days when we only had two choices if calling someone: landline phones at our homes or businesses and payphones.  Back then, if someone called you three to four times in a row within a two minute timespan, the caller may have been labeled as overzealous, irritating, clingy, rude, and most definitely uncool.  Calling someone took forethought, consideration, and purposeful action.

For instance, take the time I planned a trip to Atlanta to see the first Lollapalooza when my parents thought I was going to the beach with my friend and her family.  The beach was only two hours away from my hometown, while Atlanta was a five hour drive.  It took a lot of plotting and planning for my teenage brain to remember to stop our car full of highschool rebels half-way through our travels to Hot’Lanta, locate a payphone, and have the necessary change to call home, all while smoothly selling my parents the lie that I was safely enjoying the Gulf with responsible adults.

{Sidebar: Listen to Jane’s Addiction’s “Whores” circs 1991 Lollapalooza}

Now let’s think about that scenario in today’s 24/7 age of constant communication – oh wait – my parents would bust me with the GPS tracking app “Find my iphone” as soon as our car merged onto the I-10 ramp headed north – nevermind.

By this example alone, one could argue that landlines encouraged creativity, organization, and independence in teens in ways that smart phones never will, but I digress…

All I’m asking for is a little consideration from the callers of the world.  Think about what the person may doing when placing your call, accept the silence if the party does not respond right away, leave a message, and give them ample time to contact you in return.   I think Lady Gaga says it best in her song:  “Telephone.”

If all else fails, pretend you are on this payphone:

and you just used your last quarter.

*This post also appears on the Mom Bloggers Club.

Author: Reformed Hippie Mom

I am a Registered Nurse, wife, mother to two beautiful daughters, writer, reader, & contemplative human.

3 thoughts on “Home Phone Etiquette”

  1. It’s always a struggle for me to find a balance because I don’t want to miss calls from the children’s schools or urgent calls, but I have to give myself the freedom to be truly alone to recharge my soul. I’m so glad that you have been able to to find a happy medium and I hope to achieve the same one day! 🙂


  2. About a year ago I realized my phone was for MY convenance and started using it as such. It was upsetting to quite a few people at first and I constantly had to ask them not to take it personally. They finally got use to it, and I regained control over what I was allowing into my days. I have found that I’m able to be “present” in my moments. No longer communicating with people when I’m with others or busy. No longer having my phone interrupt valuable time with family and friends. It’s been great!

    Liked by 1 person

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