Please, stop it with unprompted phone calls
By Janis McMath, Senior Columnist
In the wise words of the Swedish-British singer Mabel, “Don’t call me up.” Seriously, STOP calling me without texting me! I know that humans in 2019 seem to have gotten used to unprompted phone calls but I believe we need a serious change because of the tools we have now. If we’re using cell phones, we are ALL capable of texting each other first and in my opinion, it is a very necessary courtesy that should be common.
Calling someone without texting beforehand is rude because it assumes that people should always be “on” and ready to pick up the phone at any time to have a conversation. I am not always available to pick my phone up. For example, I might be at the library studying in the quiet section, on a walk on a noisy road, at a party with friends, or literally having sex. We are all constantly in scenarios when a phone call does not make sense, so why do we just keep calling each other unannounced? I’m looking at you, employers and coworkers. Stop treating my phone line like a direct-access line and text me about your problems first! A lot of simple issues coworkers have called me about could easily be resolved by text.
Calling also puts me on the spot whereas texting me gives me time to mull over the question and put some thought into it. Some will argue that a phone call is easier, and sure it is—to the person who is calling and is ready for a conversation. That mindset is completely inconsiderate of the receiver of the call and how difficult it may be for them to pick up the phone.
I don’t see why people can’t text me first, ask me if I’m available for a phone call, and schedule a time. It is as easy as “Can I call you?” and a text back that says “Yes, in 10 minutes.” I also reject the idea of “Oh I’ll call them first and if they can’t pick up I’ll just text them.” NO! That is just as disturbing and distracting. If you call me and I’m not interested in picking up, I still have to be distracted by my phone ringing for the next minute or so. I have to manually turn of the ringer if I don’t want to hear my stupid Game of Thrones ringtone, but a text message is easy to ignore since the sound is so small and brief. Additionally, if you call me and I am sleeping, my ringtone will wake me up. A small text message tone is easy to sleep through.
I really think this is a necessary shift in our mode of communication so that a direct phone call can be reserved and universally understood as an emergency situation. If we were all courteous enough to text one another about when we want to set up a phone call, a direct phone call could hold much more meaning and people would know that they needed to pick up the phone ASAP.
So don’t call me up, don’t call me up—send me a friendly text message first.