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A request

Please, for the love of all that is wholesome and delicious, do not leave me a voicemail that consists entirely of "This is So-and-So. Call me when you get a chance."

This isn't an etiquette complaint, because standard phone etiquette as I learned it really doesn't require any more than that. It's purely a pet peeve. I know most people don't respond to that with "WHAT?? Tell me what you need!"

Here's the thing: I don't, as a general thing, much like talking on the phone. This might come as a surprise to those of you with whom I've cheerfully had hours-long phone conversations, but those have always been about something (usually fannish). There were meta thoughts to hash out, or fic to brainstorm, or whatever. I knew before I picked up the phone where the conversation would start, and it was easy to get into the groove of it, and once I'm in the groove of it, I'm fine.

But if I don't have a place to start, if there's just this nebulous "talk to this person" thing, I will not want to pick up the phone and call you. I think part of it is the whole Queen of Nonverbal thing: My brain wants a conversation to have more than just auditory cues, and gets restless if it doesn't get them. (You'll also never catch me on any type of real-time text-based chat unless I'm "meeting" someone there for a particular purpose. And of course, if there are details to work out about something, email is probably the more useful choice a good 75% of the time. Skype, however, is AWESOMECAKES.)

There's probably more to it than that, and all manner of weird exceptions, but the bottom line is, tell me what you want to talk to me about, and I'll call you back. Or don't, and I'll grumble and moan and then call you back. :-}


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 30th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
For a lot of this, I am so exactly the same way. :) I will cheerfully talk to my parents of butterflykiki for hours on the phone, but anyone else? Forget it. (Caller ID is the best thing that ever happened to me; I get to CHOOSE!.)

And actually picking up the phone to return a call when I have no idea what it's about? So. Unlikely. To. Happen. Email me, because god knows when I'll a) check my voicemail and b) return your call.

Also, the more-than-auditory-cues thing? Oh yeah. Which is why I only spend hours on the phone with people I know VERY well.
Nov. 30th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
Also, the more-than-auditory-cues thing? Oh yeah. Which is why I only spend hours on the phone with people I know VERY well.

That's part of it for me, but not all of it. Otherwise my poor mom would not be in constant despair of my being "just like your dad" and only calling when I have stuff to tell them, not "just to chat." :-]
Nov. 30th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
I generally assume that sort of voicemail means that something terrible has happened. :(

And I'm with you on the phone thing; I cannot stand making phone calls. I can just about call my friends, but cold calling or ringing people I hardly know for reasons unknown raises my hackles horribly.
Nov. 30th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
I generally assume that sort of voicemail means that something terrible has happened. :(

The "when you get a chance" thing, coupled with the caller's tone, will keep me away from that conclusion. (Especially when it's someone like today's inadvertent offender, a casual acquaintance who's highly unlikely to have me on his list of people to call with bad news, unless it were about his brother, with whom I've been casually acquainted slightly longer.)

My aversion,, thankfully, isn't that strong if I have a reason to call. It's just the nebulous thing that bugs me.
Nov. 30th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
This. And don't reply to my email with a phone call when the reply isn't long and involved.
Dec. 1st, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, switching the mode of communication without a practical reason is weird.
Dec. 1st, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)
After years of working in a call center, I refuse to answer the phone or call people back without a good reason for it. As far as I'm concerned, it is no longer my job to pick up the phone, and therefore I need not do so unless I have a good reason. If I'm not expecting a call or don't recognize the number, I don't pick up.

If someone leaves a clear message, I'll call back. If it's something too vague and random, then I don't feel obligated to respond. If they have a "quick question" there's no reason not to leave it on my voicemail so I can come up with answer before returning the call.
Dec. 1st, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC)
Don't blame you a bit. It's been quite a while since I spent any significant portion of my workday on the phone, but it still has bearing. I know I didn't mind it as much before.
Dec. 3rd, 2011 12:48 pm (UTC)
I can relate to this so hard. Skype is fun for me sometimes but folks that I used to chat with always insist on video as well as audio. That took some of the fun out of it for me, because of my self-consciousness and other people's different internet speeds.

But yeah, don't call me unless you state a reason. Email's better.
Dec. 3rd, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
I prefer to use video with Skype because of the whole something-missing-with-audio-only thing, but I certainly get why people don't always want to. Either way, though, it's a HUGE boon to international communication!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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