Can’t talk? Don’t answer!

Of all the annoying things which happened yesterday, the most annoying was a disrupted telephone conversation. We’d just started an important (but not urgent) discussion when I was told, “Hang on, I can’t talk now.”

Well, if you can’t talk, why answer the phone?

With the topic left hanging, I’m sure we both felt uncomfortable for the rest of the day. But if the ringing phone had been ignored, we could have discussed it later — when we both had the time to treat it with clarity.

Why do people give a ringing telephone such priority — even more priority that what they’ve already committed to at that moment?

6 Replies to “Can’t talk? Don’t answer!”

  1. My pet hate is if I’m being served in a shop and the phone rings: the shopkeeper inevitably puts me on hold, instead of the phone.

    And don’t we all hate the wrong number callers who immediately slam the phone down, instead of ‘wasting’ two seconds on an apology?

  2. I find “call waiting” really offensive, like the other incoming conversation might be slightly more interesting.
    If someone really needs to speak to me that badly, then surely they will phone back later/arrive on my doorstep?

    I had no probelms saving some dosh by having the feature disconnected an am amused that it is the least technical family members with the least crucial incoming calls who still have it connected.

    I’m also refining the art of “letting the phones ring” or even just switching them off. I’m amazed at how many of our friends feel they must race to answer as soon as the ringing starts, garth has a term for this, I can’t recall it.

    I find it is getting quite bad for some, almost as panicky as responding to an emergency alarm or (worse still) the alarm clock during a thick and heady dream.

  3. Zoe, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. While the marketing people describe “always connected” in terms of “freedom” — it’s only the “freedom” to have your lazy day on the beach with your family disrupted by work or advertising.

    We need to take control of our time, and _that’s_ where we’ll find this freedom thing.

    That said, being available in a different concept in a business context. In an emergency, you want the plumber to answer the phone right now.

  4. Richard, most of the time my landline is diverted to my mobile, so I usually have caller ID on whoever phones and hangs up. Sometimes I call them back, “Hi, you called me but the line dropped out, how can I help you?”

  5. Call waiting is the pits.

    Just because we have a technology does not mean it is necessarily a good idea.

    Isn’t it weird how we tend to mindlessly react to a piece of beeping/ringing technology? Almost like the cries of a baby. I also loathe appliances that beep unnecessarily…

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