Monday, October 12, 2020

I HAVE A QUESTION

My question is not earth shattering nor will it change anyone's life though it should make mine run more smoothly.

This is a etiquette question.  You see for all my life when it comes to making phone calls, I am rarely the caller and usually the callee. I'd sooner bat off an email than make a phone call though I usually enjoy those that I get.  I'll talk as long as the caller wants or be as brief as the caller wants.  It is their call after all. 

Once I am on the phone, you have my attention, just don't be hurt if I hardly ever call you. Don't know the reason for my calling phobia, it just is. 

My question is--who ends the call?  Is it mutual when you run out of conversation or is it up to the caller to end it? That is the approach I have usually enjoyed but without being conscious of it.

I have a neighbor who calls everyday more or less to make sure I haven't fallen and can't get up or to make sure I didn't fail to wake up period.  At my age and the world health conditions, I appreciate it very much. We usually have long conversations for she is locked in also. 

She usually lets me know she is ready to move on when she says, "Well I didn't mean to hinder you. Just checking in." And then we say our "Have a nice day and good bye."

Then one day she called when I was outside and I returned her call so she wouldn't send her husband over to check on me. We talked, talked and talked. The "hindering" never came up.  Some blank periods started looming and that was when I wondered if it were my responsibility to end the call. 

So I finally did and I could hear her relief in her "goodbye".

I am 81 and really don't know the answer to this question. Is it the caller's responsibility to end a phone call??  Thanks for your input and aren't you glad I gave you an easy one? 

53 comments :

  1. Good question...of which I have no answer. I usually say (to someone I know)...and, if I'm the caller, "one more thing, and I'll let you go."

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    1. Anni,
      That might even work if I'm the callee. Thanks.

      Delete
  2. Boy this is a good question, as I never considered it was the caller’s responsibility—but when you think about it, it just makes sense doesn’t it? I can count on one hand the number of people I feel comfortable spending time on the phone with—my sister, my niece, an old work buddy, 2 long-time friends. And like you Patti, I rarely make the call but when/if I do, I KNOW I’m the one who jokes “Well, now that I’ve thrown your day out of whack...” so I guess I do assume it’s the caller’s job.

    Unless it’s my sister—she’s a kind person but NOT a phone person. She’ll call but can’t bring herself to say she has to go, so she just goes utterly silent until I get exasperated and say “Shawn are you still there? I’m going to hang up now” and she perks right up. I get “If you must.” Yes I must!

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    1. Doug,
      Yep, sometimes the callers just can't end the call then I guess it is our job to end it. I'll keep that in mind.

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    2. Patti you're such a dear person that if I ever get on the phone with you, I'm not hanging up--you'll have to be the one who does it! :)

      Delete
    3. Doug,
      Aww, that was both funny and sweet. Thanks my friend.

      Delete
  3. I believe it's the caller who should decide to wrap up and end the phone call. Just like if they came over in person, they should decide when to leave. (Unless it stretches on for days.)

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    1. Florence,
      Ha ha, I've had callers that I am not sure they will ever hang up. But I agree, caller should end the call.

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    2. Unless of course the caller is a telemarketer!!! Then the olde etiquette rules go flying out the door! Ha!

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    3. Florence,
      Ha,ha thank goodness for caller ID. I never answer them.

      Delete
  4. I don't have long phone calls any more, but once upon a time it became obvious that some callers just didn't know how to end the call. It's a problem that I didn't even consider until you brought it up. I think the caller should be respectful of taking up the callee's time. :-)

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    1. Djan,
      Agreed. I mean they had a reason to have called. They should know when we have fulfilled the reason. If it is just to chat with no particular reason, that can go on for a while.

      Delete
  5. I'm exactly the same way about making phone calls...I don't know where my phone phobia came from either.

    That said, I think it doesn't matter who ends a call but common sense tells me that the person who placed knew they'd have a block of time to talk so they shouldn't mind if that person ducks out first. After all they could have intruded on something---baking, getting ready for a shower, a project, eating a meal, etc. etc.

    I'm almost always the person to end a call and sometimes I'll just say, "my ear is starting to hurt, I've got to cut you loose" or "nice talking with you, but I've got to go".

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    1. Jean,
      When they call is important. I have been known when just taking my dinner out of the oven to ask, "Will it bother you if I chew while we talk?"

      Delete
  6. I never thought about that. I have a friend that LOVES to talk on the phone and would happily talk as long as I let her. Whenever she calls, I always start the conversation with "I am about to do xyz but have a few minutes for you". I then start saying I need to get back to xyz after 20-minutes or I would be on the phone for 2-hours.

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    1. Sue,
      How smart to set an opening time limit. Can't argue with that.

      Delete
  7. My siblings and I call each other a couple of times a week. We talk for about ten or fifteen minutes. Mostly yak about the current state of affairs. I have arthritis in my left hand, the hand I hold the phone to my ear with. My sibs know when I say "My hand is starting to hurt," that it's time to say good-bye, no matter which one of us made the call. It's a little bit hard with my sister who wants to talk for a VERY LONG time, but I do finally get to say, "I gotta go. Bye!" Click.

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    1. robin,
      That is a shame about your arthritis but it really is a handy time limit on calls.

      Delete
  8. IMHO, I think there's a mutual responsibility here. The caller can state the purpose of the call; the receiver can identify any time constraints. Just be honest and polite. I think a personal phone call deserves attention and it's pretty obvious when the person on the other end is distracted. Some people text to set up an "appointment" for a phone visit. If the receiver can't be interrupted, call display/answering service allows for the call to be returned later. For some reason, I find texts to be more intrusive than a phone call. There seems to be more immediacy associated with a text. And who ends the text messaging? Does every text need to be acknowledged? And those emojis!

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    1. Mona,
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I don't have text abilities with a land line but have often wondered the same thing about emails. When is it Ok to not respond? Good question.

      Delete
  9. DH and his brother talk every Sunday for about 2 hours (mostly about football). But it's probably the only time he talks on the phone. The kids call me a few times each week and we generally talk about 15 mins. I very seldom do the calling - mostly because they work and I don't want to interrupt or because if not working, they are in the car and I don't want them to be on the phone while driving (although they call me while driving to and from work all the time) Still...
    When friends or family call, either can cut the call short by simply saying, 'Well, it's been good talking to you'... not sure it matters who.

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    1. Rain,
      I like thinking that either can end the call, just wasn't comfortable if I was the callee and didn't realize I probably should if the caller. That is a great ending line by the way.

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  10. I'd say, either one. Just like an in-person conversation. But one great thing about a smartphone. You can always say that the low battery warning just came on, so you have to go in a minute or two. Works every time!

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    1. Tom,
      Ah the plus side of having cell service. I don't and only have a land line at the house so I am out of luck with that cool line.

      Delete
  11. Does it matter? I don't ask this in a flippant way, but with those you know well, does it? I've never thought about it. If I want to stop talking, I just find a way to wrap it up. Now I wonder how I will feel about this next time I talk to a friend on the phone.

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    1. Inger,
      Ha ha, got you thinking now haven't I? Oh if I want to stop I can do it, I just wondered the proper etiquette.

      Delete
  12. When it comes to phone calls I have little to offer. I can not stand to get tied up in calls and really don't like to talk on the phone so I always use whatever excuse I can conjure up to get off.

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    1. Ginnie,
      Once I am engaged in a phone call, I just enjoy the talk. Just rarely originate one.

      Delete
  13. I also very seldom call anyone. I think who ever feels the conversation is over should stop hindering. (I liked that expression.)

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    1. Olga,
      Ha ha, isn't that the greatest expression? I hear it 6 days a week and smile every time.

      Delete
  14. I rarely make phone calls and don't receive many either. My friends and family normally shoot me a text which I answer at my leisure. We no longer use a landline. Sometimes, someone will call to check up on me, and we have a nice conversation, but I'm ready to get off when the subjects are wanning, so I don't care which of us says "gotta go now." One of our sons calls about once a week and talks to both of us separately, sometimes for a long time. I get the feeling he's telling us things he needs to get off his chest, so we're usually on the phone with him an hour or more. Finally, one of us runs out of steam and signs off. I've never really enjoyed phone conversations, I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because times of silence in a conversation seem normal when you're face to face, but seem awkward on the phone.

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    1. Barb,
      What an interesting observation about times of silence. Perfectly OK when seated next to someone, just awkward over the phone. Kind of like dead air on the radio.

      Delete
  15. I'm not a phone person either... Part of my reason is that I HAD to use the phone constantly in my job for many years.... These days, I count on my friends/family to call ME or text me (which they usually do) --even if it is just to check on me.

    I'm bold enough to tell someone that I'm busy --and have another call coming in, or that someone is at the door..... If I had a neighbor to call me every day just to 'check' on me, I'd politely say to her:"You don't have to call me which takes up YOUR time... Let's make a deal --that I would call you when needed." Sounds like this woman is lonely --and uses her phone as conversation/communication. SAD--but I would hate having someone do that to me every day....

    My ex-husband has a busy-body-nosy sister --and she used to call me A LOT... I finally told her that I preferred emails....She didn't ever get the message-- and I finally totally quit answering my phone.... These days, I don't hear from her... She's lonely and needs friends --but she was too nosy about the family (that I'm no longer a part of)... Sad --but true...

    Good Luck.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Betsy,
      Actually I really appreciate her calls. We often laugh and have good conversations. Besides, she knows I live alone, have 2 serious health conditions and she is just being thoughtful. I know if I needed them, they would be here. Like I say, I appreciate it. When you are old and alone, it is a kind thing to have done for you.

      Delete
  16. I am not a phone person either and I seldom call anyone. I let the caller set the pace but if I have something to do or I'm just not interested anymore I will say, "Thanks for calling. Take care. Bye"

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    1. Linda,
      To the point, kind and works. What is not to love?

      Delete
  17. I'm probably the wrong one to ask - I'm not a fan of being on the phone so I have a tendency to end the calls as quickly as I can, politely I hope, by saying something along the lines, "well I won't keep you any longer, thanks for calling."
    I do have one friend who can talk up a storm. One time we got disconnected - I didn't hang up truly, it was a glitch in the line - and she didn't realize it for at least ten minutes. I tried to call back but kept getting the busy signal. Eventually she figured it out and called back!

    Good luck!

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    1. Eileen,
      That same thing happened with my cousin and I. The line went dead and since I knew she was having trouble I didn't try to call back. Ten minutes later she called and said she had just realized I wasn't there. That is non stop talking:))

      Delete
  18. Good question!!! I don’t call people just to talk. Art and his sister speak to each other every week and she ends it saying, “I’d better let you go, I know you’re busy” or something like that. And it doesn’t matter who calls. She’s always the ones who ends it. Or she’ll say, “Is there anything else you need to tell me?” If I call my brother, it’s very casual (and only in an emergency). Either he or I will say, “OK... gotta go.”

    And this is why I don’t call people. I always text. Almost always! It’s so so so much easier. You get right to the point and that’s it.

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    1. Kay,
      Most calls I get are for "just talking". I am fine once I am on the phone and will stay as long as necessary--I just never initiate the call. I don't have texting abilities since we don't have cell service here but I am sure I would enjoy that.

      Delete
  19. I have a friend, who when she calls, I know I will be on the phone for at least an hour with her. Even when I try to complete the conversation, she cannot say good-bye. When she calls me, that is. When I call her, she is always the one to complete the call. I usually am the callee also because whenever I call anyone, I feel like I have interrupted something and the callee wants to go. I don't know what the etiquette is for it either. It depends on who you are talking to.

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    1. Snickelfritz,
      Think you are right and whom you are taking to can set the pace and ending. Sometimes there is no hard and fast rule.

      Delete
  20. Like Mona and others, I think its mutual. It would not be inappropriate to say, well the kitchen is waiting to be cleaned or just "its time for me to be constructive talk to you late kind of thing. As an aside, I have to good pals. A calls be in the morning and b calls A in the evening. This covers both the I can't get out of bed and or I'm stuck in the bathtub type scenarios. They have been doing it forever.

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    1. Barb,
      Goodness they have you timed don't they? The stuck in bed isn't bad but not sure I'd like that stuck in the tub.

      Delete
  21. Good question, never thought about it. I hate phone calls, I much prefer text messaging. I think the caller should end the call if it drags on, though my daughter never does even though she knows I hate talking on the phone. She starts off saying "I know you hate phone calls, but..." and then does not stop talking.

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    1. joeh,
      Had to laugh. My brother also hates calling but he is the one that always calls and then talks for quite a while. I am just glad he thinks enough of me to make the call.
      Think I would like texting too if we ever get cell service since I am a fan of emails.

      Delete
  22. I think it is the caller's responsibility to end the call, but I could be wrong. I very rarely call anyone myself, I hate talking on the phone, much prefer emails or text messages where I get time to formulate my answers instead of saying umm,,err, etc.

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    1. River,
      I am leaning that way also. I do like emails when I have something specific to say for much the same reason.

      Delete
  23. Generally speaking it is the caller who ends the call, I think. However, I would never hesitate to say I need to get off the phone for whatever reason and might or might not explain why -- depending on the other party as I could provide a true or "white lie" if I wanted to end a conversation whoever called who.

    Depending on your relationship, could say, "I just don't feel like talking right now." or "I'm not in a very good mood so we better talk another time."

    I usually enjoy talking on the phone and have never been bothered by family or friends with whom either of us can't end the phone call for any reason or no reason at all with neither of us feeling offended. We've long since established an understanding that if one or the other of us wants to stop talking we simply say we need to go now, or whatever else.

    I'm really surprised to read here that so many people don't like to talk on the phone, or that ending conversations is so difficult for so many. Just initiate being honest at the beginning of a phone relationship with others -- when I called or they called in the beginning we probably said something to the effect, "Am I calling at a bad time, if so let me know?" or "Let me know if you need to get off the phone and I'll do the same."

    Maybe my experience is because most of my phone conversations have been with people seen infrequently because they lived at significant distances and we didn't talk often. Local callers -- we mostly didn't talk long 'cause we saw each other in person. Now all are gone.

    So few are left now, only one good phone friend living now. Since we never see each other we have times of long conversations. She sometimes gets call from an out-of-state adult child or other, so abruptly we end our call so she can take it and we may or may not call back afterward -- all very loosey goosey. I've had occasions to do the same to her. Recent years we have sometimes been laughingly ending with,"I have to go pee now." So I'll end this comment on that note.

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  24. It's never occurred to me that there's a "who hangs up" etiquette. Interesting!

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  25. I tend to feel that it's the person who calls that ends it as they are kind of in control of the whole thing, and it's their phone bill too!

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  26. What amazes me most is the amount of people here who hate talking on the phone!

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