Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Verbal Abuse

“Free to talk?”

This represents a sent text msg and it seems simple enough to me. It’s a new society and it has officially become rude to just call somebody’s cell for casual conversation without a feeler. That my friends, is an unsolicited interruption our lives and as such, should be treated with courtesy.

The actual call is now a “Cry Wolf” privilege.

We have a social contract, a mutual understanding if you will, that if you call us it is important to speak with us right NOW. Your call will be answered on that basis, however if you are calling because it is merely convenient for you and you have not extended the courtesy to find out if it is convenient to us...then your privilege can and will be revoked. *Unless of course a regular phone-talk-live relationship has been established.

Just because it’s a good time for you does not mean it is a good time for us. Lives are happening and a call in the dark is akin to showing up on someone’s doorstep unannounced. You are dictating someone else’s time based on your momentary desire. To not utilize technology afforded is akin to saying “I know I could easily find out if they are free to talk but I don’t want to. I don’t want to make a small gesture of deference. I want to talk. I want to talk NOW!..and it’s not even urgent”

A simple text or feeler isn’t too much to ask. It is a grace, a consideration, a courtesy that says “Talking on the phone to you right now suits me. Does it suit you?”

Now if we are busy, busy with company or in the middle of something (watching a movie, exercising, doing our hair, using the lavatory, engrossed in a novel, having a nap, cleaning the house, fixing a latch, savouring a meal, contemplating life, balancing the check book) we can respond to a feeler text at a more appropriate moment with “In the middle of something. What’s up?” This exchange need not ruin what it is we are doing and affords leeway.

A phone call is ANSWER! ....... *ring* ANSWER! ....... *ring* ANSWER! ....... *ring* ANSWER! ....... *ring* ANSWER!

It’s not only selfishly’s annoying.

Even better, save the person asking what the necessity is by giving them the heads up. Take the 10 seconds in a text and get to the import of the incursion. “Free to talk? Regarding _____”.

That second part gives us all the info we need. It’s pleasant, non-binding and considerate. Giving us, the solicited party, a chance to gauge the necessity of timing for the whole live-talk enterprise.

We have the technology. To have it at our disposal and not use it is being defiantly rude it would seem.

Those that fight this evolution because “they” like live contact are missing the point. Live contact is still doable, it’s just no longer acceptable to be dictated from one side. It should now be symbiotic. This is about mutual respect for time and not about phone conversation.

In short. Do not call people’s cell unless:

a) You have established a phone-talk-live relationship

b) It’s very important you talk to that person immediately

c) You have confirmed symbiosis and we are in fact....Free to Talk

-Life is complicated and far from perfect but it is still great.


  1. I guess texting has become the ubiquitous, non-personal, form of communication? Simply not answering and letting it go to voicemail also works to let said caller know that you are unavailable, in keeping with the whole passive-agressive thing I guess. I mean, just because the phone rings (or vibrates or buzzes or makes other ear-grating sounds), does not mean that one needs to embrace the inner gunslinger, and whip out the device as fast as they can.

    I agree in part though, as phone calls of any nature, be it land-line or cell, can be very disruptive or annoying, while involved in some other activity (though the sound notifications of a received text can be just as irritating at times).

    Good post this week.

  2. Some people cannot text or they are not calling from phone that can text. I think the best way and most politically correct and polite solution is to just turn your cell phone off when you do not want a call or turn the ringer off if it annoys you. We have the technology to do that on any cell phone. Personally I find the idea of having to ask permission to call someone odd. If they gave you their number they gave it to you with the intention that you would likely use it...not ask to use it.

    I guess I disagree with this post albeit, a good and debatable read!

  3. Thanks Blake and Anonymous for the read and the comments.
    Anonymous my solution is a simple step of deference. Turning off the phone neglects all those who do show the courtesy and what if there really was a need for the call NOW?
    It would seem to me most people don't show up unannounced to your door. Most don't call your cell without a feeler. They get it.
    We are only talking about those that don't and have not established a "call whenevery you want/type relationship".
    Those few stubborn people who insist on doing it THEIR way are ruining it for we considerate people.
    If people always answer your calls then you have a live-talk relationship.
    If your calls are frequently not answered...then perhaps you are getting a sign.
    Most people have a couple offenders and we just hit the button to mute the ring so as not to be annoyed by 30 seconds of noise...and inconsideration