Wednesday 15 August 2012

Mommy Rotten's School of Phone Etiquette

Not too long ago I made a shocking discovery.  Frick has no idea how to carry on a phone conversation.

I don't remember needing to be told how to talk on the phone.  I think I just learned it by listening to my mother talk on the phone and by being allowed to answer the phone so I could hear the adults calling our house and saying things like, "Hi, may I please speak to..."

And it hit me that Frick never had these opportunities.  We don't let him answer the phone because our standard practice is to let the call go to voice mail and then call whoever it is back.  This was because of the unbelievable volume of telemarketing calls we were getting.  Yes, we had call display but sometimes it would say "private caller" which could have been one of our friends or those devious telemarketers.  Up until recently the phone wasn't for Frick anyway.  But now he's at that age where kids are calling our house every day.

This was how I discovered that Frick's friend Maverick also had terrible phone etiquette.

Apparently when Maverick calls our house he uses his father's cell phone which wasn't showing up on our call display.  He would call, hang up on our voice mail, and then call right back a millisecond later, repeating this process several times before giving up completely.

At first I was pretty sure I did not want to talk to whatever asshole thinks this is acceptable behaviour, but after two weeks of it I most definitely wanted the pleasure of giving that person a piece of my mind!  Instead I found out it was just Maverick and ended up patiently explaining to him the concept of "Please leave a message and we'll call you back."

It took another two weeks for him to get the idea.  Of course this point is now moot since I put our number on the National Do Not Call list and am no longer wary of answering the phone.  Which is why I am now treated to riveting conversations with the eloquent and loquacious young Billy.

Me:  Hello?

Billy:  Hi.


Me:  Umm, hi?


Me:  Who is this?

Billy:  Uh....where's Frick?

Me:  Is that you, Billy?

Billy:  Yeah.

Me:  Okay, Billy.  Next time try saying "Hi, this is Billy.  May I please speak to Frick?"

Billy:  Oh.  Yeah.

And of course the next time he calls we do this all over again.  And while it's nice to know that my kid isn't the only one who is totally clueless about phone conversations it can get annoying.  Like, make-you-begin-to-question-your-sanity annoying.  As in my delightful exchanges with Kix.

Me:  Hello?

Kix:  Hello?

Me:  Hello?

Kix:  Hello?

Me:  Yes, hello.  You know, we can keep going like this all day.  Why don't you just tell me who you'd like to talk to?

Kix:  Oh.


Me:  Hello?

Kix:  Hello?

Me:  (Sigh).  Frick!  It's for you!

But my kid is just as bad.  So bad that I now make a point of sitting next to him while he's on the phone to give him some very necessary coaching.  Just the other day he hung up on his friend with no warning and no goodbye.  "I thought we were done," he said and shrugged his shoulders.

My guess is that all this modern technology making communication so easy and convenient might have played a role in these kids having poor social skills when using that technology.  There's just no real need to get our kids to answer the phone for us because the phone is always in our pocket and we usually know who the call is from and who the call is for and until they are around 10 or 11, it's generally not for them.

Or maybe it's just a boy thing.

Or maybe I'm just lucky.  Who knows?


  1. We got rid of our landline a while back. But for some reason my husband is the only one in our family who even LIKES to talk on the phone! haha

  2. My husband's nephew will call the house, my cell, & my husband's cell MULTIPLE times when he wants to talk to our son about something. It makes me want to throttle him.

  3. Oh my gosh, I am sooooooo looking forward to those days, why? Always in need for a good laugh! HAHA

    I also nominated you for the Liebster Blog go claim it, you can head on over to my blog to see what to do!