Normally I have little patience for the Washington Compost, but a recent item has made the rounds in certain communities: new rules for telephone etiquette. And I have to say I’m in agreement with most of them, and not just for my own reasons.
One of the biggest reasons for new rules is phone anxiety aka telephobia, which is a real thing. (From Popular Science: “Phone anxiety is real—and solvable”.) Some people have difficulty speaking on the phone, even those able to speak in front of large groups. Whether it’s the disembodied voice or the intrusiveness of a ringing phone, it affects some people. Sending a text isn’t a hardship, and unlike a call, it’s not a demand for an instant response. From the Washington Post:
September 25, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EDT
Phone calls have been around for 147 years, the iPhone 16 years and FaceTime video voice mails about a week.
Not surprisingly, how we make calls has changed drastically alongside advances in technology. Now people can have conversations in public on their smartwatches, see voice mails transcribed in real time and dial internationally midday without stressing about the cost.
The phone norms also change quickly, causing some people to feel left behind or confused. The unwritten rules of chatting on the phone differ wildly between generations, leading to misunderstandings and frustration on all sides.
We spoke to an etiquette expert and people of all ages about their own phone pet peeves to come up with the following guidance to help everyone navigate phone calls in 2023.
These will vary depending on your relationship, your age and the context of the call. The closer you are to someone, the less the rules apply. Go ahead, FaceTime your mom with no warning while brushing your teeth.
Their list of new rules is below the fold, with shortened versions written by myself (to avoid mass copying and pasting of the original and copyright issues).