Two mobile phone etiquette questions:
- Do you answer the phone saying ‘Hi Marty’, or just ‘Hello?’
- When a call drops, who should call back?
Do you answer the phone saying ‘Hi Marty’, or just ‘Hello?’
For the first question, I’ve been trying to decide this for myself for a long time. Most of us who use mobile phones (or even have caller ID on land lines) already have people’s numbers programmed into the phone. So when someone calls, if your phone is accessible, you already know who’s calling because it says “Marty is calling”. We also know that when we call someone, there’s a good chance that the person knows who is calling them. Now the question: Do you answer the phone saying “Hi Marty!” – or – just “Hello?”
- Argument for saying “Hi Marty!”: We can both stop acting like we don’t know who’s on the other end and get right to the point. Even if you have the wrong name, it’s someone calling you from that person’s phone, so it’s easy for them to just say “No, this is Jennifer." Niceties are nice, but presumably you both already know each other. If the person calling isn’t someone you’re close to, you can still just say "Hello?", even though you know who’s there. On the other hand, some people may just be too freaked out by your "big brother" attitude and think that you’re spying on them through Google Street View or Bing Map’s ‘Bird’s eye’ view and that you’ve been secretly listening to their conversation before they even called you… but that’s a whole other thing.
- Argument for answering the phone with a "Hello?": I think this is more of a mental thing. By ‘asking the question’, the conversation can begin more formally and progress from there with a familiar beginning, middle and end that we’re use to after decades of using the telephone. However, this also sets the precedent that you don’t really look at your phone before answering it, so the last three times they called and you didn’t answer, you weren’t just dodging their call – you didn’t even know the phone rang.
When a call drops, who should call back?
The second question "When a call drops, who should call back?" deals mainly with those confusing times when you’re in a conversation with someone and the call suddenly drops due to lack of signal or battery issues. Often, both parties immediately try calling the other back, just to get voicemail or no answer. Then it’s a dancing game. Do I call, or do wait for them to call? How long should I wait? Maybe they are trying to call me right now. It isn’t always known who’s phone dropped the call, so here’s Dave Tavres’ suggested guidelines:
- The person who PLACED the original call should redial the phone. Since they are the one that initiated the conversation in the first place, they should take responsibility for completing it.
- If you placed the original call, even if you feel the conversation was "almost finished", call back. Politeness dictates that you conclude conversations with an obvious farewell.
- In the case where a battery has died, you may or may not be able to immediately get power again. Or if one party is driving through a no/low signal zone, it may take a few moments to get through it and get reconnected to the network.
- If you placed the original call and still have battery life and a signal (if you’re on a mobile), you can call back right away. If you get voicemail or no answer, wait at least one minute and try again. If still no answer, wait two more minutes before trying for the final time. If you still get no answer, you’re off the hook for calling back and can assume the conversation will resume at a later date.
- If you placed the original call and need to plug in the battery or wait for a signal, you still have three minutes to get your phone back up and running. If it’s longer than that, skip it and return the call later.
- YES, these are hard and fast rules that you must follow – if you don’t, you’ll be banned from ever using a mobile phone again. Okay, not quite yet – but be sure to communicate with your State and local government representatives about how YOU want YOUR country run. Currently it’s law that you must wear a seat belt while driving (CA), you have to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home (CA), you can’t ride a motorcycle without a helmet (CA) and you must buy health insurance (USA) from the government if you don’t get it elsewhere – if you give up those freedoms, you’re an outlaw.
If anyone has better ideas or if there’s already some commonly accepted mobile phone etiquette that I’m not aware of, let me know!