Where has all the phone etiquette gone?

I’m not sure if phone etiquette started going to the wayside when caller ID was conceived or whether the lack of nicety is because of cell phones, but it irks me when someone calls and doesn’t make an attempt to identify themselves or request the person to whom they wish to speak.


Way back in the dark ages, when I was a kid and phones in colors such as avocado green or harvest gold, were mounted on the wall and you had to spin a piece of plastic or metal to dial a number, I was given rules to follow when calling someone’s house.

  • Do not call before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
  • If the phone is not answered in 6 rings hang up and try again later.
  • Introduce yourself  – Hello, this is Angela.
  • Ask for the person to whom you wish to speak – May I please speak to Carl.
  • If said person is not available request politely to leave a message, giving details.

When instructing my children on calling someone’s home, obviously the number of rings is passe, but the rest of the rules should apply. So when children call my house to speak to my girls I get cranky when other parents have not taught their children the same manners.

Now, I am not going to tell you that my children are awesome on the phone – they are NOT. Catie actually puts the phone down to talk to us instead of covering the mouthpiece so she can still hear the person on the other end. Charlotte gets bored easily and tunes people out. But I do sit next to them and coach them on how to be polite when calling someone else’s home.

All I am asking is that when you call my house or cell you tell me who you are and if you want to talk to someone other than me tell me without me having to ask you. Is that so hard?

Post Author: Angela Corry