Dear Annie: It’s important to have etiquette on the phone, no matter to whom you are speaking. When you take the time to call someone but the person is preoccupied, talks over you or doesn’t say “excuse me” when someone in the room is speaking to him or her while you’re on the phone, it’s only normal to want to end the call. This has been happening to me with several family members for pretty much my whole life. I have finally started speaking up about how much it bothers me, only to be told, “Well, if someone is talking to me, what do you want me to do?” or “If I’m needed, what do you want me to do?” I tell these people to say “excuse me” or that we should talk another time. This happened to me today, and I said, “I can’t do this anymore.” Then I hung up.
Another pet peeve of mine is talking to someone who parrots back the information. I have asked my family members so many times to not do a play-by-play on the phone, but it hasn’t helped. It is a huge hardship and can be completely depressing and stressful to call. Because it’s family, you just know that it will never end if it hasn’t by now.
So to the families and friends guilty of this: You know who you are. Please be considerate when you are on the phone with someone.
What do you say, Annie? – No More Calls for Me
Dear No More Calls: In a perfect world, everyone would give undivided attention in all phone calls. Unfortunately, that is not the case, so we must be a little more forgiving when a family member or friend either talks over us or responds to an in-person request. You’ve already told your family members how you feel. You could either stay angry with them, allowing yourself to be stressed out and depressed about it, or accept them as they are and continue to remind them of your pet peeves, all the while appreciating the fact that they are still picking up the phone to speak to you instead of just texting or becoming incommunicado altogether.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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