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February 18, 2009

Calling out rudeness

To some people, rudeness is poor table manners, being loud in public, interrupting conversations or Larry Johnson interviews. For me, the top of the rudeness chart is call screening. I hear people’s phones ring and watch them look first to see who it is before deciding whether to answer or even respond to voice-mail messages.

We are teaching our children from an early age that when the phone rings, you don’t have to answer if it’s someone you don’t feel like talking to. The message is “don’t accept responsibility,” even for something as small as answering the phone.

When my phone rings I answer it and deal with whoever it is, whether it is a child, grandchild or sales person. Don’t give your number to people you don’t want calling you.

Nancy Ludy
Kansas City



I always answer "Whodis?"


Here's some phone etiquette for you. When I call someone, the first thing I ask is whether it's a good time for them to take my call. That gives them an out if they are busy and would rather call me back.

I got the idea to start doing this one day in 1986, when I was experiencing such extreme stress that my neck and shoulder muscles seized up so that I literally couldn't drive myself to the doctor. An elderly, wealthy and self-absorbed aunt phoned me while I was in some excruciating pain , and she didn't miss a beat after I tearfully told her I couldn't talk just then. She just chuntered on about how she wanted me to be the executor of her estate, and I finally yelled, "NO, I do NOT want to be the executor of your estate!"

She never spoke to me again. Didn't leave me anything in her will either.


I also carry a company phone so I look to see who is calling so I may address them properly, so I guess we need Phone Etiquette Police now, just throw the funding into the next pork plan.

Proud American

I would rather have someone ignore a call than interrupt my space with them answering the phone and talking loudly on it as if the rest of us cared about the conversation. And please put away your phones when conducting business face-to-face. Such at the grocery store checkout or the pharmacy. And last, but not least, TURN OFF YOUR NEXTEL WHEN IN PUBLIC!



Leave me a message and I'll get back to you on this.



I totally agree, there is no obligation or responsibility to answer a phone just because someone is calling.


A ringing telephone is an invitation, not a command.


It's always bugged me a little when people screen calls that aren't from telemarketers, but I'm not sure how that equates to teaching kids “don’t accept responsibility”. Is Ms. Ludy arguing that it is every persons responsibility to answer every phone call?

"Don’t give your number to people you don’t want calling you."

I wonder how that is supposed to work with the endless number of charitable organizations, survey companies, and police benevolence associations that are exempt from no-call lists and love to call.


Another person sitting in judgment of others.


Whaaa? How does this person see people are screening her calls? Perhaps she is standing outside the living room window watching her cell phone number pop up on the TV? Eek. Most of the calls I screen are from crazy Aunt Nellie. Hmmm...

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