Tick Tock: Personal Phone Calls While You’re On the Clock

Scenic Telephone Box, originally uploaded to Flickr by fakelvisToday’s request is from reader C, who has a question about how to handle personal calls while she’s at the office…

I am currently planning my wedding for next summer and as you know, it’s quite time consuming. Coupled with a demanding job and my involvement with several organizations and activities outside of work, I have to fit the wedding planning in wherever I can and that sometimes includes work hours. I sit at an open cubicle and since I am in finance, I work almost entirely with men. A couple of the guys in my group were recently married so they would talk wedding stuff occasionally, but it was rather infrequent and typically consisted of a few “yes” and “whatever you want is fine with me honey” type responses. I, on the other hand, have begun to field calls from everyone from potential wedding planners to my future mother in law and those require discussing details I’d rather keep to myself. What is your advice for the engaged readers out there? Should I ignore my wedding planner’s calls until I can get away from my desk? Should I hang up on my mother when the conversation turns into a debate on salmon vs. fuschia? How much wedding talk is too much before my coworkers think they’ve died and woken up in a sorority house? I’d love to hear what you and your readers have to say.

This is a great question, because everyone has awkward personal calls to make at work, whether you’re planning a wedding or not.  (Pictured: Scenic Telephone Box, originally uploaded to Flickr by fakelvis.)

Most bosses will tell you that you’re not supposed to take personal calls while you’re on the clock, and I would agree with that. Aside from a quick discussion about evening plans (yes, we’re meeting at __ at ____), or a quick call to Grandma to wish her a happy birthday, in general, you should schedule your phone calls for your off hours. (In fact, reader C mentions talking to her mother and stopping her when the conversation turns to wedding — unless you and your mother work together, it doesn’t really matter WHAT you’re talking about — it sounds like you’re already stepping into dicey territory. Just my $.02, though.)

That said, I do think there are some exceptions to the rule…

  • Define what’s “on the clock.” If you work extremely long hours, I would consider “on the clock” to be only the typical working hours — 9:30 – 5:30, or whatever flies in your office. If it’s 7:00, the secretaries have left for the day, and you’re just finishing up some work at the office, I wouldn’t worry if someone else heard you talking for more than a minute or two. (However, given that reader C is in a cubicle, I would caution her to not have personal calls when her cubemates are sitting there, no matter what time it is — it can be distracting, and it isn’t professional.)
  • Use your lunch hour. If you have to make calls during the day when businesses are open, your lunch hour is going to be your window — and for something like wedding planning, where there are going to be a lot of calls to make, you should just schedule that time in there every day. Go to a conference room to make the calls privately, or (if the conference room is busy or you don’t have one) go to a Starbucks with your cell phone. Schedule all calls during this window, and yes — let the other calls go to voicemail unless you’ve been playing phone tag forever and just need to have a quick conversation.
  • View calls as appointments — If you have to take a call not at your lunch hour, view it the same as you would an appointment — put it in your planner and leave the office, even if it’s just to step outside the front door.

Readers, what are your rules and guidelines for personal phone calls at the office?

Comments

  1. Corporate Tool :

    I work in finance, and planned my wedding only during “off hours.” I missed calls, ran to the ladies’ and called back. Personal calls are one thing, wedding planning calls are often seen as not just uniquely female, but distracting from your work in a way that others just aren’t.

    I’d step away, use the restroom, take a walk, or even (in extremis) I booked a conference room for 6pm and made plans on my cellphone in there. Anything you can do to avoid doing it at your desk is better.

    • Anonymous Poser :

      This is a well worded. It is seen as a “uniquely female” activity (even in cases when that is not the reality, in our experience), and I can see how it would be distracting for you and others in ways that other personal calls just aren’t.

      Don’t have those conversations at your desk: There is no emergency going on that requires your immediate attention.

      • Corporate Tool :

        “There is no emergency…”

        Agreed. My wedding venue cancelled on me 9 weeks before my wedding. It sucked. But I managed it, and didn’t do it from my desk.

  2. This seems like great advice to me. Personally, I’d find it pretty distracting to have to listen to a co-worker’s discussion about wedding colors with her mother, and I’d worry I’d be learning more than I should really know about her (the same goes for many personal subjects of discussion, not just wedding ones).

  3. It’s called email. It’s quiet. It’s discreet. It leaves a paper trail (in case your florist says “but you never told me your husband’s grandma’s best friend was supposed to have flowers, too!”). It also takes less time than calls because the communication tends to be more efficient. (Unless you like chattering with your vendors. Some brides enjoy that as part of the process. My vendors all commented on how infrequently I contacted them but I really didn’t see why they needed to hear from me once I’d told them what I wanted.)

    • as a (sometimes) wedding coordinator, PLEASE email. it’s easier for everyone involved. but please be a prompt emailer!!!

    • I was the same way– all my wedding things were done almost exclusively via email, and it was so nice. My vendors were confused why I wasn’t calling constantly to change this or that, but I was just happy doing email. I think I met my florist, who I’d used before, and my photographer ahead of time. That was it. Wedding went off without a hitch whatsoever, no drama at all, nothing. I’m convinced that brides and their moms in conjunction with vendors create all this unnecessary drama-I’d rather not hear about it at work! In the ladies room or a reserved afterhours conf room, fine.

  4. It’s completely inappropriate and distracting and makes you look bad. I think you said all you needed to and noticed yourself when you pointed out the men recently got married but you didn’t hear much about the wedding planning.

    You’re assuming they had no role and you as a woman do. But maybe they planned the wedding details on their off time, the way it is supposed to be done.

  5. Please Please Please don’t make other people listen to your wedding planning phone calls. Also, phone calls about your medical issues, family drama, baby poop, your adult child’s financial issues, or anything else that’s not work and should not be common knowledge.
    It makes it difficult for people to concentrate, when they’re trying to tune out your personal phone calls. It’s really easy to be classified as the person who’s on the phone all the time, as opposed to a good worker or valued employee. My opinions of people have certainly been changed by the conversations I’ve overheard while they’re on the phone at work.

    • Hahaha add yeast infection to that list.

      AA at old firm loudly discussed her lady bread issues over the phone in the bullpen at work….I lost my appetite.

      • OMG LADY BREAD. Such a…unique phrase.

      • Pre-undergrad and pre-law school days, I worked a summer in the same cubicle as my then-supervisor, who at age 57 should have known better and was gifted with a frightening lack of personal hygiene and overall health maintenance that served as a 5-row advance warning whenever she approached your cubicle. As if that were not sufficiently miserable for coworkers, she liked to get on a headset with her girlfriends and discuss various – ahem! – detailed (and I do mean DETAILED) techniques for entertaining gentleman callers whilst doing the day’s data entry after the office owner stepped out at 4pm. Every day. I still have nightmares about that hour from 4-5 pm at least once a year. I am not exaggerating.

        I fail to see how a wedding would be that harmful to your coworkers, but agree that email (or maybe even texting?) would make a great first-method of contact.

    • Absolutely. With the advent of cell phones, there is no excuse for not stepping into the hallway/conference room/bathroom (assuming its empty)/anywhere that’s not your cubicle.

      Part of the reason I picked my doctor is that I can email her during the day (as opposed to having to call her).

  6. Totally agree with anon at 2:59!
    I’d like to add that running to the restroom to take calls isn’t the best solution either–it takes you away longer, and people DO figure out what’s going on, what your priorities are.
    I’ve only been married once, a fairly simple sit-down for ~75. I met the caterer and florist once each. To be honest, my mom handled a lot for me, because she was local and I was 5 -6 hrs away, but when she had something to ask me, we talked in the evening. Next wedding I’ll have more specific wishes, and the guy I’m hoping will ask is likely to have very clear ideas, but I don’t see either of us confusing wedding planning with our jobs.

  7. Don’t forget, your vendors and planner work for you. You get to set the expectations. Tell them you can’t talk with them during business hours. If they want your money, you will be able to come up with a workable solution.

    • This.

    • Oh, and to your mother/mother-in-law issue, which may be more difficult than the vendor issue, since they don’t work for you, ask them nicely to do stuff over email, and that you are in and out of meetings all day and will not be able to call them back during the day about wedding issues.

    • anon - chi :

      This. My very first conversation with my wedding planner included the fact that I often work long hours and typically cannot commit to meetings in the evening on a weekday. The upshot: she agreed that we could do face-to-face meetings at 7:00 AM if we couldn’t fit them in on weekends. It sounds like the OP is definitely getting a planner as well – that person is the one who should be handling ALL the midweek calls with the vendors, setting up appointments, etc.

    • This.

      I didn’t have a single vendor that wasn’t willing to meet with me outside of business hours, and that didn’t understand I couldn’t talk at all times of day. We met or had phone calls during weekends or evenings. Most of the work could be done via email.

      I did have one meeting that had to take place during business hours. I just took personal time, said I had an appointment, and left it at that.

    • This is exactly right. The wedding planners, etc., work for you and they have to work in a way that makes sense for you.
      The other problem with a wedding discussion is the overwhelming bad press about Bridezillas — a particular creature who is completely obsessed with having HER wedding exactly the way SHE wants it — and that most of the details are incredibly INANE to anyone not planning a wedding. Do you really want to be branded as that when you’re competing in a mail oriented field — particularly, a field where some of them maybe engaged to or have married former Bridezillas?
      Make your coordinators work for you. Handle your wedding off hours. Focus on work during working hours.
      Good luck!

  8. Agree with everything posted. Please don’t discuss this kind of thing at work, in earshot of others. It plays into negative stereotypes of women being wedding crazy and/or not all that interested in working. Wedding coordinators can accommodate weekend availability – after all, they’re hired because the brides and grooms are too busy during the week to do their own planning. Also, it’s better to start setting boundaries with the MIL sooner rather than later, or you’ll be fielding calls from her at work from now until the end of time. Blame your boss, if she’s they type that would get upset if you (totally reasonably) stopped taking personal calls at work.

  9. Don’t talk about wedding stuff at work. Please don’t. Pretty please.

    • Anonymous :

      Depends on your work. My boss loves wedding talk – was discussed during interview, in fact!

      • Corporate Tool :

        I think that is the exception that proves the rule.

      • Your coworkers, however, might hate it. I would, and fair or not I would attempt to avoid this person so as not to get sucked into wedding-talk.

      • Best rule of thumb – let someone else bring it up. Don’t respond to “how are you doing?” with “OMG look at the pink, pale pink, light pink and dark pink flower arrangements my florist proposed, how am I ever going to make up my mind?” But if someone seems generally interested and asks you questions about wedding planning, go right ahead – it can be something to bond with for those people who do want to know, for whatever reasons.

  10. I agree with the previous comments, try to do as much planning off the phone as possible. However, if you work in a trading floor environment, you can get away with some things you usually can’t. It’s a little more lax and informal.

    • anotheranon :

      lax and informal yes, but having come from a cubicle environment, i’m still getting used to the open concept environment of a trading floor. how do you get away with making a phone call with that many people in earshot?

      • Aside from speaking in a lower voice, not much. You just get comfortable around people. Not great advice, I know, but in an open environment like that, it’s really difficult to never make personal calls. It’s part of the environment.

      • I also want to add that if you’re on a trading floor, you probably do not have a “lunch hour”… making it even more difficult to step off and make phone calls.

  11. The difficulty here is the cubicle. As a salaried employee with a private office, I take personal calls, mostly dealing with a dependent adult family member. But, I also take work home with me in the evening. The issue is whether I get my work done, and whether I am available at work. On the few occassions when my boss or other co-workers have popped their head in my office when I was on the phone, I hung up right away.

    Perhaps you could take a later lunch hour, or agree to stay later in the day to make up for any time during the day that you spend on personal calls during this time in your life.

    • Agree, cubicle is the problem here. I take personal calls at work, because at this point work is fully fused with my personal life. When necessary, I work long hours and work from home, work weekends. I check my blackberry like a crack habit, am anxious if I can’t at least see whether the little red light is blinking. When necessary, and when work permits, I pay bills online and take personal phone calls at work. I do close the door, though. I could see how forcing everyone to listen to frequent personal conversations would be pretty rude and could get awkward.

    • Agree. Particularly if you’re someone who bills their time–taking a personal call is usually your decision–you just won’t get to bill that time and you’ll probably be working later that night. But, I’m certainly not as stringent about no personal calls as Kat is in light of this.

    • BigLaw Refugee :

      It’s true that the cubicle situation makes things worse, but people can overhear your conversations even if you have an office, if you leave the door open.

      I was just reading an article (in the Harvard Business Review I think) about stereotyping. Everyone does it, consciously or unconsciously, based on little things you do that get generalized.

      I worked next door to a first year associate who spent a lot of time on personal calls about her wedding. I also got to hear her discussing weekend plans and which restaurant she should go to with her fiancee. This occurred at all times of the day, every day. Although I tried not to jump to conclusions, I couldn’t help thinking of her as an extremely superficial person, even though I understand intellectually that wedding details are important to all brides.

      Wedding plans, detailed discussion of weekend plans, outfit selection, gossip…save it for times when you can’t be overheard.

  12. I planned my wedding in large part at work, but used my office and closed my door. I only had one oops moment where I had forgotten to get something off the printer.

    • Ditto. It was also on the day before I left the office for my wedding/honeymoon and so it sat there for 2 weeks while I was out. Woopsies.

  13. I did some wedding planning at work in my cube, but I was also very green and my company was definitely not legal/MBA. I probably shouldn’t have done that (looking back with my old age) but what’s done is done.

    I did, however, schedule time off and tried to knock all the vendors down at that time. It was busy, but I coordinated meeting with the church, the reception hall, the florist, the photographer and the DJ all in one day. We hammered out the details and then emailed most of the rest of things. And this was back about 7 years ago.

    I probably would try to do as much via email as possible. If you NEED to meet with vendors/people, take a day and do it all at once.

  14. Clerkship Bride :

    I did a lot of emailing tasks to my sisters (bridesmaids) that included “call so and so at this number and ask this.” They really appreciated how specific the emails were even if they were frequent. I made calls I absolutely had to take at lunch and after hours. I was studying for the bar at the same time so lets just say I didn’t have time to go wedding crazy.

  15. I second doing as much as you can on email and then going to your car (or outside or whatever) to take personal calls. Conference rooms with windows I wouldn’t recommend. Just looks like you’re doing personal calls in a conference room, IMHO. Try an empty office instead (hopefully with no windows). Some work places have phone closets…

    That said, as a lawyer, I have so little life outside of work that personal stuff HAS to get done during daylight hours (buying/selling a house, modifying mortgage, scheduling doc’s appointments, emails to my kids’ school, etc). I have a private office (with thin walls & all glass), so I do email almost exclusively for personal stuff (and bring my personal laptop to work for that purpose, and to play iTunes, etc). Sometimes life events do take precedence over work for a short period of time (wedding, birth of a child, death of a parent). You do what you can to get by and depend on the goodwill that you’ve built up with your colleagues. We’re not Corporate Drones, after all. And Corporate America will drop you like a hot potato regardless of the sacrifices you’ve made to “get ahead” and climb the ladder. Good luck! Glad these Corporettes aren’t my bosses. LOL.

  16. Making personal calls during work hours, particularly when you work in a cubicle, is one of my biggest pet peeves. I long for a private office, simply for that reason alone. It’s distracting and very unprofessional and it does change how people view you in the office.

    My cubicle neighbor is notorious for making personal calls and it drives me nuts. She spent an HOUR this morning on the phone with her aunt, describing the intimate details of her recent gastrointestinal illness. Needless to say, I didn’t have much an appetite when lunch came around.

    I’m okay with personal calls when they can be kept short & sweet. I understand people have lives outside of work, kids & families, appointments to schedule, etc. But anything over a few minutes should be relegated to your lunch hour, your car, or a private conference room.

    • A facebook friend of mine apparently has a cubicle very close to a woman who has frequent, very loud, personal phone calls. Her status updates keep us constantly informed of the goings-on of “Loud Girl.” Annoying to her, but damn if they aren’t funny to read!

      • Haha I love the idea of “Loud Girl”. I should FB friend her, just so I don’t feel completely alone in my misery!

        The same coworker mentioned above recently planned her mother’s ENTIRE surprise 50th birthday party from the office as well. I know so much about the party, from the color scheme to the favors to the catering that I feel like I attended it.

        No one’s developed an amazing, fool-proof strategy to tune these lovely coworkers out, have they? My job involves a lot of writing and it can be ridiculously hard to concentrate when someone’s blabbering on next to you about the contents of their grocery shopping list.

        • Oof, I feel the same way about the woman whose cubicle was next to mine at my last job. I feel like I attended her wedding – down to the minutest details of the bridesmaids’ dresses and the (cheap) brands of vodka & tequila served. I also feel like I attended her appointments at the fertility clinic to get IVF, which was way WORSE. I knew way too much about her fiance’s sperm count.

          • I’m sympathetic to your colleague re: the IVF clinic — I’ve never successfully gotten a doctor/nurse to call me at a convenient time about anything, and I count myself lucky that I have an office door I can close. Unlike wedding vendors who _should_ have some concept of adapting to their customers’ timing needs, medical professionals don’t have any client-service mentality.

          • Oh, K, it wasn’t calls with a doctors, it was calls with FRIENDS, discussing her doctor’s visits!

  17. Anonymous :

    Echoing what some others have said.
    If you’re planning well, you should not have to take a bazillion calls about your wedding at work. You need to tell Mom and Mom-in-Law, “I don’t care how ‘urgent’ it is, I cannot talk to you about the wedding at work. Call me at X time or e-mail me.” If you have a planner, the planner needs to do the calling of the vendors. Set up a weekly meeting or conference call (daily when it gets closer to the wedding) at a specific time, outside work, and get your business taken care of at that time.

    Very blunt now. I know planning a wedding is exciting. But your excitement can easily translate into the wedding taking over your life if you are not careful. I realize it’s more fun to look at wedding flower pictures than market analyst reports, but unless your job is planning your wedding, work is not the place to do wedding planning (unless you do it on breaks). Weddings are really just events and in event planning, any time you “touch” a decision too much you end up with a disaster. Picking a menu should not involve 35 phone calls, 17 e-mails and two tearful blow-ups with your loved ones. Be decisive and stick to your guns. This day is about you and your fiance, not what your mother and MIL want. Don’t let vendors, relatives, or anyone else “run” you during the planning. This is all about you setting the tone – if people think they can call you about every little friggin’ development or problem with the wedding, they will. If you are firm, decisive and definitive, and set limits, that won’t happen.

    That all being said. As a manager, I understand people have lives outside of work. I would not mind a couple of periodic wedding-planning calls, especially as it gets close to the day. If I saw someone repeatedly on the phone about his/her wedding at work during non-break work hours, I would mention it to him/her and ask for a behavior modification. If that didn’t happen, the problem would be noted on his/her performance eval.

    If you get to a point where you just “can’t” pull the wedding together without being on the phone (or even email) about it at work, you are either A. planning an event that is too large or complex for your abilities or B. you need to hire a different wedding planner. Don’t let a one-day event cause you perception problems in your career. I like weddings. Had one myself. It was nice. It was a lot of years ago and all those years later, I don’t care or even remember if the napkins had the right amount of color contrast with the tablecloths. You won’t either. So don’t assign the small planning details an overlarge amount of importance in your life. Good luck with your wedding.

    • Anonymous Poser :

      This, “Don’t let a one-day event cause you perception problems in your career. I like weddings. Had one myself. It was nice. It was a lot of years ago and all those years later, I don’t care or even remember if the napkins had the right amount of color contrast with the tablecloths. You won’t either. So don’t assign the small planning details an overlarge amount of importance in your life.”

      Thank you for adding perspective. I was trying to think of a not impolite way to say that.

      You’ve already made the decision that will affect the rest of your life: All you are doing now is planning the party.

      To the corporette who takes personal calls mainly about a dependent adult family member–I put that in a completely different category than some of the other calls mentioned, FWIW.

      • Also, don’t assume that females you work with care about your wedding quandries. I hate weddings. Think they are a waste of money, generally boring, and overall dumb. The commitment people are making often becomes an afterthought to the color of napkins. Which is why they annoy me. But I’m fashionable and friendly and people assume that I want to hear about wedding stuff. I don’t. I think less of people who get consumed. Don’t mistake the fact that I like fashion for caring what your cake looks like. Best to let people ask and follow up if interest is shown than to volunteer. Because you just might work with me or someone like me.

    • Well said. I’ll add that I had my completely traditional, all of the general stuff covered wedding while I was waiting tables. While there are more flexible hours, a server definitely cannot make or take personal calls during the work day (barring emergencies, of course). Sometimes you just need to back off a bit.

      • I had my wedding in another country (my home country, I am an expat). My mom planned the whole thing. I was defending my thesis at the time and gave her carte blanche. She even picked my dress(es).
        It was no big deal to me. I really didn’t care enough about the details and was happy that my mom was helping.
        As a non-American, I am surprised and a bit amused at how important these details seem to brides. I can see the menu and what YOU wear being important, much less so for bridesmaids’ dresses or napkins or flower arrangements.

  18. Seventh Sister :

    Vaguely related vent – my mom (and mother-in-law, but I don’t usually answer her calls) seems to think that my telecommuting day = day off. Really, it’s not the best day for a long work-hours chat! Yes, I do need a babysitter to come if I’m going to get my work done! And yes, it’s not a good day for me to go out to lunch with you (esp. if you are my mother-in-law and spend 2 hours chewing on the same lettuce leaf).

  19. If you can, have your mother plan your wedding. My mother planned everything from A to Z, while I closed two deals in the six months before the wedding. I didn’t even see my own invitations, until my administrative assistant received hers and brought it in the office to show me. I had a beautiful wedding and wouldn’t change anything about it. My mother had the time, I trusted her judgment, and she was happy to do it while I was working 80 hours a week. It worked out perfectly, and I ended up getting really positive performance reviews that year because my everybody was so impressed that I stayed focused before the wedding. I know not everybody can do this…it won’t work if you are type-A and want to control every last detail…but it worked out great for me.

    • I think it’s awesome you did that. If I ever get married, I’m planning on doing the same thing. I couldn’t care less about my own hypothetical wedding. If it wouldn’t create more trouble than it took away, I’d email everyone to come over for a slice of pizza and some cake.

    • I did exactly the same thing. My mom and I had an understanding – she would focus on the wedding and I would focus on the marriage. During the entire 7 months of planning I only had 2 dress fittings and 1 cake tasting. From 9 – 5 I focused on work and after work I focused on husband-to-be.
      Many, many years later – still happily married (and happy in career too).

    • My husband planned the wedding since I wanted to elope and was in grad school. It was nice and 10 years later I am happy with that decision.

  20. Lana Lang :

    1. Someone I used to share an office with (five of us in total) used to have a lot of personal calls throughout the day, mostly either (a) to her mum to discuss the colour of her child’s poo or (b) to her boyfriend/husband having inane arguments about things that were obviously nothing to do with work. This was irritating.

    2. Another person in that same team (FAOD I no longer work there) was disposed of as a result of showing ‘lack of commitment’ due to spending more time planning her wedding than doing actual work.

    Yes, weddings are exciting. But you are there to do a job. As soon as the wedding takes over from the job, you are on thin ice.

    That said, as a Big Law type I do agree that generally personal life merges into work life to an extent in that to carry out errands you need to do them during business hours, and generally people don’t mind, just make sure you’re not taking it too far. Nobody in my office would comment if you made personal calls etc occasionally, but nobody flaunts them either and that’s probably the difference (and we don’t have an open plan office).

    Congrats on your wedding though dear OP!

  21. Unless it’s very short and inoccuous, do NOT take it in your cube. Go to a privacy room, conference room, outside, whatever. Yes, this makes it really hard to receive calls. Work around it.

    Wedding planning is tip of iceberg- there are medical-related calls, kids, all kinds of stuff that comes up. It is no one else’s business, and you don’t want others forming opinions about you based on it. The most I’ll do in the open setting is ‘okay, see you at x time’ or i’ll call you back at x time’ etc.

  22. I think your advice is spot on. I usually let it go to voice mail or step out when taking a personal call. And I’ve definitely stopped my parents mid-sentence to say “I’m at work–can I call you back about this tonight.”

    When I was planning my wedding I was working at a place with a 9/80 schedule, so I would make all my appointments and phone calls every other Friday, which I had off. Talk about an ideal situation!

    Even so, break time (off-the-clock) can be precious, so I would recommend that, if possible, save those times for vendors that may also work on regular work schedules. Talk to your family and wedding party after work.

  23. Congrats on the upcoming wedding! I worked in a cube when I was planning my wedding and asked my husband to respond to many of those calls which needed to be made during the day since he worked evenings. I think he felt more connected with everything, and seriously, weddings are not just a girl thing. He loved chatting with the DJ’s and the Limo drivers, oh and planning the honeymoon, while I was in charge of wedding invites, photographer and guest lists. It’s OUR wedding, and we approached it that way. It helped us bond because this was the first major thing in our life we were planning for such a large group of people. When something needed my attention, i.e. planning when to go dress shopping, I would email. My mother-in-law is old fashion and so she would of course call, and I would do the, “could I call you later” thing, or let her get my voicemail. She ALWAYS understood I was at work and that was my priority. To make sure she didn’t feel left out (she’s the mother of four boys) we would visit my her frequently to keep her up-to-date on all the wedding plans, and usually I would give her a call when I came home from work about anything that needed “chit-chatting,” i.e. butter cream versus whipped cream. As a habit, I call my mother daily on my way home from work, and that has always been our time to chat about whatever was going on in our day. So that included wedding plans. Good luck, but don’t be afraid to share the responsibility, and set boundaries for yourself. Enjoy!

  24. I’m getting tired of “This.”
    Super f*ing annoying. Just say “I agree” or something.

  25. There is a new function to cell phones – the “silent” or even “off” button. You do not need to take these calls! If you are getting this calls on your work line – yikes! My parents do have my work number (vis-a-vis my business card being on the fridge, where my report cards used to go) but they have never, ever called me on it – that is the “did you know that YOU died//your apartment complex wants you to know your unit is on fire” line for them. Just a thought!

    As a side note, I had to listen to a co-worker plan her wedding for 8 long months. And her fiancee would call her all day – so her phone played the R&B “Let’s get marrieed ~”, and he would call her work line after not getting through on her phone several times. Was always so, so tempted to pick up and tell him that she was working and so were the people around her so what couldn’t wait till 5pm?…

    • Chicago K :

      Ha – I once had an apartment that’s pipe’s burst and flooded the unit below me. They property management company kept calling me and I didn’t pick up as I was in a work luncheon.

      They figured it out – they even got my agressive german shepherd into the bathroom so they could be free to work on the pipes without being growled at.

      I had a coworker who spent about a year planning her wedding all day. Like others, I felt like I had gone to it – and her honeymoon – after listening to it all day. The worst part was after she talked to the vendor/planner/whoever and made a decision, she would call both her mom and fiancee to update them. I got to hear the same story multiple times.

      After that, she went on to get pregnant – which I heard her announce to a friend at 6 weeks and also say she couldn’t believe she got pregnant on the first try. I had to keep a straight face for 2 more months as she started showing, everyone was gossiping that she was getting fat, and she didn’t announce at work until 3 months.

      Then she went on to the baby poop conversations with her kid’s Dr, her friends, and her mom. She also basically spent the entire first year of the kid’s life planning it’s first birthday party. The party seemed on scale with her wedding.

      The there was the kid’s first trip to Disney…

      at least she managed to go into a conference room to pump when she was breast feeding!

      I’m sorry, but it’s annoying. I don’t want to hear all that crap – especially the bickering with her mom. You can always tell when women are talking to their mothers – they speak to them like they’ll speak to noone else. :(

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