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Yesterday, The Washington Post published a guide to phone etiquette in 2023: “The new phone call etiquette: Text first and never leave a voice mail” (gift link). In the article, technology reporter Heather Kelly explained that she “spoke to an etiquette expert and people of all ages about their own phone pet peeves to come up with the following guidance to help everyone navigate phone calls in 2023.” (The Post also recently shared “Texting do’s and don’t’s for 2023.”)
The phone “rules” the Post presented, which were written for personal, not professional, communication, seem guaranteed to spark debate (and have already resulted in 5,000+ comments), so let’s discuss: What are your thoughts about phone call, text, and voice mail etiquette at the moment? What aspects of phone etiquette do you think are simply generation-specific? (Kelly does acknowledge that applying these rules varies by age, relationship, and context.)
The New Rules for Phone Etiquette
Some of The Post’s phone guidelines seem pretty straightforward, like “Don’t use speakerphone in public” (yes pleeaase); “Don’t stop talking on the phone,” because phone calls still have value; “Use video voice mails judiciously,” because yes, they’re a thing now; and “You don’t need to answer the phone” when it’s not a good time.
Others on the list are likely to be more controversial, like “Don’t leave a message”; “Text before calling,” especially for video calls; “Stay still for video calls”; and, possibly, “Emotions are for voice, facts are for text.”
My Personal Phone Etiquette Rules
I’m sure we’ve all developed our own little phone etiquette rules or habits… For example, I often unnecessarily give my phone number twice when leaving a voice mail for a business, because I grew up when caller ID wasn’t ubiquitous and robocalls weren’t such a big problem.
I almost never answer calls from unknown numbers unless a quick google turns up a recognizable business (which occasionally makes me miss important calls); and I try to avoid actually listening to voice mails, instead reading the transcription whenever possible.
Also, I will never in a million years send a voice note to a friend or family member.
Let’s hear it from you, readers: What do you think of The Post’s phone etiquette guidelines? What personal phone etiquette rules do you follow? (Mention your age if you think it’s relevant!)
Have you developed your own phone etiquette rules or habits?
Stock photo via Stencil.