my coworker’s cell phone noises are driving me crazy

A reader writes:

We have a new person who just joined our Employee Relations team and she seems like a nice person, though I don’t know her too well yet. She’s on her third week with us. The way our cubes are set up is we’re in a line of cubes with someone who sits across the aisle from us and they’re on the other side as well all the way across the floor. Because we are all in one giant space, everyone keeps their phones on silent. Three days into her first week, I went nuts hearing her phone’s notifications going off numerous times throughout the day. I actually even snuck over once and put it on silent when she was training with one of my coworkers (I couldn’t help myself) and now today I kept hearing the sounds again. Do I need to just suck it up and say,” hey, by the way, do you mind keeping your phone on silent?” I’d like her to know somehow without me having to be the one to say something :)

Yes, you need to just say it. This is really not a big deal:  “Hey, Jane, would you mind putting your phone on silent? Thanks.” The end.

If it continues after that, then you ask her again.

Don’t agonize over this! Just say it and be done with it, just like you’d want someone to do if the roles were reversed.

(Also, note to anyone who keeps your cell phone ring on while you’re in an office with other people:  That needs to stop, today.)

{ 109 comments… read them below }

  1. The Editor*

    I had a coworker who kept his phone on as loud as possible so that he could hear it in case he was away from his desk. My favorite part was the ring tone had the sound of a woman breathing heavily in the background…. Yeah….

    My favorite one is the guy next to me who has a vulture sound whenever the boss calls.

    1. Jamie*

      Mine plays “Jamie’s Crying” when it’s work…people think it’s funny.

      Thing is, it wasn’t really meant as a joke!

        1. Jamie*

          Ha! I love being here amongst my people.

          Truth is the sound of other people’s phones aren’t nearly as annoying to me as my own. I’m momentarily irked by the noise, but then flooded with relief that the call isn’t for me.

          I have a weird thing about the phone – I hate it. My cell, landlines, whatever. If I could get away with a phone for email, texting, and Angry Birds without the functionality to actually receive calls I’d be all over that.

          1. businesslady*

            yeah, while I acknowledge their obvious utility, phones kind of suck. I was psyched when our office switched to VOIP phones with customizable ringers–I picked a DUN-DUNNN suspensful-music noise that perfectly matches my emotional state whenever I get a call.

            1. Jen M.*

              I’m planning on downloading the “Dexter” theme as a ringtone as soon as I can. (No SD card yet. LOL!)

              1. Abradee*

                Ha, I’ve used the Dexter theme, but then people thought I was a bit morbid. It’s such a cool song, though. I love using TV themes as my ringtones. A few years ago in my last job I used the theme to The Office to identify people from work calling. Trust me, it was fitting. One evening after a very tiring day I fell into a pretty deep sleep on the couch but was awoken when I heard that little tune. I bolted upright and blearily started stumbling around my apartment looking for my phone, knocking things over Godzilla-style just to find it. Seriously, it was one of those moments where you’re not even quite sure where you are upon waking. All I knew was that I had to get to my cell—work was calling! By the time I did, I was a bit more awake but the song had stopped, so I checked to see who had called. Turns out, no one. Huh?

                I then looked over to the TV to see Michael and Dwight up to their usual antics, an episode of The Office having JUST started. Ohhhh…!

                Well, better to be woken up by the theme in its original setting than by my boss calling. I would not have wanted to talk to her in that state, either. She probably would have thought I was drunk.

                1. Jen M.*

                  Oh, classic! Seriously. That is hilarious! I could see something like that happening to me, but we don’t have TV–just DVDs from Netflix.

                  Eh, people already think I’m weird. ;) I’m used to it! (And I AM weird!)

          2. jmkenrick*

            I can totally handle other people’s phones going off. It’s alarms that do me in.

            Ahh. I just associate those noises with having to wake up from a really, really good dream.

              1. jmkenrick*

                Oh, I meant when people set alarms on their phone. They go off repeatedly if you don’t turn them off.

          3. Ask a Manager* Post author

            “If I could get away with a phone for email, texting, and Angry Birds without the functionality to actually receive calls I’d be all over that.”


            1. Jamie*

              Done and done. My family is planning on staging an intervention if I don’t put one down every now and then.

          4. perrik*

            “If I could get away with a phone for email, texting, and Angry Birds without the functionality to actually receive calls I’d be all over that.”

            It’s called an Apple iTouch.

            My spouse and I both hate phone calls. We both spent years in technical support. There is perhaps a correlation…

          5. Mishsmom*

            Jamie, i would do the same thing. HATE phones, hate talking on them, hate the whole deal… (love texting though!)

      1. KellyK*

        One of my friends has custom rings for friends and family members. Diva music for her daughter, Benny Hill for her goofball son, and Psycho for her ex. (She has something from Lord of the Rings for me…I think I got off easy.)

  2. Ivan*

    I have to say as annoying as the sound may be, I don’t think it’s ever appropriate to grab someone else’s phone like that. I’m surpised something about that wasn’t mentioned in the post.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’d do it, if the phone was ringing over and over again. With no hesitation. And I wouldn’t mind if someone did that to mine — that’s the price when your phone is disrupting an office.

      1. cf*

        I used to forward a colleague’s phone to voicemail – the automated forward – every time he stepped away from his desk because I got so sick and darn tired of it ringing and ringing all the time. If he didn’t answer that phone, his wife would call on his cellphone, which he also left at his desk.

        1. Vicki*

          Then there was the Blackberry that someone left at work overnight. It had an alarm that went off at 6:45 am. I got in at 7am and stuffed the phone in a bottom drawer (it was 10 rows away).
          When the guy’s co-workers got in at 7:30, _they_ pulled it out of the drawer (enough to muffle for me but not for them) and removed the batteries.

      2. Anonymous*

        A former co-worker and his wife were having problems, and she called him multiple times every day. He started just leaving his phone on his desk rather than keeping it on him, and he left the ringer on even though those of us who sat around him asked him to mute it. When he didn’t answer, she would call again and again and again.

        After a couple of weeks of this, I never hesitated to get up, walk over to his desk and power it off. He didn’t deserve any consideration.

    2. sab*

      I agree. Just like Alison says, just ask them to turn it on silent. No need to mess with other people’s stuff. I would be quite irritated if one of my co-workers “couldn’t help themselves” from changing a setting on my phone.

    3. Tater B.*

      + Me

      I don’t even know what my phone sounds like on a normal setting; I ALWAYS have it on vibrate because I’m not good at remembering to silence it. But I would be livid if someone changed the settings on my phone.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Maybe it’s because the volume switch on my phone is easily accessible on the side — you could silence it without even looking at the screen. Are other phones that way? If so, I stand by my answer!

      1. Jamie*

        That’s what I was thinking – it’s a switch on the side…you wouldn’t have to go into settings to mess with mine, either.

        I’m very territorial and I’d have no problem if someone did this to mine – I’d just be mortified I didn’t do it before I left it there.

      2. Anonymous*

        I just think it’s really inappropriate to touch something that isn’t yours without permission unless it’s urgent. Being annoyed by a ringer when *you have not even asked the person to turn it down* is not urgent. Ask them to put it on silent. Ask them a second time. If they still refuse, then maybe it’s warranted.

        Or maybe if they were out for the day and left their phone at their desk and it kept going off… but they are at work, you CAN ask them, so do that before touching their stuff.

        1. KellyK*

          I pretty much agree. If you have the opportunity to ask them, putting their phone on silent while they’re in the bathroom is rude and kind of passive aggressive. *But* if they’re not there when the phone starts going off and disrupting the office, turning it off or putting it on silent is warranted.

        2. watergirl*

          It is urgent. I do it to my coworker who has been talked to several times by management, and still won’t turn off the obnoxious ring tone. I have spoken to her about it several times. It is very disruptive and unnerving. It is so loud that my headphones don’t block it out.

          If they are so rude that they ignore the rights of others, I am going to ignore her rights.

      3. ChristineH*

        The only way I know how to change the ringer or adjust the volume on my phone is going into the settings. I would definitely not want someone messing with it if I wasn’t there to give permission. But then again, my phone is a dinosaur by today’s standards (about 5 years old I think), so I don’t know if anyone would even know how to work my phone anyway. lol.

      4. sab*

        I think that is a fair point — it’s not the end of the world if someone hits a button on the side of your phone, so I guess it just depends on the person who owns the phone? I say that because I could see an oversensitive co-worker get really petty over it, i.e. “who touched my phone??!! how dare u!!1”, and create unnecessary drama. Obviously, they had a hand in it by leaving their phone on to annoy everyone, but it rules out some drama. Granted, not all, since the person could be a drama llama about even being asked, but it keeps the asker in the clear by not touching their phone. People are funny about things.

      5. KayDay*

        As someone with serious don’t-touch-my-sh! issues, I honestly would prefer for some to turn my phone (an iphone, with a switch on the side) on silent than have it continue to go off and annoy people.

        Now, if they actually unlocked my phone and changed the setting, yeah, I’d have big issues with that.

      6. Hari*

        fellow iphoner? Mine is like this too and I wouldn’t care at all if someone clicked the switch over if my phone was constantly buzzing with some notification. If anything I would be embarrassed for my lack of consideration of my fellow employees.

      7. Rana*

        Not mine. You have to open it up and go into the menu settings. I’d be really bothered if someone did that without my permission; it’d be like digging around in my purse.

    5. jmkenrick*

      Hmmm. People have done this in my office and it’s never been an issue. But I guess I could see how it might bother someone. You can always place a lock on the phone though, so they can only silence it, and not access anything…

    6. fposte*

      A co-worker’s right to have her phone untouched extends only to the point where her ring hits her colleague’s ears.

    7. Hari*

      No if your phone is ringing off the hook and its disturbing the work environment then it needs to be dealt with. It should be common sense not to mention basic consideration to keep it on silent/vibrate during work hours. I once had to turn off an employee’s alarm that kept going off every 5 minutes.

      This thought could belong in the culture post but when I was in Japan it was so refreshing because culturally it was considered rude to have your cell phone ringer go off in public or talk on your phone in public on trains. There is actually a “manner mode” on your cell phones. The prepaid softbank phone I had when I was there had this feature and I just tended to keep it on this setting the entire time.

    8. Anon1*

      I don’t see why one can’t gently park the phone that’s vibrating across the desktop – BRRRRRRRRRR! – on a soft chair, or the one playing the same two lines of loud rock over and over into the front of the top drawer.

      We have a fellow whose ringtone is a police siren at remarkable volume. He gets calls in meetings and people jump.

      1. Long Time Admin*

        My former manager was in a meeting one time where his phone was on the conference table, and started vibrating across the table. So he grabbed it and put it in his pocket – the one with his keys, so then it was jangling against the keys, which was even more distracting.

      2. Vicki*

        BRRRRRRRRRR! is right!. Even vibrate is Very Interesting when it’s on the worksurface of a set of cubicles. The whole cubicle row begins to jitter.

        It’s surprising what a difference putting it on a chair (or dropping it into the nearby backpack) makes.

        I had a co-worker who shared a cube with me. When she was on call, she’d leave her phone (in pager mode) on the desk when she went to meetings. It would go off; I’d open the bottom drawer and drop it into the top of her purse. I think, after a while, it became something of a game…

    9. Zee*

      +Me Three

      I agree that people shouldn’t touch other people’s phones. The OP mentions below that this was an iPhone. I wouldn’t have touched it to put it on silent because I wouldn’t have known how! I’m still on a pre-iPhone generation phone.

      I think though that would have been ample opportunity to let the person know they received a phone call while they were away – because the rest of the office heard it and she wasn’t around to answer it quickly! Of course I’d say that in a more polite tone and without announcing it to the whole office (like her cell phone).

    10. Anonymous*

      I used to work at a firm where one of the principals would abandon his loudly ringing phone on his desk all the time. Once, when she was totally fed up, someone in my department wrapped it up in bubble wrap and tape and put some kind of sarcastic note on it, and left it on his chair. It was the kind of culture where you could get away with doing that to an owner of the company, of course!

  3. Carrie in Scotland*

    if that were me, I’d be a bit worried that I left my phone on and when I got back it was on silent! like AAM says just let her know it’s not the done thing since you all share a space and if everyone did it, there would be constant interruptions.

    1. Rana*

      Agreed. We don’t have a landline, so my cell is my phone, and if it was silenced and I didn’t know about it, I’d probably miss a bunch of calls.

  4. ChristineH*

    “(Also, note to anyone who keeps your cell phone ring on while you’re in an office with other people: That needs to stop, today.)”

    YES!!! In a previous job, I was in an office with 3 coworkers, including a somewhat older woman. She was very nice, but she always had her cell phone ringer on (usually a song clip, thank goodness). It was fairly loud too. She does have a young adult son with significant disabilities (thus having a lot of needs) and she always apologized when it rang. But still, it was a blessing when we moved office locations and I no longer had to work near her.

    1. Andrea*

      My mother, all of her bunco friends, and my MIL are all in their early- to mid-sixties. They all—seriously, every one of them—have their phones set to the loudest and most annoying song ringtones. They turn the volume all the way up, and none of them have hearing issues. And they never have their phones on them, so when they ring, they have to dig through their purses or find jackets or whatever and meanwhile, everyone has to suffer though whatever snippet of classical music came as a free ringtone with the phone (for the record, I am seriously into classical music, but hearing “The Blue Danube” or whatever as a ringtone makes me want to stab after about four seconds). Meanwhile, I have my phone on me at all times because I wear it in my bra. (I have big boobs, okay….no one notices. The phone, I mean.). I almost always have the phone set to vibrate or to ding very quietly, mostly because I can’t stand to miss an email (I hate talking on the phone) and I always know right where it is. Last time I subbed in Mom’s bunco group, my phone dinged once, I reached into my bra, turned the ringer off, and put it back in. This was after at least four of the women had gotten calls and treated us all to the conversation-stopping ringtones, but Mom seemed to think that I’d been the rude one. Go figure.

        1. KellyK*

          A group of people who get together on a regular basis to play bunco (a dice game). Apparently it takes a set number of people to play, since a friend of mine who plays has called me a couple times asking me to substitute for someone who couldn’t make it.

      1. Tiff*

        About that bra…I usually keep my phone there (I call it the Trapper Keeper, my friends call it the Bra-cket)…and was recently standing in some bright sunshine while waiting for my transportation to arrive. Wouldn’t you know when I pulled it out it looked like the greenhouse effect in my phone, and now the screen won’t work. I just had a fascinating conversation with IT about why I need a new one…

  5. OP*

    Hi all,

    Interesting to see all the dif opinions for sure. I can assure you I would not have gone INTO someone’s phone to change the settings that way, it was an iphone so yes it was just a flip of a switch on the side to turn it to silent/vibrate and that was it. And I only did it the one time.

      1. cf*

        I am ready to throw the heavily-scented lotion appliers and the apple eaters out of the window. Is that an option?

        1. Hari*

          Chip eaters are the worse though. My old job had free mini bags of chips they kept around but everyone sat commune style so I was always too self-conscious of crunching to eat them.

          1. Jamie*

            You may have been hungry – but I consider refusal to eat chips where others have to hear you to be a sign of the highest character.

    1. Tater B.*

      Well, now that you’ve mentioned it’s an iphone….

      I admit it. I have a severe dislike for (some) iphone users. Some (again, not all) feel like they are part of some elite group, so they have every right to annoy you with their unique iphone sounds and notifications. I had a guy who would stop by my office everyday and show me what else he could do with his precious iphone.

      I can tell you what I wanted to do with it! LOL

      1. Jamie*

        “feel like they are part of some elite group”

        We are, there are even secret meetings we go to (shhh…I wasn’t supposed to say that!) where we talk about how cool we are and raise money for the underprivileged so they too can download overpriced apps. :)

        Just kidding – but I’ve heard that before and they really don’t do anything my kids’ android phones don’t do.

        They are much easier to maintain in a business environment, so that’s all I deploy at work, but while they are nice devices they are certainly nothing that should affect one’s self esteem.

        1. AgilePhalanges*

          Heh. I’d had an Android for a few years, then was offered a company phone with a recent promotion. The company only uses iPhones. People who noticed I had an iPhone now (friends, mostly), commented and asked if I don’t just LOVE the iPhone, and I have to admit that nope, I miss Swype and having a built in GPS app, and a few other things that are NOT, in my opinion, outweighed by the few things that are nicer about an iPhone (pretty much the camera quality, in my opinion), and since I’m not a person who cares about brand names or status, they are definitely not outweighed by the identifiability of my iPhone as being such instead of a “generic.” It is, however, outweighed by having the company pay my phone bill, so I deal. :-)

          Oh, and my phone is on silent all day. People who NEED to reach me have my desk number as my primary number, and can leave messages both places. Though just today, I noticed I heard ringing, and sure enough, had an incoming call on my cell phone, and was miffed that it was audibly (though VERY quietly) ringing even though it was on silent, and was about to chalk it up to an annoyance of an iPhone over an Android, when I realized it was because the headphones were plugged in–the sound was coming from them, not the phone itself, which I suppose is allowable…

  6. Kelly O*

    That is one of my big pet peeves in my office – everyone seems to keep their phone on a volume that can be heard in the food court at the mall.

    I keep mine on silent/vibrate during the day. Granted, I am also the freak who does not have an audible notification for anything except ringing, and then I have it set to vibrate and ring. (I have a friend who calls it “Moo-Moo Mode” since a buzzing phone sounds very “moo-ish” on a desk.)

    By the by, this is everyone except me I think. Cubicles, offices… all day long there are cell phones going off everywhere. The worst is now two of them have the exact same ringtone, so whenever the other one’s phone rings, the non-ringing phone owner complains because “I always think it’s my phone ringing.” No matter which one of them it is.

  7. Emily*

    “I’d like her to know somehow without me having to be the one to say something”

    This instinct is the root of pretty much every interpersonal problem that people have at work, among their family, with their friends, and in their romantic relationships. We want other people to read our minds.

    1. Jamie*

      “We want other people to read our minds.”

      Not all of the time. If people could really do that I’d be so fired. And I can’t even imagine what it would do to my self-esteem to hear what people are probably thinking about me all day long.

      What a nightmare. But your point is absolutely correct in that we want people to just know what’s right…which, coincidentally, always exactly agrees with what we think is right.

    2. Dan*

      I know. When I read the column, my first thought was, “The OP actually has to write an advice columnist to ask that question?”

      1. OP*

        No, not really. I know it’s not that big of a deal to just do it but I was just curious. Plus it’s interesting to see what others are thinking.

  8. Jubilance*

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like common sense to just say to someone “hey, do you mind putting your phone on silent? It’s distracting to hear your alerts going off, thanks.” It’s not a delicate subject like bad breath or something, so this should be easy right?

    Or maybe I’m just a weirdo….

    1. KarenT*

      +1. I was going to comment, but you’ve said exactly what I was going to say. It sounds like the OP is afraid to say something, but as Jubilance points out, it’s not a sensitive issue like bad breath. The co-worker with the ringing phone will probably say “sure no problem.”

    2. Ariancita*


      I’m more annoyed by people’s passive aggressive attempts to get you to change your behavior than by someone just making a simple and direct request.

      1. jennie*

        Long ago I turned off a coworker’s radio while she was out to lunch because the static was annoying and distracting. When she got back she flipped out and said WHO turned off my radio??? I did not admit I did it since she was obviously so offended by it. I guess I was being passive aggressive? I just thought it was nicer to turn it off while she was away than confront her about something that turned out to be a surprisingly sensitive issue.

    3. Anonymous*

      My coworker who takes several personal calls daily on their cell (ringer on high) would be very offended if anyone asked them to put it on vibrate. I suspect if his/her boss asked, it would be done, but not without drama.

  9. Sparky629*

    If you don’t want to ask directly to her face, I’d try IM or email to ask her to put it on silent. Vibrate is ok but it still makes a lot of noise if it’s sitting directly on your desk.

  10. HR Gorilla*

    On the Employee Relations spectrum, asking someone to quiet their phone is a very minor issue to have to address. As another commenter mentioned, be thankful it’s not an issue of b.o. or bad breath. :)

  11. Kristin D*

    In a previous job, I worked in an office that was one big open space. Our solution to this problem: we had a bucket the middle of the office for “ringing phones.” If your phone rang while you weren’t there, someone would put it in the bucket and you would have to go retrieve it later. This fixed the problem pretty quickly!

  12. Malissa*

    I had a manager that works in my office that always left her phone on her desk during weekly meetings. Great idea if the ringer wasn’t designed to raise the dead. I and several other individuals in the office kept asking her to silence the phone when she was in the office. She always assured us she would, yet she never did.
    This was an old style phone. I finally had enough of it one day and turned her phone off. I did that three weeks in a row. After that she always remembered to turn the ringer or the phone off when she left it on her desk.

  13. Elizabeth West*

    It doesn’t bother me particularly, unless someone’s ringtone is really obnoxious. We had some pretty funny ones at my last office. And it was common practice to tease them about it too. Most people I’ve worked with kept the sound down, and didn’t get that many calls at work. But sometimes you have to, and the more polite ones would leave the room so we didn’t have to hear the conversation.

  14. littlemoose*

    Cell phones + communal workspace = bad. One of my coworkers has a Whitney Houston song for a ringtone, and it was always turned up loud. Another coworker used to use his phone for sound effects, including a crying baby sound that I found positively grating. Thankfully, our office relocated and I am no longer near the offenders. Still, I can’t believe they didn’t realize how annoying it was. (Admittedly I would usually just close my door instead of talking to them about it, because I loathe confrontation, and because one of the offenders has a temper.)

  15. Sara*

    I am the. worst. at remembering to put my phone back on silent when I get to the office. And I forget to take it off silent when I get home, so I miss tons of calls. There have been a few time at work when I was away from my desk and came back to find, to my mortification, that I had gotten several emails and my phone was not on silent. For anyone else who has this problem: I found an amazing app called Llama which allows you to program location-aware actions on your phone. You basically “teach” it the location of home, work, etc based on the cell phone towers it detects while you are there. Then you set up sound profiles (and other actions) that get applied when you enter/leave a location. So, now, my phone turns itself to silent when I get to the office, and switches back to “normal” when I get home. A-mazing. This is for Android – iPhones may have something similar.

    1. Malissa*

      Interesting app. I’m spoiled by my LG/Android phone. All I have to do is flip it on it’s face and it goes silent.

      1. Hari*

        Jealous. Correction to my previous post above then, swype and that feature and the iphone would be perfect.

  16. Esra*

    One of the upper managers where I work always, always leaves their cell phone on and their office door open. Management listens to conference calls and voicemail on speakerphone, again with doors open. It’s so grating.

    1. +1*

      I have a colleague that calls one particular business several times a day. They have their own office quite a way from my desk but that doesn’t stop me hearing “what a wonderful world” on crackly, max volume, speakerphone when they are on hold. Even if they shut their door you can still hear it.

      This is just as annoying as the shrieking mobile of the person next to me (even though they then walk away, have a 20 minute conversation, come back and tell me “my spouse called because they were bored”).

      Both of these are going to drive me mad one of these days!

  17. frustrated*

    I just started a new job and I am really annoyed by my manager’s phone habits… wouldn’t be so annoying if it was on silent, but I hear the text msg notification/phone call ring all day long…but today I was yelled at by my boss because I was turning off my phone. I’ve seen how everyone has their phone out, and is texting or talking on it (including the manager) so I didn’t think I was being out of line or breaking any rules. but yeah, phone noises suck. if i absolutely HAVE to talk, I’ll step outside after letting someone know.

  18. Avig*

    Nothing beats my next-door cube mate who has the tune “Noel” on his cellphone. Yep Christmas music all year round.

  19. Ariancita*

    Heh, I permanently have my phone on silent, unless I know I’m going to be holding it in my hand while walking. Then it’s on vibrate. I just keep my phone in my peripheral line of sight and I can see when the face lights up when someone calls. I almost never have my ringer turned on.

  20. Anonymous*

    It’s not the ringing I find annoying, it’s the reminder beeps for when a call/text is missed. Having something beep every mintue for 30 minutes to an hour, because the person doesn’t take their cell phone with them for lunch or a meeting? Annoying as h*ll.

    1. Sara*

      maybe it’s me or the places i’ve worked, but it’s inconceivable for me to ever NOT have my phone with me. I just don’t trust anyone!

      1. Andrea*

        Yeah, no way would I leave my phone or purse or anything like that at my desk unless they were locked in a drawer (and then, only maybe). Usually, I just carried my purse everywhere. It’s possible I have issues. Then again, working at the same place with someone doesn’t mean that I should or could automatically consider them trustworthy.

  21. PG*

    Kind of the same…my fave is the folks in cubes and in offices who are so self-important that they have their IM pinging on high. Yeah, folks, we know you’re here…we all don’t need your audio notification…are you blind that you don’t SEE the window popping up? I’m very sound sensitive and it drives me to the point of tears. The one in the office – the HR freaking “MANAGER” – will not turn hers down/off even though I’ve requested it more than once. ACK!

  22. Charlotte*

    My boss has come up with a similarly grating cell phone habit…he emails during meetings, but it looks like he’s texting. I’d get it if it’s an all-day meeting…but it’s a half hour meeting, and we all wait until he’s done to begin…argh.

  23. Cassie*

    Like most commenters have said, it’s not so much the phone ringing that bothers me (voice calls are usually very infrequent) – it’s the text notifications. One coworker sits in an office near my cube and her ringer is always way up. I don’t get it – you have your phone on your desk, low volume or on vibrate (she’s in an office so it wouldn’t bother anyone), and if it rings, you’ll hear it. I wonder if it’s because she doesn’t even realize it might be annoying, if she’s lazy or if she simply doesn’t care about everyone else.

    The coworker who sits next to me also sometimes has his ringer volume up – one time I asked “does you phone have to be so loud?” and he laughed and turned it down.

  24. OP*

    What also gets me is the people who listen to their voice mails or youtube videos on their speakers and not thru their headset or headphones.

  25. Karyn*

    I don’t know if there’s an app for iPhone that does this, but when I had an Android, there were several apps you could download to automatically turn your phone settings different ways depending on time and date. For example, I had this app set to turn my phone to silent, Wi-Fi off, Bluetooth off, between 8-5 M-F, and then turn back to sound on, Wi-Fi on, Bluetooth on, between 5pm and 6am, and all day Saturday and Sunday. I feel like these apps are a godsend for the scatterbrained among us. Just something to think about if you happen to be like me and are incapable of remembering to manually turn everything off.

    1. Camellia*


      My Android has Smart Actions that does this and I love it.

      I also have an Android app called “Where’s my Droid?”. If your phone volume is low and/or set to vibrate, anyone can text a preset word to your phone and this app will override all settings to make the phone ring as loudly as possible for five minutes. Tap the display and the phone reverts back to its previous settings.

      The point is to help you find your phone if you misplace it, but I have given the code word to my family as an “emergency override”. If they absolutely have to reach me they can use this, so even it doesn’t matter if my phone is in my purse on vibrate or whatever. So far it’s only been used twice but I am so grateful for this app. If I could only have one app, this is the one I would choose!

  26. Sam*

    I have never seen a phone that could not be silenced by simply pressing a button on the side. If someone does not have a phone that silences that easily, they should either get rid of it or set their phone to only vibrate. It is RUDE to let it ring and ring, especially in an environment that should be relatively quiet, like an office, church, or a meeting. I suspect that many people don’t know they can silence the $#% thing by pressing a button on the side, which is not detectable by the caller – it goes to voicemail either immediately or after a certain number of rings.

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