sorry, no calls

OMG, I love this:

Dear Friend: Sorry. My heart says yes, but my schedule says no.

and this:

Sorry, no calls

(When I originally posted this, I assumed the author of the second piece had gotten permission to use the large amounts of Oatmeal content included there. Reading the comments on the piece over there, it appears he didn’t, which violates copyright law. Sigh. Here’s the original Oatmeal piece that a lot of that content came from.)


{ 95 comments… read them below }

    1. Karowen*

      I have to be honest, I didn’t read the article just looked at the pictures. They seemed very oatmeal-y to me, glad I’m not crazy!

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Ooooh, I naively assumed he had gotten permission. Reading the comments over there, it looks like he didn’t — and his comments in response to the complaints about it there show a fundamental misunderstanding of copyright law. As someone who gets really pissed off when my content is used without permission (and who regularly sends DMCA takedown notices), I’m regretting linking to this piece.

        1. Phoenix*

          Or at least add a link to the Oatmeal page? That way people can go to both or either.

          Frankly, I thought the original Oatmeal page was better, anyway.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          What I really like about the post is the text he wrote himself; I don’t think I would have linked the Oatmeal piece on its own, which makes this extra annoying. Grrrrr. I will, however, add a link to the Oatmeal article in the post too and call out the copyright issue.

          1. neverjaunty*

   I get what you mean about the comments, but it seems problematic to give page hits to someone ripping off content.

  1. Allison*

    I’m the same way, I’m not crazy about talking on the phone. Not sure if it’s a millennial thing where I just refuse to do things the old fashioned way and must use up-to-the-moment technology to do everything, or if I just find it odd to be speaking to someone I can’t see. I’d rather converse in text (text messages, e-mail, Facebook chat, etc.) or talk via Skype where I can see the person’s face. On the phone I can get distracted by my surroundings, but chatting face to face I have someone to make eye contact with.

    I work in the recruitment industry, where recruitment veterans swear that the best way to recruit is to pick up the phone and call someone. I call baloney. Some people may appreciate the personal touch, and that may be a generational thing, but I find that in the line of work we recruit for, most people would prefer recruiters to e-mail them first, so I’d rather do that. I don’t like cold calls, so why would I make them?

    1. LBK*

      Not sure if it’s a millennial thing where I just refuse to do things the old fashioned way and must use up-to-the-moment technology to do everything, or if I just find it odd to be speaking to someone I can’t see.

      I suspect this isn’t so much a Millennial thing as it is non-phone technology becoming more ubiquitous around the same time as Millennials started entering the workforce. I imagine there have always been swaths of people that hated answering the phone but there wasn’t really another option for the generation ahead of us – email has been around for a while now, sure, but it hasn’t been taken for granted as method of business communication until the early 2000s I’d say.

      1. LBK*

        Oh, and I’m the same way re: seeing someone’s face. In terms of preferred communication style, it’s text > face to face > video call > phone call.

        1. GrumpyBoss*

          Not a millennial either but for me, it depends on the person. Some, I know a phone call will be the most expedient path to end a discussion.

          If I could live my life without face-to-face, I would.

          Txt > IM > email > video call > phone > in person

          1. Student*

            Out of curiosity, why do you like texts instead of email? I’ve always thought of texts as a wholly inferior form of email (difficult to write, more expensive, limited characters), and I’ve always wondered what I was missing that everyone liked about them.

            1. Elsajeni*

              I prefer texts when people are trying to get in touch with me because I’ll generally see them almost immediately and be able to reply faster than I would to an email. For a while, that was probably their biggest advantage as a form of communication — I think they’re losing that advantage now that so many people get instant email notifications on their phones, though.

            2. LBK*

              If you’re operating on a phone, I actually find texting interfaces much easier to use than any email app I’ve encountered – though if it’s computer email vs. phone text, computer email is definitely better.

    2. The IT Manager*

      I agree that its not a general preference. I am Gen Xer, but my parents (early Baby Boomers) used the phone rarely and to conduct business mostly – ie not to chat. I learned the same from them and I am an extreme introvert (hate the small talk and being put on the spot to respond). Now thanks to the wonder of technology we have options. Before IMs and emails, phones were the way to communicate with an individual in a timely fashion.

      1. tt*

        I’m not a huge fan of the phone either, but if I didn’t use it, I’d never talk to my best friend and I’d miss her dearly. She rarely texts or emails, doesn’t use FB or Skype, etc.

    3. nep*

      The stereotypes don’t work. No sense even using the labels.
      I’m far from a ‘millennial’ and dislike talking on the phone for any reason except for urgent matters that must be addressed via that mode of communication. If we must: Short. To the point. Hang up.

    4. Nona*

      I’m a millennial and I grew up using the phone. I only started hating phones as I do now when an entry-level job had me taking calls from customers, who are half reasonable people and half vicious. Funny how that works.

      It seems like most people prefer text-based communication because it’s simply more convenient. I also like it because the customers who I interact with via email are usually much nicer. Maybe seeing our words in front of us, with a signature attached, makes us reconsider them.

    5. Marcy*

      It is not a generational thing. I am Gen X and I hate hate hate the phone. I only answer when I have to (like at work). When I was a teenager, I used to make my parents lie to my friends that called and say I wasn’t home. I didn’t want to be trapped on the phone when I could be doing something else, or nothing at all.

      1. Robert Columbia*

        I am also Generation X (born 1980). I grew up with old fashioned phones, but when the Internet came down to the common folk (1996-1998 or roundabouts were the critical years of the Home Internet Revolution), I wholeheartedly embraced email (and later, texting), and now have a near-pathological aversion to the phone.

        So many of the people I have to deal with seem to have a pathological (or nearly so) aversion to email and texting! Just today I was trying to get some business done by email and the person on the other end seems to be of the opinion that email should only be used for two purposes: to send important and/or official files, and to schedule phone calls. I just emailed him a simple inquiry this morning and his response was to pick up the phone and call me. Many other people have a similar attitude to email – that it’s only real purpose is to send files (isn’t that what FTP is for?) and to schedule phone calls. Aargh! Do they teach this sort of creepy behavior in schools nowadays?

        I have read in a few places that there is, or was, a best practices movement in some professions (especially in healthcare, cf. the concept of “health literacy”) to switch from written messages (both physical and email) to phone calls and/or audio messages because there was supposedly a huge problem with illiteracy and therefore your illiterate clients would thank you, kiss your feet, sacrifice their firstfruits unto your glory, etc. if you would only *call* them instead of sending them incomprehensible “Please bring Form 44-B with Addendum Q to tomorrow’s appointment, and don’t eat during the three hours preceding your appointment.” messages. That leaves me with a question (perhaps one of the biggest questions of our time?) – Where do I go to take the literacy test to get these stupid doctors to stop treating me as an illiterate peasant and calling me for every minor trifle?

    6. Mister Pickle*

      I work from home, with people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities, and the only pattern I’ve noticed is that mgmt tends to want to use the telephone for almost everything. They don’t mind getting a report or status via email or text, but if they have a question or just want discuss something, it will start with a text message: “can I call you?”

  2. Elysian*

    I wish I was allowed to hate the phone. But I have the dreaded lawyer condition that someone mentioned earlier today of not ever wanting the things I say (or that my clients say) memorialized in print. So phone call I must. :'(

    1. Alicia*

      It’s funny, that’s the exact reason I DO use email – so that I have a record of interaction.

      1. Elysian*

        That’s true, too! I have a call log that I keep, so there’s that, but, most of my emails are things like “Just following up to let you know I need the information that you haven’t sent me” or “Attached please see formal correspondence on fancy letterhead.” Just to prove that I did in fact touch base. I try not to cover substantive stuff in emails though, especially if its something that could come back to me. “Tell me about your case” or “What bad stuff do I need to know about?” has gotta happen on the phone or in person.

      2. Noah*

        I was deposed for a lawsuit once. After having emails I forgot writing dissected, I’m much more careful about what I actually put in writing now.

      1. Robert Columbia*

        Thank you for posting this. Plagiarism is a completely different concept from copyright. Not committing plagiarism is about being honest about where you copied stuff from. If you turn in a copy of the Encyclopedia Brittanica as your graduate thesis and properly cite it, that’s not plagiarism, that’s poor scholarship that will almost certainly merit you a failing grade, and possibly a copyright violation. Copyright is about how much and for what purpose you copy stuff, and saying that you cited it properly is no defense.

        Plagiarism can be committed in the absence of a copyright violation, for example by copying something published in the 1800’s and claiming that you wrote it. A copyright violation, on the other hand, can be committed without plagiarizing, as in my Encyclopedia Britannica example.

  3. Stephanie*

    I might be an anomaly for my age group (Millennials), but I don’t mind the phone (when used properly that is). I think there can be a tendency to hide behind email or texts and things can devolve into a long back-and-forth. I’d much rather spend 15 minutes on the phone figuring something out than replying and getting into a back-and-forth. Tone can be lost as well. I think, too, I’m also ok saying “No, this isn’t a good time to talk, but can I call you back at [this time]?” But yeah, if it’s something non-critical or that doesn’t require much discussion, email is fine.

    On a personal note, I remember I had a roommate who would email me about everything. That was irritating because it’s like “Ok…we live in the same 900 sq ft apartment. Can we please just talk in person?”

      1. Just wondering*

        Every Saturday morning my son sends me a text asking me what’s for breakfast! And we do not live in a large house.

      2. manybellsdown*

        I do that because I do not want to run up and down the stairs after running around the kitchen cooking. That’s if yelling doesn’t work. I’m pretty loud.

    1. Allison*

      I think there are times where a phone call does make the most sense, like when something requires a lot of back and forth, and I don’t mind being on the phone when it seems necessary. What I don’t like is the reverse, when someone insists on telling me something by way of phone chat when the information I need can be easily typed into an e-mail and sent to me, without having to “set up a time to chat” or playing phone tag until we’re both available. And then the information is easily accessible without me having to transcribe what they’re telling me over the phone.

      1. Stephanie*

        Yeah, I’m with you. On the flip side, I get annoyed when there’s the expectation that I respond immediately to a text or email.

  4. TheTemp*

    Ahh my mother in law, The Lecturer. I lost about half an hour of my life talking with her about her upcoming visit, in which she said something quite possibly racist. Good times.

  5. Relosa*

    I like sending phone calls because I know what I want to talk about and how to ask for it. I hate receiving phone calls from mouth-breathing, interruptive, context-clueless, selective-hearing, mumbler-repeater-while-note-taking nimrods who have never bothered to use technology and simultaneously have no idea what phone etiquette is.

    1. mouth-breathing, interruptive, context-clueless, selective-hearing, mumbler-repeater-while-note-taking nimrod*

      I resent that.

    2. LBK*

      This is pretty rude, honestly. Phone conversations can be really tough for people for a variety of reasons, for example people who have trouble sensing the tone of a conversation without body language to read or people with difficulty hearing that’s only amplified by the general lack of sound quality on cell phones. Those both apply to me and as a result I can struggle with a phone conversation that I might do perfectly fine with in person.

      1. Relosa*

        I also have mild aphasia which makes both hearing speech and speaking difficult at times, and I’m a note-taker because I have terrible short-term memory – there’s a difference between someone who has a clear problem (hard of hearing, breathing issues, etc) versus people who have godawful habits or are just plain rude on the phone.

        Anyone who’s done serious phone work can tell these two categories apart pretty quickly. There is no excuse for chewing on anything in my ear, interrupting me when I’m answering the question you asked, ignoring what I tell you, or yelling into the phone (this is a hard one to get when in a noisy environment because the immediate response is to try and yell over it, but never assume the person on the other end of the line has the same noise/quality problem you do – the answer is to speak slower and more clearly).

        I love to talk on the phone, I am a chatty person, and some converastions/tasks I much prefer to do over the phone. But I cannot stand talking to those who have no idea how.

        1. LBK*

          Most of those problems sound like they could happen in person anyway – people not paying attention, interrupting, inappropriate volume, eating while talking, etc. Not sure how this is relevant to the phone specifically.

  6. DMC*

    I’m not an introvert I just LOATH answering the phone at work. Email is just so much faster and replies can be in meetings or when you have time to get to it. I love listening to messages and then I have my response, answer, information ready when it is finally time to respond.

    1. Swarley*

      Except when the voice message says the following: This is Gertrude, call me back at 123-4567.


      1. Stephanie*

        My dad got in the habit for a bit of marking every voice mail “urgent.” First couple of times he did that, I’d heard “Message from [Dad’s number]. Marked urgent”, assume somebody was dead or dying, and then it was something inconsequential like “Did you get your Thanksgiving tickets booked?” or “Steph, this is Dad. Call me back.” The latter would then lead to “Oh crap. Someone died and he doesn’t want to say it on the phone.” And again. it was something like “Did you get your oil changed?”

        I had a recruiter do that recently. Left a voicemail like “Please call me back regarding [job you interviewed for].” And then it was like “Oh hi! Yeah, we went with someone else.” That could have just been a voice mail or email.

        1. HeyNonnyNonny*

          Hahaha, that sounds like something my mom does. She’ll leave a voicemail asking me to call her back, and when I do, she’ll just have a story about buying lettuce at the store.

      2. Kelly L.*

        My least useful work voice mail ever:

        “Your (ticket selling mechanism on website) isn’t working.” Click.

        If she’d only left a number, I could have helped her! (It was working; there were just some people having trouble navigating it for various reasons out of my control. I spent about a month walking people through it over the phone.) But instead, I couldn’t call her back. No number. Phone didn’t have caller ID, and she wasn’t the most recent caller so I couldn’t *69 her either. So I guess she never did get tickets.

        1. Relosa*

          Or people who SWEAR they didn’t click “pay” twice, but they were charged more than once, and it was our thieving gnomes that charged their card.

          1. the gold digger*

            I had a message on my home answering machine once that said, “Susan [ie, not me]! Aunt Clara died last night. The funeral is Saturday at the funeral place at 2. We know how much you loved Aunt Clara and we really hope to see you there.”

            They left no callback number. I kept hoping they would call again so I could tell them they had the wrong number. On Saturday, I kept thinking of Susan not showing up for Aunt Clara’s funeral because she didn’t even know she was dead and how sad she was going to be that she missed the funeral.

            1. The Maple Teacup*

              That made me laugh in horror of the situation. Probably a sign my soul is severely degraded.

            2. Elsajeni*

              For about a year, I regularly got voicemails for someone named Darlene, from an older woman who kept getting more and more pissed off that Darlene never called her back. She never left a callback number, and she only ever called when I was in class and had my phone switched completely off, so I couldn’t even get a number from the missed-call notification. Eventually she quit calling — I hope it was because she figured out she had the wrong number, but I’m afraid she may have just decided to stop talking to Darlene.

      3. Nerd Girl*

        I talk to a lot of medical offices nationwide. The message that gets me is this (and I get some version of this at least twice a week!): “Hi Nerd Girl, I’m calling from Dr. Smith’s office returning your call. call me back”

        WHAT? What patient are we referring to? Who are you? What’s the number? Which Dr Smith? What state are you in??? When did I call you? GAH!!!!!!

        1. Nerd Girl*

          I used Smith in my example, but even with a unique name I need more specifics. There might only be one Dr. DeNucci in all of Idaho but there could be over one hundred in New York where an Italian surname is more common.

      4. tt*

        That drives me crazy. A friend once got annoyed at me because I never called her back. I said you didn’t leave a message. she says she doesn’t have time for a message. I say I’m otherwise occupied and don’t have time to call if she’s not going to leave a message because I don’t know if it’s important and I have something else going on. So then she starts leaving messages that say “it’s me, call me back.” !#!# That is not helpful, you missed the point. Tell me what you want!

        1. Adonday Veeah*

          Yeah, this flaps my pajamas too. Some folks think that my phone exists for their convenience. They get poopy when I disagree.

  7. Alex (Female)*

    Ugh, the phone is just the worst, isn’t it?! There are times where I like it for business, but I like to schedule my calls. My email and outgoing voicemail greeting both have a blurb along the lines of “Due to the nature of this position, I am frequently in and out of meetings and am more quickly accessible via email, please email me at xxx@xxx.” It’s improved my work life tenfold.

  8. Hillary*

    Is it strange that I like talking on the phone?

    I’m right on the line between millennial and gen x, but the vendors I work with are mostly gen x or boomers. We can usually get things done a lot faster in a single phone call then in the 10 emails it might otherwise take to figure out all the nuances.

    Plus it’s a lot harder for them to say no to me on the phone.

    1. LBK*

      For a back and forth that requires figuring out details, I do agree that phone is better with the caveat that they must all be details each party will know offhand. If the details you need will require a decision to be made or more than 30 seconds of research to be done, don’t call.

    2. Sage*

      I agree with Hillary (and the others who replied)… the phone is just so much faster. E-mail is often so poorly written that it becomes its own anxiety-provoking beast (for me).

  9. Rebecca*

    When my phone rings at work, I sigh. If one of my customers has picked up the phone and placed an actual call to me, something is usually very, very wrong. The sound fills me with dread the second I hear it.

  10. Nerd Girl*

    Have to be honest…I prefer the phone over email and text. I agree that small talk is a bore and sometimes the interrupting thing can be exactly as described in the article, but I don’t have to wait around for someone to respond to my email or text. There’s also seldom any doubt about tone or inflection when taking a call. If someone is upset it comes across immediately.
    That being said, due to the nature of my job and the fact that I spend half of my day on the phone and the other half on my computer nearly ALL of my free time is spent away from both of those devices. I do a lot of reading…from actual books with pages…in my free time just to get away from those. LOL!

    1. LBK*

      but I don’t have to wait around for someone to respond to my email or text.

      But that’s the inherently rude part of calling someone. You’re basically saying “I am deciding that your #1 priority right now should be doing what I want. You are not allowed to do something else first before you respond to me.” Maybe you have to wait to get a response to your email or text because that person has something else they’re doing that is more important than immediately responding to you.

      1. HKS*

        If you don’t have time to talk on the phone when someone calls or it’s not a good time, don’t answer the phone.
        I agree that email can be more clear than phone calls and I also dislike vague voicemail messages, but I think part of the reason why so many people are bad at talking on the phone is because they don’t get enough practice.

  11. Paloma Pigeon*

    Working in nonprofit and reaching out to donors, you want to maximize human interaction to engage donors. In my new job (yay AAM!) I am required to call donors to thank them for their gifts. 99% of the time I leave a voicemail, but occasionally you get a live person – and once they realize you don’t want anything, they open up. I learn a lot about people and it all gets filed away – remembering their likes/dislikes, etc and how you can help them relate more strongly to what you are doing. Think of the phone as the tool you want to use not for the pressing and urgent task at hand, but to build the relationship so for the project that may come a year down the line.

  12. Cat Geek*

    I’m wondering, is there a good way to job hunt without needing to use the phone? At least not for initial unexpected calls? Would requesting employers contact you by email automatically get your resume put in the reject pile at most places? What about only listing your email address, but not phone number?

    1. some1*

      Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend any of this. Even if the hiring manager hates talking on the phone as much as you, you look like you are trying to dictate their hiring process, which makes you look entitled.

      And for what it’s worth, I just finished a job search and a few employers did initially reach out to me via email, and I found them all to be awkward communicators once we met in person.

  13. AUB*

    I read the first and glaced (and laughed) at the second. Felt that the first guy should have just said ‘I can’t meet with you personally for fifteen minutes, but I have included what I would love to share with someone in your situation if I did have those fifteen minutes to share.’ And then go right to that resource list, ending with ‘best of luck.’ I know many people are thinking it and want to say what he said, especially busy successful people, but where is the benefit in all that expanded version context? If a person emailed again pushing that boundary I think the first several paragraphs would be totally nessecary.

  14. Mister Pickle*

    “The Impulsive” (#2 on the Oatmeal) is a huge pet peeve of mine. I tend to think of it as “The Drive-By”. I’ve had enough bad experiences with it that I’ve conditioned myself to simply say “no” whenever anyone calls me to ask for a favor. I figure I can always call them back.

    The last time I got suckered by this was an ex-neighbor who called me out of the blue – from an unknown number, this was before cell-phones – and said “hey, can you pick me up at the airport on Saturday, my flight gets in at 2pm.” I said yes, he said thanks and hung up. And after I realized what I’d done – like, I wanted to waste my Saturday afternoon hanging out at the airport waiting for this guy who wasn’t that good of a friend in the first place? – it bugged me enough that I spent considerable effort tracking him down so I could call him and say “hey, sorry, I can’t make it Saturday”. Petty, I know. And people have told me that I should have simply not shown up at the airport, but that didn’t sit right with me. But it was quite satisfying to tell him “no”.

  15. I am Me*

    Alison – have you considered having your links set to open in a new window? I hate leaving AAM when you link to another site.

    Also, no phone calls. Aside from learning my lesson to get the important stuff in writing – everything he said is spot on.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Some people hate having links force-opened in a new window, which is why I don’t do it here — but you can make it happen yourself by the way you click on it. So my theory is, let people control how it happens for themselves.

    2. LBK*

      If you don’t like right-clicking to use the “Open in new tab” option, you can also hold Ctrl (or Cmd on a Mac) while you click and that does the same thing.

  16. Verde*

    Generally (and as a Gen X’er), I have come to despise the phone when I am on the receiving end, or when it involves playing phone tag and never connecting with someone. I get so many cold calls and other unimportant calls where people just want to talk about something not urgent or interesting or relevant and I’m busy. Or, it’s my mom. Calling me at work. And being surprised that I have a job. And work. And can’t talk right now. On the same schedule I’ve been on for the last ten years.

    If I need an immediate answer and email/IM’ing isn’t being replied to, I will reach out by phone. But generally I prefer email and texting, as it is non-invasive and allows me or the recipient to get back as convenient. And, the documentation has saved my butt on multiple occasions.

  17. Not So NewReader*

    The phone does not bother me most of the time. What really bothers me is people who leave voice messages. Our phones are not great and sometimes I have to listen to the message 4-5 times before I get what is said. At least once every few days I have someone who uses a cell phone to place a garbled call. Cell phones do not work well here and many areas the connection will just drop. This leaves me with a 1/2 garbled message that got dropped before completion.
    Then people are mad because I did not call them back. sigh.

    What is really odd to me is that everyone knows cells are spotty and not reliable here. So why not call back later to see if I got the VM message? (Legal matters- the onus is on the caller to call me. I try to be as helpful as possible, but when the VM sounds like the adults in the Peanuts cartoons, there is not much I am going to be able to do.)

    1. LBK*

      What’s the alternative to leaving a voicemail, though? Just repeatedly calling 10 times a day until you’re available to pick up? I think most people would find that really rude – I hate when someone who already left me a voicemail calls again.

      I guess you’re in special circumstances if it’s widely known in your company that voicemail quality is poor, but I don’t think that’s a standard. I actually hate when people DON’T leave me a message – if I just see a missed call from you with no vm left, I’m going to assume it wasn’t important and I’m not going to call you back.

  18. Libby*

    You know, I think one unrecognized reason so many of us don’t like talking on the phone (in addition to all those interactional drawbacks) is because the sound quality on cell phones isn’t very good (compared to landlines), and its a lot worse when one or both talkers are walking or driving somewhere. I didnt mind the phone 10 years ago.

    1. Kelly L.*

      Yes! Everybody cuts out, has static, etc., plus I think there was a study about how the lag in cell phones is different, leading people to interrupt each other more. And I love my cell phone!…for texting. But it’s not the best to actually talk on the phone with.

  19. wendy*

    Being somewhat hearing impaired, I generally don’t like the phone, especially cell phones. But many of the branches of my work have VOIP now, and that has revolutionized my work communication. VOIP-phone-to-VOIP-phone conversations are absolute heaven compared to cell phones.

  20. Alder*

    I am a milennial (haha?) and I prefer to talk on the phone! Texting takes too long and sometimes I need to ask multi-part questions that go much faster on the phone. I do prefer texts to voicemails, I guess, but phone conversations seem direct and efficient to me.

  21. Matt*

    I’m on the verge between X and Y and I hate the phone. For me it’s synchronous vs. asynchronous. I don’t like to be put on the spot, I need time to think about my answers. If it has to be a phone call, then one that is set up as substitute for an in-person meeting, as an appointment to prepare for. But I hate it when certain coworkers just call for everything. And if they don’t reach me, they call again and again and again, and if they ever send an email it’s just “call me back”. And if I send them an email, they’ll react with a phone call. Once I got an email by one of them saying “I couldn’t reach you by phone, that’s why this email” … for me email has to be the default and phone the exception, not otherwise. It probably has to do with me being an introvert, yes.

  22. Mena*

    I’m missing something … the person spent 15 minutes to explain why he/she didn’t have 15 minutes for a phone call???

  23. Miss Betty*

    When I was younger, I didn’t mind – even liked – talking on the phone. I’d spend hours on the phone with my friends. (And by younger I mean from pre-teen up into my 30s.) I hate it now. I hate business calls but I hate personal calls even more. It seems to me that everyone I want to have phone conversations has forgotten how to do it – they interrupt, they jump on my sentences, they don’t let me get a word in edge-wise. Age has nothing to do with it – offenders come in all ages! I keep wondering if it has something to do with cellphones, since I never really noticed it till they became ubiquitous and it doesn’t happen so much when I use the phone at work. Of course, that might have more to do with those being business calls, rather than the fact that they occur on landlines. In any case, I hate talking on the phone because phone calls have become less conversations and more monologues. Why is that?

  24. lap_giraffe*

    I’m not a fan of the first link, nor the cult of busy, first and foremost this is bragging disguised as an excuse. This man doesn’t have to respond to every email he gets, but if it’s actually a friend or acquaintance that has reached out, I’d be pretty annoyed to get that as a response.

    I’m a much bigger fan of Adam Grant’s “Give an Take,” of making a conscious effort to give of your knowledge, time, expertise, rolodex, whatever you might have to offer, and without expectation of reciprocity, with the belief that helping others succeed brings you more connections, more opportunity, and allows for everyone’s piece of the pie to expand.

    On second thought, if I got that email from someone I was trying to network with, I’d be glad to know upfront that this guy only cares about himself and isn’t someone worth connecting with further.

    1. Shortie*

      As someone with a personality type that compels me to respond to everyone lest I be viewed as rude, I see this a little differently. People who get anxious over not having time to respond to everyone aren’t necessarily bragging. I know I’m not. I just get very anxious when I can’t help everyone that I’d like to, so I tend to over-explain. Perhaps this fellow experiences something similar. Personally, I’m working on learning that it’s okay to simply not respond, but some of this is more personality type than dysfunction, so I have to find a balance between being myself and reducing my anxiety.

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