Put the phone down and step away slowly.


There is something I have not understood since the dawn of the cell phone.  Today I am mystified by the absolute obligation people feel like they have towards a phone.

You see, when I was young, we didn’t have caller id, call waiting, 3-way calling, or text messaging.  When you called someone you either heard a ring or you listened to a busy tone.  That was it, those were the options.  Oh, answering machines came along somewhere in the midst of all of that and occasionally you talked to an answering machine.

Back in the day you had people who were obsessed with screening their calls through the answering machine due to the fear of having to talk to *gasp* a telemarketer.  Today, we screen calls through Caller I.D.  I don’t know about you, but the odds are if I don’t know the number I don’t answer the phone.  Period.  Occasionally I will, but overall, you get a big fat nada if you call me and I don’t know the number.

However, there are the OTHER types of cell phone users that I don’t understand.  These are the people who will answer their phones at ALL COSTS.  You could be sitting down at a romantic dinner, and if that phone rings, by damn they will answer it.  Having girls night?  Phone gets answered.  Sex?  I have known people to actually get up DURING sex and answer the phone.  Not foreplay…sex.  Using the bathroom at the mall?  HEY don’t forget to answer your phone.  I’m sure whatever it is can’t wait until you are done wiping, fluffing, and washing your hands.

Not to mention the rudest of the rude people.  These are the people who come into a business expecting to be waited on, and leave the people serving them sitting there waiting for the customer to get off the phone.  I assure you if you come to MY window at my office with a phone attached to your ear, I will have absolutely NO PROBLEM interrupting your phone conversation.  If you refuse to allow me to interrupt, I will shut the window in your face until you are finished with your call.  When I worked in a coffee shop and people did that to me, I walked away from the register until they finished their call, and if they were first in line, I would allow people behind them to cut in front.  To all of the people listed above, I have a question:

Why do you feel so obligated to your phone?

This is how I feel about it.  I pay for my phone.  I use a cell phone and do not have a house phone.  I purchase my minutes every month when I pay the bill.  Therefore I am under no obligation to answer my phone.  Ever.  I pay for my phone for MY convenience and not the convenience of the people who call me.

Don’t get me wrong, if someone calls, I usually try to call them back if I don’t answer the call.  However, I don’t feel guilty for not answering.  If I am getting help from a Customer Service person and my phone rings, I silence it and continue with my business.  I am simple not that attached to my phone.

Why do you think some people feel required to answer their phones?


Author: Jill Stewart

I am a 37 -year-old woman from Arkansas who is happily married to a Scottish immigrant aka “the hubby” “the hubs” or if I am calling him directly “YO YOU!” We’ve been married for 3 years and it’s been a crazy ride, and unfortunately our finances have been beat to death in the last few years. We have two dogs and a cat, no kids. The Blog- What’ll you find: Financial Information as we try to become debt free My attempts at working and trying to maintain a home to the standards I like My adventures in learning how to sew Arts and craft projects Funny tidbits from my life including living with a Scottish person, the dogs, and other oddball things that happen to me. What you won’t find: Much on children. I don’t have kids and I can’t have kids. Recipes- I don’t mind cooking, but unless it’s something really special, don’t come here looking for the weekly recipe! You won’t find it- unless you ask my husband. If you’re interested in what you see, please follow me on Facebook or sign up for emails! Most of all, leave a comment or ask a question! I am always happy to hear from you!

28 thoughts on “Put the phone down and step away slowly.

  1. You got me. I’m not nearly as obsessed with my phone as most people are. I screen my home calls (my home phone doesn’t have caller id) and I am not a big answerer of phones. People are doing such rude things with those phones that I actually have vowed that I wouldn’t do the same, because 99 out of 100 times, the call isn’t worth it. Almost every call can wait a couple minutes.

  2. Do I get a kick to the head if I say “Because they are waiting for an organ transplant”? Ok, yeah, I do, I know I do and probably deserve it.I agree though, I’m sick of being less important than an electronic device. Those things are worse than kids for wanting attention to because, just like a kid, it never shuts up until you give it attention (or the nanny, voicemail, takes over for you.)

  3. Well, if people stopped paying attention to their phones, then they would feel left out, cut off from the world, and guilty that they didn’t reply to that text message and missed that “important call”.

  4. I agree. If I’m on the phone in the store for some reason (I try to avoid this) I hang up before I check out. It’s rude. I think people forgot the old rule of courtesy, that people IN person take precedence over people ON THE PHONE. Duh. There are times I HAVE to answer my phone, because if something “goes down” at work, I have to handle it, it’s part of my job. That having been said, chit chatting about who said what to whom and who is wearing what to where is not that kind of call. lol

  5. @squeakysoul – YAY another thing we have in common!@Tigster – No, I wouldn’t kick you in the head for that, or for someone who is say….talking to their husband who is in Iraq right now and he can only call right then.  Those I understand, but holding up a line because your kids called to tell you the dog pooped outside…just doesn’t seem that necessary!@uber_ghey – LOL.  Maybe you need a wrist band to keep it attached to your arm!@sortingandforting – Why feel guilty though?  If it is not a good time for YOU to answer YOUR phone, why should you feel guilty?@bethro78 – I always hang up before the check out.  I completely agree with you on that.  Work is also understandable, especially with what you do. 🙂

  6. Every time I get a phone it ends up finding a puddle, concrete steps, or the swimming pool. So I try not to get too attached.

  7. Back when you were young there were no cars (and no caller ID or waiting) you rode dinosaurs. LMAO! Just kidding.I agree, I cant stand rude people on their phones. When I worked as a waitress and other jobs working with people when they would try to talk to me and on their phones i would simply say “Seriously? You can hang up your phone and get help or you can come find ME when your done.”I cant stand those people.

  8. @Consenttotreatment – You better take it easy there woman.  You are not that much younger than me… 😉

  9. @Southernlass – I agree. 60 years age difference isnt too far off. 😉 LMAO!

  10. @Consenttotreatment – Alright woman.  You are cut off!  CUT OFF I TELL YOU!  *shakes fist at you*

  11. @Southernlass – Well, I’ve felt guilty about missing a call, and I don’t have voice mail set up on my phone (which is probably a good thing), so I have to call back and asked what they wanted. Lately, though, I could care less.Also, I don’t use my phone that often, but I do consider it a necessity to have one.

  12. I have clients that will kill themselves to get their phone, sometimes making 2 or 3 calls at the same time.  Heaven forbid if I decide to call another client back while I am waiting for them to finish, and they get done 30 seconds before me.  Then I get a nasty stare that they have to wait for me.

  13. *hugs* can we cuddle?

  14. For some there’s a just a fundamental sense of curiosity that drives them. Maybe it’s their obsessive compulsiveness acting up. If someone calls they just *have* to know who it is, what they want, why they’re calling. It will at eat at them not knowing. They’ll be unsettled and unable to go about the rest of their business.For others that gets compounded by fear and worry and maybe a too high opinion of one’s self. That is they that there might be something important happening or that they might be *needed*. And when it’s true, for work or friends or family or whatever that in turn boosts their self esteem that feeling of being connected and significant at all times. Lastly I think for some people once they are in a conversation they just lack the willpower to stop. Either because they just love talking so much or they really hate to be rude to the person they are on the phone with or to disappoint that person. Of course they feel less guilt about being rude to a random stranger waiter or waitress or something.Well those are just some guesses… who knows, there could be any number of reasons why people get enslaved to their phones.

  15. A while back I had a house phone AND a cell phone and it drove me INSANE! I’d let it ring…let the answering machine get it. If I was in the living room and heard it was important, I’d call back, on my time!

  16. I’ve grown to despise my phone. I have no home land-line, so should theoretically rely on my mobile. But for the last 24 hours I’ve had it turned off. This weekend it was ringing non-stop (many a pointless conversation, although I do love my friends) and so am having a break from it, and will catch up on anything missed tomorrow. The phone just turns in to a dependency and a money-eater….my housemate has the most annoyying habit of answering his phone whenever it rings, regardless of what we are doing, or where we are. Also I think its a joke you guys have to pay for the calls you receive. Go consumer rights!

  17. Some of the younger generation just have never been taught to respect others and to be polite!They interrupt others because they think only of themselves… it makes for a sadder world, courtesy is what makes life elegant! :)My grandparents always told me that they paid for that phone so THEY could decide when to answer it. I think they were right!  But I do understand, that if you are in business, you must answer your phone in case its a client. But you can do it outside, or after you get through the line, lolBlessings

  18. This has always infuriated me, too.  The biggest for me is when on a line….like at the grocery store….and people are yap, yap, yapping….rather than paying, or bagging their dumb groceries (we don’t have baggers here…I realize some states do…not us).  Grrr!  I want to EXPLODE.  These are normally the same types of people who when they finally hang up and are ready to pay….they pay with a CHECK….rather than a debit card or cash….as my blood boils even more as they sit there fumbling around writing a CHECK of all things.

  19. I never answer my phone when I’m with my boyfriend having a romantic date or something. Usually it goes 100% off because I do not want to be reached when I’m with (as of now) the love of my life. I answer the phone for family members (except my brother in law, because he is a jerk) and my boyfriend plus his best friend. Everyone else can either text me saying call me back or they can forget my cell phone number. Hehe. I love getting a text saying “wow I’m bored” or “hey whats up” because I know its because they are bored and they want someone to entertain them. 

  20. I for one almost never answer my phone.  When I do people think they have the wrong number.  I will get my kids to answer before I do.  I hate talking on the bloody thing, but I do like the convenience of being able to get in touch with someone when you have to and being able to message to and from my kids.Can I add to your list of hates about the phone people who are in the hallway or waiting room waiting for an appointment (for them or a family member) and they play with their phones either games or change ring tones or just scroll through old messages and all the while the freaking )&(*&)(*) is beep beep beeping and annoying the hell out of me.  Or last week the guy who was in the hall way doing his company business and talking so loud I could hear every word in my office while I was trying to do dictation.  He would make call after call.  I finally went out in the hall and told him phones are not allowed on in the building.  He got snotty and said in the BUILDING?  I said YA in the BUILDING!  Jerk.  Then he moved down the hall but still kept talking on the phone.  I hate listening to people blab on their phone around me.

  21. @storyslut – I would glare right back at them if they did that to me!!!!@Mizmazed – I usually don’t either when I am doing important stuff, and quality alone time constitutes as important!@newbie2005 – Oh yes, the lobby yappers.  Totally annoying!

  22. people are just nuts, I think.

  23. hah I have a cell phone under duress. I never liked phones as a child and would make my mother call for me. In fact, the cell phone that I do have is from her and she constantly yells at me because I always forget to turn it on. I can’t stand people who drive with their phone glued to their ears, but the people who make a pretense of shopping while preoccupied with their phone conversation are a close second.

  24. i am totally with you on this.  i had a patient asking me to wait until she finished with her cell phone call before she would let me take care of her!  and i work in an emergency room!

  25. Thank goodness I don’t get many calls to warrant ignoring them. I’ve read, though, of people who just can’t live without their phones because they’re big businesspeople. I understand that, but I feel sorry for them. What a life to lead.

  26. I have friend who has literally text’d during all different times of the day. When he’s waking up. When he’s in the bathroom. In class. During an outing with me and other friends. Or just an outing with me. In an elevator. In a restaurant. In a family video. At a party. While he’s DRIVING. As we talk on the phone. While he’s chatting online. During a photo op. During breakfast. Lunch. Dinner.You name it.Fortunately he lost his phone’s Sim card–“the soul” to his phone as he puts it–so he’s not texting for the meantime.It’s quite annoying. But I let him know.I for one am not obsessed with my phone. I take it everywhere with friends because I like taking pictures [since I don’t have a regular camera]. Otherwise, my friends can leave me voicemails. What bugs me is that lots of times they end up calling me 20 times and not leaving one. That irks me a little…

  27. voice mail…Its a wonderful thing!

  28. @AdiOpERsOcoM – I would so kick your friend in the shins if he did that around me.  I actually have text messaging blocked on my phone.  I honestly don’t see any reason to have it.  I was mostly getting junk texts anyway, so I blocked it and saved myself some money!  And WTH is with people doing that stuff while they are in the bathroom?  Read a book or something!@aj_mudd – Agreed and I use it…. A LOT!

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