Mild Suggestions on Phone Etiquette For the Person Who Called My Cell Phone at 3:15 a.m.

Dear Sir,

Phone etiquette is a heavy burden. But standing together, our shoulders are broad. Instruction begins in the home; you cannot be blamed for lessons never taught. But it is in your interest -- nay, it is your your duty to man -- to improve. Some suggestions:

1) Try not to call people at 3:15 in the morning. True, there are those who are awake and conducting business -- even business not related to the traffic in human organs or methamphetamine -- between the hours of 2 and 5 in the morning. But most of polite society is resting, preparing for the rigors of a new day and the phone-etiquette related challenges in might bring. Were you looking to have sex with me, or to tell me that someone had died, or to mention that someone had died and the grief was such that having sex with me would make you feel better, and you were an attractive female without a lot of emotional baggage and I was in a place in my life to get with you in that way, your 3:15 a.m. call would have fallen well within the bounds of phone etiquette, but I think we both know that this was not the case.

2) Identify yourself clearly as soon as possible. On answering the phone at 3:15 a.m., my first words were, "Hello, this is Chris." This was sloppy etiquette; I should have used my full name and immediately asked to whom I was speaking. Assuming that question was implied was my mistake, and I sincerely hope that my poor example did not lead you astray. However, your response, "Can I talk to Vanischletviwasclb?" was lacking in many regards. By neglecting to give your name, you placed me in an awkward situation: If Vanischletviwasclb happened to be awake (unlikely, see point one), I would have been unable to tell him, her or it who was calling. Or suppose Vanischletviwasclb has instructed me to wake him, her or it should you call at 3:15 a.m.? Given the late hour, without your identity I easily could have prematurely ended a conversation that would have led to sex or a profitable methamphetamine deal between you and Vanischletviwasclb.

3) Pay courteous attention to the person on the other end of the line. After I explained that you had a wrong number, you said "OK," then ended the call. A cursory apology was called for, but given the hour a briefer conversation was acceptable. There was an implied understanding between us that our relationship was over. However, at 8:21 in the morning, you called back -- you had not listened to my response from five hours earlier. No doubt it was your tremendous embarrassment over this egregious error that led you to hang up the phone before speaking a single word.

4) Compose your thoughts before calling. Attempting to apologize for your earlier snafus is laudable -- it shows promise for a future filled with decorum. By composing your apology ahead of time, you could have delivered it smoothly. Instead, calling back at 8:25 and 8:31 unprepared, you became flustered, and your apology came out "Can I talk to Vanischletviwasclb?" and "Is Vanischletviwasclb there?" Etiquette is a two-way street, however, and I confess that my response, "No ****ing Vaniscletviwasclb lives here and you called this number at 3 in the morning stop calling this ***damn number you ****ing ****face," was ungentlemanly. For this I apologize, you ****ing ****face.

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One man's quest to be the humblest person alive
Copyright 2013, Chris White