Phone Etiquette

My sister, brother and I are all in our early 60s. My question is about cellphone etiquette.

Today my sister called me from her car (which is the topic of a whole other subject – that is, people who can’t be bothered to talk to you from home, but only from their car).

During our phone discussion, I mentioned something extremely personal about myself and was horrified when my sister announced that someone else was in the car with her. She then apologized to that person (not me) for having to hear this!

I had a similar experience when my brother called me and after a few minutes his wife chimed in on something we were discussing, which made me realize that we were on speakerphone and our call was not private.

When did a sense of intimacy and privacy in phone calls go out the door?

Is it due to the ease of using a cellphone on speaker?

Are we all to just assume that any cellphone discussion is likely to be on speakerphone in

the presence and hearing of others?

Amy, can you issue a PSA about this?

– Overheard

Dear Overheard: If you are speaking to a person while they are driving a vehicle, then yes, you should assume that you are on speaker, because that is the safest way to do both at the same time.

However, etiquette — as well as commonsense — would also dictate that the person placing or receiving the call would notify the other party immediately: “Hey, just letting you know that you’re on speaker…”

Furthermore, unless it is an emergency, a call for directions, or a topic of mutual interest to all parties I think it’s rude to place a call when you already have a passenger in the car with whom you could be making conversation.

You – not the passenger — were owed an apology after your privacy was violated.

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3 Responses to Phone Etiquette

  1. As an etiquette coach this is a huge no no. However, you can’t teach somethings to some people. I have a friend girl that is closer to me than my biological sister. She knows I have no filter. Been knowing it since 1993. She still has me on speaker phone. It’s not an age thing. It’s just people. The next thing is, when in a relationship and the dude can only call you from his car or text you, huge red signs. We just live in a amoral world right now. It’s so sad. I don’t know how to change it though. Because people have the knowledge, they just don’t care.

    Liked by 1 person

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