Why I Don’t Answer My Phone

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

By Rachel Hoeing

I had been playing phone tag with a friend of mine for a while. Once we finally got in touch we enjoyed catching up and then she commented, “Well I had been trying to call forever, you but you didn’t answer your phone!” It was almost an underlying dig somehow insinuating that I was avoiding her call or purposely did not answer because I did not want to talk to her. I didn’t comment, but had one of those moments after we hung up where you think, “Awww man, I should have said …”

So today I will say what I should have said. This situation got me thinking about the fact that we have become WAY too accessible.(Email, texts, home phone, cell phone, etc) It irked me because there are about a thousand reasons why I may not answer my phone and none of them have to do with WHO is calling. Beware, much sarcasm ahead.

So what I should have said was, “Did you ever consider …

Sometimes I go to the bathroom. Yes, I know it is crazy to think I actually take the time to do this, but I do not take my phone in there with me and therefore I may miss your call. And when I leave the bathroom I do not run to the phone to see who may have called during those two minutes.

Sometimes I have a meeting. Yes, a real meeting with a client, or my child’s teacher, or a volunteer organization, and unfortunately I do not answer the phone during those times.

Sometimes I go outside. Amazing! There is an entire world outside of my home and it is not a place where I take my phone!  I play with my kids, I talk to my neighbors, I sit on my porch, I ride my bike, I swim in the pool … all without my phone in hand.

Sometimes I take a shower. Again, I know it is tough to believe, but I do not take my phone into the shower with me.

Sometimes I am in church. They aren’t too keen about cell phones ringing while we are there.

Sometimes my phone is in the car while I am in the house or in the house while I am in the car. It is not strapped to my head.

Sometimes I am with my family. I may be enjoying time with my kids or spending some QT with my husband and every so often I do not answer the phone (or even hear it ringing for that matter), and I personally think that is OK.

Sometimes I am with friends. Sometimes a friend is pouring her heart out to me about a serious situation and stopping her crying to answer my phone just doesn’t seem polite for some odd reason.

Sometimes it is just a crappy day. It’s a crappy day where I may be sad or upset and I just somehow am not in the mood to answer the phone and possibly hear about someone’s great buy at Target or their stressful day at the playground.

Sometimes the phone is turned off.”

That’s what I should have said. Anyone else have this issue? Do you think it is ridiculous to carry cell phones with us everywhere? Or are you always accessible? And yes, if there were an emergency I would find out about it within a reasonable amount of time!
Anonymous commented on 26-Feb-2012 07:47 AM
Ha! Love this....I also love "going off the grid" and turning my phone off. Sometimes I just simply don't want to be contacted!
Patti commented on 26-Feb-2012 08:06 AM
I need to post this on my facebook wall because I could have written it myself. I do not understand people who carry their phones with them everywhere. It is liberating to just be outdoors and not be accessible. When my children are with me I rarely keep
my phone with me. Otherwise I do keep it near for emergencies, but seriously we are way too easy to get a hold of these days.
Lisa commented on 26-Feb-2012 08:40 AM
I love this! We have become way too available and it's TOO MUCH!! I had a friend who use to dig at me about not answering my phone. And for all the reasons you listed above and a few more, sometimes I just don't answer. ( I still think call waiting is
Jill commented on 26-Feb-2012 09:33 AM
I am one of those who always has my phone in my back pocket (unless I am with my husband and kids). But, I don't always answer. As one who has a reputation for being long-winded, I have come to understand that sometimes people might not take my call because
they don't have time to talk very long and don't want to get stuck in a conversation. It's not rude, it's just the way it is. So I don't feel rude doing the same in return.
Anonymous commented on 26-Feb-2012 01:16 PM
I don't answer the phone sometimes either. I have someone in my family who will keep calling until I answer and it makes me crazy. I also know someone who will answer and then say they don't have time to talk. Then DON'T answer the phone! Isn't that why
we have voice mail???
Katie commented on 26-Feb-2012 08:18 PM
This is so true! Sometimes I just don't feel like answering my phone no matter who is calling. Then, they start texting. Some people get worried when I don't answer and I don't understand that. Just because it's a cell phone, doesn't mean I can answer
it whenever it rings.
Hillary commented on 27-Feb-2012 08:28 AM
Amen! When I was growing up, there was a sacred rule never to answer the phone at dinner time. Very little is sacred these days. Count me as someone else who doesn't always answer the phone.
Anonymous commented on 28-Feb-2012 08:45 AM
Love this! It cracks me up when I'm unable to answer my cell phone and then the home phone immediately rings because I didn't answer the cell and then the cell phone rings again or beeps with a new text message. Craziness!!
Karyn commented on 29-Feb-2012 09:42 AM
This is great! When I returned to the US after living overseas some 7 years ago, I decided not to connect a land line, a little ahead of the curve. It really infuriated people that I did not answer my cell during the day while I was at work. I do not feel
any need to answer my phone every time it rings for all the reasons you listed above and many more. Sorry you had that "I wish I had said" moment. I hate those! Nice blog. Love the sarcasm.
Anonymous commented on 29-Feb-2012 11:00 AM
I loved this post! I, too, feel that we are way to accessible and sometimes because of the reasons above or a few others I could name, I don't answer the phone. Caller id and voice mail are great because it lets me know who called, why you called and stores
all of your precious info so that I can get back to when and if I decide to!
Lisa commented on 29-Feb-2012 04:34 PM
I just love this. And, I love the comments, too. Well said.
Kristen Daukas commented on 04-Mar-2012 07:25 PM
I hardly EVER answer my phone. The exceptions are family (always) and clients (usually). If I don't have time to talk, I don't answer. Kids will almost always interrupt a phone call and if you want to have a decent conversation with me, I'll answer when
I think that can happen. You want an instant answer? Text me and if it's something we can hammer out that way, everyone's happy. Otherwise, leave a message and I'll call you back.
AG commented on 08-Jul-2014 01:11 PM
I want to be accessible all the time because you never know what can happen throughout a day. I have had people I care about die. The one time I didn't have my phone on and not with me I didn't get the call to go to the hospital to pray for her and say goodbye. You just don't know what a day can hold. So to have my phone on and to be accessible is not a problem for me. I am always here for my family and friends on the phone,internet and in person. I make the best of my time I have with people because you just don't know when the Lord takes them home. That's my opinion
Caren commented on 08-Jul-2014 04:07 PM
Amen! The other day I left my phone in my car when I got home around 3:00 pm and didn't notice until around 10 that night that I had no idea where it was. Amazingly, life continued on without me and truthfully I wasn't really missed. While, I may have missed a few calls and texts, I didn't miss a minute with my family, and after a few months of "realigning", I realized, without even knowing it, I'd made a little headway. Ah, the sweet taste of freedom! Love my phone. Love my friends. Mostly love the moments that are hard to be present for when my head is bowed in reverence to the screen. Amen, Rachel. Amen.
Chanel commented on 09-Jul-2014 09:12 PM
Yes, yes, yes!!!
Anonymous commented on 11-Jul-2014 08:34 PM
Love this! Boundaries are important and necessary in this time of nearly constant connectivity. Also, can you NOT text me a picture of your new chair, curtains, etc. during the work day? When I get a text while at work I assume something is wrong or has happened with one of the children. Non-urgent info and pictures can be emailed instead of texted (the ultimate barge in!).

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