Etiquette for a dropped call: A gentle reminder for “Caller Calls Back”

You’d think that with every passing day, technology would be improving. Each week, scientists would be inventing new gadgets, engineers would make things work faster, and cell phone providers would figure out how to make their coverage even better.

No so on the last one, it seems.

Over the past few weeks, my cell phone reception has been getting increasingly spotty — even in my apartment, where I’ve had nearly perfect reception for the past two years.

Just over two years ago, in this very blog, I invented a policy for what to do in the case of a dropped call. You can read the whole post here, but here’s the gist of it. I’m now calling this the “Caller Calls Back” rule.

We have so many etiquette rules in society, but there don’t seem to exist any official rulings on this scenario. So, here in this blog, I hereby announce Lia’s Etiquette for Dropped Cell Phone Calls:

If your signal fades, wait two seconds before doing anything. Give your friend time to figure out you’re gone, and give your phone time to realize how it failed you. If you initiated the call, you should be the one to call the other person back. That way, there’s no question of who should be calling whom. Also, you should frequently check in with your phone buddy – if they seem unresponsive after a few “can you hear me now?” lines, just hang up and wait a few seconds.

There it is. Learn it, own it, spread it around. Save the world from dropped-call phone tag!

Much to my excitement, I’ve recently found that many of my friends have actually put the “Caller Calls Back” theory into practice.

“Obviously, I know that I was supposed to wait for you to call me back, because you initiated the call,” one friend said. “I read your blog, of course!”

I’m going to add one additional rule to my Etiquette for a Dropped Cell Phone Call: If you try to call me and my phone goes directly to voicemail, it’s probably because I have no reception and my phone will not register your missed call. I never turn my phone off — if it’s “off” it’s really on silent, in which case the phone would ring several times and not go directly to voicemail. So if the phone goes straight to voicemail, I’ll never know you called unless you leave me a voicemail or send me a text message. 

These basic communication rules can save relationships.

Call me later, friends! 🙂


4 thoughts on “Etiquette for a dropped call: A gentle reminder for “Caller Calls Back”

  1. I strongly agree. The rules in this post have been very instructive.

    However I think the first rule when dropping a call should be to switch from Sprint!

      • Of course I check my missed calls! My phone doesn’t register missed calls, though, when I’m in a place with no reception. So I literally have no record of your call, even in my “missed calls.”

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