Telephone Etiquette

There is so much to cover in etiquette, that I feel the need to break this study into a new direction.  One that focussing in on teaching women about proper etiquette.
Charity, “Doth not behave itself unseemly…” 1 Corinthians 13:5

Calling Hours…

In the early 1900s women would have calling hours.  Calling hours were the times set apart for people to drop in.  Since there were no telephones or computers, calling hours were very special.  It was improper to call upon a lady during her morning hours because everyone knew that was a time set aside for keeping the home.  Washing, baking, cleaning would all be done in the forenoon.  In anticipation for a possible visitor, a woman would quilt, knit, or do needlework quietly in a chair with her home in order.  If a call would come, her home would be tidy, she could offer a cup of tea, set aside her handwork  to visit her neighbor.  The children knew that if someone is calling, they are to play in another room, staying completely quiet.  If no one should call that day, she would have that time to work quietly with her hands, creating something beautiful or just relaxing for a bit before the evening chores.  Calling hours were an unwritten but strictly observed time frame.  For example, from 1pm-3pm.  The woman of the house could also make a call during that time frame.  There was also proper visiting etiquette on the part of the caller.  The woman who would make the call would be gracious to bring a special treat to give to the lady she is visiting.  If she brings her children, they are trained to never speak to the adults, but rather to sit quietly on the floor and play in another room so the adults could talk. They were to be seen, not heard.

With the invention of the telephone, people no longer had to make “House Calls”  they could make a “Call” from the comfort of their homes.  What a liberation for women!  Now you did not have to wait around all day for the dreaded “pop in” so you could let the house go a little.  People would call first.

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Telephone Etiquette…

With the luxury of the telephone we must learn how to have good etiquette when using it.  Women will pick up the phone to make a call, whenever they think of it.  They interrupt another lady homeschooling their children or while they are busy tending their home and family.  People call during meals.  They call late in the evening when you are trying to spend time with your husband after a long days work.  There is no discression and it is very unseemly.  When you follow the law of Charity, you realize there is more to life than your need to talk with someone.  You strive to be respectiful of other people’s family times.  In my earlier days, I would not think of how my actions would effect others, I would visit a friend unannounced, with my children, without a dish to pass, and linger there for hours.  It was rude.  My amish friends started to avoid me, years ago because I did not observe the old fashioned rules of the calling hours.  I was embarrassed that I had been so rude, when one of the Amish men finally told me that I just talk too much.  I stay too long.  I wear out my welcome.  He concluded that “We Amish are busy.  There are times we set aside each day to do all the things we Amish do.  When you come, you keep the women from their chores.”  I was chastened by this and it changed my practices.  I was not behaving in a manner that was seemly nor in a way that showed I cared about their lives.

Figuring out what others do that frustrates me, will help me change how I act toward others.


Loving my neighbor as myself, means I do to them what I would like done to me.  I treat them the way I want to be treated. 

As I started to examine my own life, I realized that I did not like it when a telemarketer would call during a meal.  It made me angry when I had to stop what I was doing to RUN to the phone to answer only to find out it was some company trying to take a survey.  Other times when I was just tucking my little ones into their beds, the horrid noise of the telephone would sound like a trumpet, and I would cringe with anger to answer the phone.  I would tell the children I would be right back.  By the time I listened to the many concerns of a friend, trying to be there for her, I would be on the phone long after the children were fast asleep.   I have had to turn my phone off because people would call me while I was trying to teach my children in the morning.  Even though you would tell people the right time to call, they would still call during the busy hours of the day.  It was never an issue of not wanting to talk with them, because I never like to put people off as if they did not matter.  The timing was the key factor.  Now when I call, I try to call between 1-3 pm.  1 would be after lunch and school, and 3 would be the latest to call so as to not interfere with meal preparations and hubby homecoming.

Since I did not appreciate the calls at time when I was busy living life and tending to my flock, I started to make sure I was not guilty of crossing that line in others lives.

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First Rule of Phone Etiquette…

The first rule of phone etiquette, would be to think of the other person’s schedule.  Ask them if it is good time to call.  If they say they are busy, then ask them when would be an appropriate time to call.  Keep your conversations short.  If the person says, “well, I must be going…” do not bring up more things to talk about.   I used to talk people’s ears off and keep them from their duties as a wife and mother.  I would bring up more stories or ask more questions to make the conversation linger.  Now, I try to practice charity by showing unlimited love and kindness in my actions toward others.  Being courteous and respectful of their time is the new law written on my heart.  In fact, I barely call anyone anymore.  I went so far in the opposite direction that I have to retrain myself to call people again.  I want to think of others and remember to keep in touch.  It shows that I care about them.

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Stay tuned for tomorrow when I will talk about Good Housekeeping Etiquette…

0 thoughts on “Telephone Etiquette

  1. So true Erin! A couple of years ago I stopped being one of those annoying visitors. It was amazing to me that when I stopped calling, I only got a call once in awhile. I get alot more done now and I even have time for more creative things. I have my social time at church, and the rest with my own family that is increasing with grandchildren. Occasionally I will invite someone over to visit, but I never drop in on anyone. I also message on Facebook instead of the phone so that they can answer when they have a moment. It also saves time not to have long phone calls. Thankyou Erin for your new blog. Thanks for being open enough to tell it like it is.

  2. So true Erin! A couple of years ago I stopped being one of those annoying visitors. It was amazing to me that when I stopped calling, I only got a call once in awhile. I get alot more done now and I even have time for more creative things. I have my social time at church, and the rest with my own family that is increasing with grandchildren. Occasionally I will invite someone over to visit, but I never drop in on anyone. I also message on Facebook instead of the phone so that they can answer when they have a moment. It also saves time not to have long phone calls. Thankyou Erin for your new blog. Thanks for being open enough to tell it like it is.

  3. I usually use text messages when I need to tell someone something that I don’t need an immediate response to, leaving the calls for emergencies only.

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