Text happy: Getting a friend to call back instead of text

by EPI Staff on May 16, 2011

Q: My friend always returns my voice mail messages with texts–even when I say, “Please call me back.” I think that it’s rude–a call for a call right?

A: Your friend may just be clueless. Try telling her how much her habit annoys you by texting “please call me” next time. The other likely possibility: If your conversations are too long or one-sided, the texts may be her way or giving you the brush-off–or, at the very least, her attempt to keep communications brief. Either way, it’s time for a friendly face-to-face chat to sort it out.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jody May 16, 2011 at 6:56 am

I’m speaking as somebody who usually e-mails rather than calls back, and raising other possible scenarios.

Maybe your requests to call you come an an inopportune time for your friend. Rather than leave you wondering whether she received your message, she texts you to give you an answer right away.

In your messages to your friend, do you say specifically what you want, or when you’d like her to call you? I get several messages where the person says “this is so-and-so, give me a call” with no hint of what the person is calling about. If the person doesn’t say what they want, or say the call is time-sensitive, I assume it’s not important and don’t return the call right away (especially if I’m busy).

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Andrea June 14, 2013 at 8:48 am

I think a telephone call should be returned regardless of the topic! Since when are we required to leave such information on voicemail?

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rebecca May 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm

This drives me nuts. Text messaging is for relaying short bits of information, not the way to have a conversation, in my opinion.

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Zarafury May 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I have always disliked talking on the phone. If I can get away with a text in return, I will. I’m not trying to be rude, but I am avoiding that particular medium. I don’t think telephone conversations (especially ones over shaky cellular connections, and I didn’t even have a land line for years) are inherently more polite than texts or email.

Though I dislike talking on the phone, I absolutely despise checking my voice mail. If someone seems to be a text message enthusiast, meet her on her level. When she doesn’t pick up, send a text instead of a voice message. They are much easier to check.

If there needs to be a conversation, by all means ask “Can I give you a call right now?” when the reply comes.

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Lilli May 18, 2011 at 8:57 am

What’s worked for me to get my friends to call me back is to say “I’m sorry, but if we need to have a conversation beyond ‘I’m running late – be there in 5 minutes’ can you please call me? I have a limited number of text messages included with my cellular plan and when you send me 20 texts a day I go over my limit and start getting charged a lot.” I have other friends that have used this tactic as well, and not only are we getting more return phone calls, but because we really do have limited text plans, we’re saving money on the overages! (And yes, I’m aware that for an extra $10/month I could get unlimited texts, but I also despise texting and I’m not wasting my money on something I hate just because other people are too rude/lazy to return a telephone call).

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Andrea June 14, 2013 at 8:51 am

I completely agree with Lilli. Text messaging should be limited to brief messaging – not conversations! I’m not the long-winded type, but lay off the thumb work and get together for a walk and talk.

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