Wake-Up Call: How can I respond to someone who calls during my unusual sleep schedule?

Q: I work graveyard shifts and often receive calls early in the morning from persons who don’t know that I sleep during those hours.  I must keep the phone on for emergencies because I am on call. Sometimes when people call, they ask, ‘Did I wake you?’ Saying ‘no’ is a lie so in the past I have said ‘Yes, but it’s okay.’  The person calling often apologizes and feels bad although I don’t mean to make them feel bad. Saying something like, ‘I am glad you called, what’s up?’ seems like I am ignoring the person’s question. None of these seem like good responses. What would you suggest?


A: This depends on whether you wish to engage in conversation or not.  There is nothing wrong with saying, “Yes, I work nights and am sleeping right now, but call me back at two or three or whenever; I’d love to talk to you then. Then you hopefully can go back to sleep, and eventually your friends and acquaintances will remember not to call you in the morning.



  1. Winifred Rosenburg

    I think it makes sense in this situation to get a pager. You can give the pager number to work and anyone else who might need to contact you in an emergency (explaining it’s for emergencies only) and turn your phone off. There will always be people who don’t know your sleep schedule or who forgot, and this will save you a lot of unnecessary wake ups.

    • Alicia

      They have apps that you can put your phone into asleep mode where calls go directly to voice mail and that someone has to text you a word you specify to shut off sleep mode and allow calls to ring through. For example is I am in asleep mode and someone texts “emergency” it will shut off asleep mode and allow calls to ring through. Then only tell the people that you think should call you in an emergency that in case of emergency they should text if you do not answer the phone. Everything else you can deal with the auto voicemail when you wake up.

    • Alicia

      Yes. In many weddings that would be appropriate guest attire. If in doubt pull your most tasteful stylish friend over to your house in advance and have her look at the exact dress. But 99% of time yes.

  2. Kathy M.

    A couple of years ago I decided to, instead of wine glass charms, collect different wine glasses that I like or are from places I’ve been. A new friend of mine that takes 5-8 trips a year decided to start bringing back wine glasses from places SHE has visited (and I’ve never been to) as well as mugs, shot glasses, vases, etc. I now have too many to fit into my cupboard. I want to get rid of some. I would like to keep the ones that mean something to me and that would NOT be the ones from places I’ve never been. The problem is, when she comes over she asks if she can have her wine in the glass she gave me from her trip to such and such place. Or she’ll say “Where did you put the wood-carved vase I got you?” I have no problem saying something like, well I have gotten too many glasses so I had to get rid of some or I haven’t found a place for the vase yet. Is this proper? I think it would perhaps get the idea across to her that her gifts may end up at Goodwill and maybe she will discontinue to bring me more stuff. What can I do?
    Someone Else’s Souvenirs

    • Jody

      Kathy, I think first you should tell your friend that as much as you appreciate her generosity you’d like her to stop bringing you the glasses (vases, whatever). Since your space is limited it’s the truth to tell her your collection is going to be only from those places where you personally have visited and purchased the item. I wouldn’t give things away immediately; if you have space in a closet or spare room, maybe keep a box of the excess items there. Maybe when your friend sees that only certain items are in the cupboards or on the shelves, she’ll realize you were serious about keeping the collection down. If she persists in asking that something be served in a particular glass (which I think is impolite, a guest should use the glass offered by the host), that would be a perfect time to use your statement about having too many glasses. It would give your friend a chance to ask for some of them back, and if she doesn’t you could then give them away with a clear conscience.

      • Maddie W

        Maybe you could ask your friend which two or three pieces she’s most fond of, in regard to the memory or experience and how she wanted to share it with you via your collecting. Then you could use them on special occasions like her birthday, or a girls’ night, etc.. That way, you might acknowledge her intention which seemed good at the time, but has turned into a burden of sorts. And then offer her the rest back?

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