General Etiquette > Techno-quette

Not answering when someone calls at a certain time

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Am I handling this OK?

I have two kids, and 8 pm is the busiest time in my day. I have repeatedly told my sister to not call at  8 pm, and then that I could not answer at 8 pm. Finally I stopped answering at 8 pm.

I do check my phone to make sure it isn't an emergency call, but when I see it's her, I slide the little red phone icon so it stops ringing at get on with what I'm doing.

Well she can tell since it stops ringing and goes to voice mail (no she doesn't leave voice mail - she just calls over and over) that I'm screening her calls, and she got angry about it and said if I'm able to check who is calling, I'm able to answer her calls, and that I'm being rude.

I told her that I check to make sure there isn't an emergency, but I've told her numerous times that 8 pm doesn't work for me as a time to chat, and I will continue to not answer her if she calls at 8 pm. I asked her why it's always 8 pm anyway, and she said it's a good time for her. I repeated that it isn't a good time for me, so I wouldn't answer her calls at that time. She said that she might have to call with an emergency, and I told her that in that case, if it's at 8, she should text. She said what if she isn't able to text due to the emergency and has to call, and I told her if it's that bad she should call 911. That was about the end of that conversation, but it was strained.

If she doesn't call at 8, she calls right at 6, when I'm putting dinner on the table, so the next busiest time of day. This is very frustrating for me. She doesn't work business hours so she could call at 11, or 1, or 2, or 3, when things are usually pretty quiet, but she likes to talk in the evening I guess.

Your sister is being a pill. You aren't rude to not answer. She is rude to keep calling and bugging you about not answering. (Although I do wonder why you make it obvious you are screening your calls. I don't think it's rude, but it does seem to exacerbate the situation.)

Do you call her when it's convenient for you? Either the 2 of you will chat and there is no need for an 8pm phone call *or* it will be inconvenient for her and you can deliberately echo what she's said to you and maybe she'll get it finally.

You aren't being rude at all.  It's your phone, and you get to decide when to use it and when not to use it.

If I were you, I would simply turn off (or mute) my phone at 8pm and turn it back on when it is convenient for me to chat. 

What are the odds that a terrible tragedy is going to strike at precisely 8pm on any given night?

You are not rude not to answer, no more rude than if you were out somewhere at 8pm and forgot your phone at home.

No.  It is not rude to not be at anyone's beck and call  ;) at any time they want.   You have told her when you are not available.  If she chooses to call you at that time, expecting you to pick up the call is rude.

We always know not to call my brother during dinner or after 9pm.  He prefers not to interrupt his dinner, and after 9 he's in bed.  It's a personal preference of his, and we respect it because, well... because that is the loving and polite thing to do.


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