Author Topic: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?  (Read 2116 times)

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Softly Spoken

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Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« on: March 08, 2013, 12:45:33 AM »
Okay this literally just happened and it left me a very strange mix of  >:( and  ???, so I had to come here and get some feedback...

My cell phone rings. The number is unavailable, which I've never had on my cell. I should have just ignored it but I almost never get calls from people I don't know. I had also given my number to someone for emergencies and I was worried it was her and she needed me. So I answer:

Me: Hello?
Unidentified Female: Hello? Who is this?
Me: (thinking - um, you called me lady what the ehell?) Uh, this is *Firstname.* Who is this?
(Still) Unidentified Female: Oh, I'm looking for *John Doe.*
Me: I have never heard of them I think you have the wrong number.
(Apparently Determined to Remain) Unidentified Female: Oh. Okay.
Me: (uncomfortable pause wherein I realize she isn't going to apologize for interrupting a stranger, so I decide to commiserate with her on her inability to contact Mr. Doe) ...Well, sorry. Bye.

I am used to getting random wrong numbers on my cell. There is even some lady who has called repeatedly under the assumption that my number belongs to a friend or relative of hers. But the exchange above really irritated me. The woman's tone was like "who are you?" Very accusatory and it got my back up. It really seemed rude to start in with questions when she was the one calling. >:(

I can understand that if you call a number and assume 1) you have the right number and 2) you have dialed correctly, then hearing a voice you do not recognize can be disconcerting. However, when it happens to me, I do not assume something crazy like that the guy I'm trying to call is cheating on me or that someone has broken into my friend's house and answered their phone. I go back to #1 and #2. Voice I don't know? Does the person sound like the wrong gender? Duh, maybe I have the wrong number! ::) So my first logical thing would be to try and confirm and say "Hi, So-and-so?" or "Hi is So-and-so there / Can I speak to So-and-so please?"

FWIW, I feel that calling someone is like being invited into their house (yes, even on a cell). You are asking to "come in" as a "guest" to their time and headspace. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect basic politeness from people who use a phone to intrude on my time. You say "please" and "thank you." You introduce yourself and state your purpose. Is is really that difficult?

What say you ehellions? Was the phone call I got rude? What are your rules for basic phone etiquette?
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Library Dragon

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2013, 12:58:04 AM »
Yes and it was rude.  When I call a wrong number I usually apologize and say, 'Sorry, I missed dialed.'
What irritates me is when someone misdials and doesn't say anything, hangs up and calls again.  Then it's my fault that it's my phone.

I often get wrong numbers.  I always answer the phone.  It's a work phone so it may be someone that is on a board or other work related person.  DS2 is on active duty so I always answer the phone in case he has been hurt and his sergeant or a friend is calling.


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GratefulMaria

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2013, 08:04:09 AM »
I was at the receiving end of a misdial and when I automatically said, "Sorry, I think you have the wrong number," the person at the other end said, "Oh, that's OK!" before hanging up.

That was a moment.   ???

laceandbits

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2013, 08:11:49 AM »
I usually ask what number did you want?  That way if they have misdialled you can point out the discrepancy, or if they have dialled your number you can agree that it is the same but is not the number they need for that person.  By doing that, they won't (or shouldn't) need to call you again just-in-case.

Perhaps it was a call which they had not been looking forward to making and it threw them when you answered.  All their mental preparation foiled and that was why they sounded brusque.  Or maybe they were just a naturally grumpy person.  Either way, you won't ever need to speak to them again.  They were rude and you weren't, don't let it get to you.

Zilla

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2013, 10:53:12 AM »
Okay this literally just happened and it left me a very strange mix of  >:( and  ??? , so I had to come here and get some feedback...

My cell phone rings. The number is unavailable, which I've never had on my cell. I should have just ignored it but I almost never get calls from people I don't know. I had also given my number to someone for emergencies and I was worried it was her and she needed me. So I answer:

Me: Hello?
Unidentified Female: Hello? Who is this?
Me: (thinking - um, you called me lady what the ehell?) Uh, this is *Firstname.* Who is this?
(Still) Unidentified Female: Oh, I'm looking for *John Doe.*
Me: I have never heard of them I think you have the wrong number.
(Apparently Determined to Remain) Unidentified Female: Oh. Okay.
Me: (uncomfortable pause wherein I realize she isn't going to apologize for interrupting a stranger, so I decide to commiserate with her on her inability to contact Mr. Doe) ...Well, sorry. Bye.

I am used to getting random wrong numbers on my cell. There is even some lady who has called repeatedly under the assumption that my number belongs to a friend or relative of hers. But the exchange above really irritated me. The woman's tone was like "who are you?" Very accusatory and it got my back up. It really seemed rude to start in with questions when she was the one calling. >:(

I can understand that if you call a number and assume 1) you have the right number and 2) you have dialed correctly, then hearing a voice you do not recognize can be disconcerting. However, when it happens to me, I do not assume something crazy like that the guy I'm trying to call is cheating on me or that someone has broken into my friend's house and answered their phone. I go back to #1 and #2. Voice I don't know? Does the person sound like the wrong gender? Duh, maybe I have the wrong number! ::) So my first logical thing would be to try and confirm and say "Hi, So-and-so?" or "Hi is So-and-so there / Can I speak to So-and-so please?"

FWIW, I feel that calling someone is like being invited into their house (yes, even on a cell). You are asking to "come in" as a "guest" to their time and headspace. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect basic politeness from people who use a phone to intrude on my time. You say "please" and "thank you." You introduce yourself and state your purpose. Is is really that difficult?

What say you ehellions? Was the phone call I got rude? What are your rules for basic phone etiquette?


I would not call it rude.  The person didn't intentionally dial your number just to be rude.  It was a mistake and honestly very very very normal. Sure it would be nice to get an apology but in the end it was just a typical wrong number.  Next time I wouldn't apologize.  I would simply say, "I do not know them, goodbye" and hang up.  You are pretty lucky not to get alot of wrong number calls, I do all the time.

Lynn2000

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2013, 11:20:18 AM »
For me the conversation usually goes like this...

Me: Hello?
Them: Hi, is Bob there?
Me: I'm sorry, you have the wrong number. [said in kind of a mechanical, professional tone--not really apologetic, I mean]
Them: Um, okay. Bye. [hangs up]

Or sometimes they apologize, but usually people are just so thrown by dialing the wrong number that they forget that part. And, honestly, once I know they've called the wrong number and I've informed them of such, I don't stay on the line much longer. I don't feel obligated to help them figure out what went wrong, and I definitely don't answer any questions about who *I* am. I mean, they called looking for Bob, or someone else who wasn't me, and I've informed them that there's been a mistake, so--nothing left to talk about, IMO. With a lot of phones now they can look back at the number they typed in themselves and see where they made a mistake, if that's the problem.

So if I answered my phone and the person sounded surprised and grumpy and said, "Hello? Who is this?" and I didn't recognize their voice, I would immediately go to, "I'm sorry, I think you have the wrong number." Then I'd wait a beat, just to see if they say, "Wait, is this Lynn2000? It's Second Cousin Sue!" And if they say basically anything else, I hang up, because the conversation is over, and there's no need to waste either of our times.
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JenJay

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2013, 11:30:33 AM »
I'm not a fan of being asked "Who is this?" Um, who are you looking for? And yes, an apology should always follow a wrong number.

I had a wrong number this morning, too. As soon as I answered a lady started in "Ohmygosh, so I was just talking to (someone) and she told me (something) and..." She was speaking really fast and I only caught about every third word. I interrupted her and said "I'm sorry, pardon me?" and at that point she went completely silent for a few seconds and then quietly said "Oh my goodness, I dialed the wrong number. I am so sorry!" I laughed and told her it was no problem, she laughed and apologized again and we both said goodbye. I hung up and texted my friend "I just had the nicest lady mis-dial me!"  :D

When my brother was probably 12-ish we got a call from someone out of state. He had the right 7-digit number but had dialed the incorrect area code. Once they got that sorted out he was curious where he'd called so my brother told him we were in Oregon. Then it was "Oregon? Really? I've never been. What's it like there?" and they had a nice chat. My brother thought that was so cool that he proceeded to call our own number with various area codes to find out where they were. Everyone was pretty gracious about it. When Dad got the phone bill he wasn't as amused.  :P

Brisvegasgal

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2013, 04:54:18 PM »
Just to throw a different light on you experience (which I think should have ended with an apology), I once received a similar call and I asked the caller if she was OK.  She then told me that she thought her partner was cheating on her and called my number (but misdialled) to see if it was the person she thought he was cheating on her with.  What a horrible call for her to make and no wonder she reacted strangely when I answered.

BarensMom

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2013, 08:18:06 PM »
I usually end up talking to my wrong numbers also.  The out of state people sometimes don't realize they need to use one of the newer area codes, so I try to help them and we end up discussing the weather, where my town is located in relation to S.F., and other impersonal generalities.

violinp

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2013, 08:44:54 PM »
I had this weird conversation a few weeks ago.

*Phone rings, and I answer*
Me: Hello?
Person: Hi, I'm looking for John Doe.
Me: I'm sorry, there is no such person here. You must have the wrong number.
Person: Oh, so you got this number recently?
Me:  :o (confusedly) No...I've had this number for more than 5 years, and I don't know anyone by the name you gave me. You definitely have the wrong number.
Person: Oh.
*click*

I can't figure that one out at all. Why would they assume I got the number recently, rather than it just being a misdial? That was just bizarre.
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oceanus

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2013, 09:02:18 PM »

We’ve had other threads about people calling and reaching wrong numbers – various scenarios.

OP, regarding what you experienced earlier, I think it’s rude for a caller to ask “Who is this?”, especially before identifying themselves.  And I try to say "Sorry, I misdialed". 

Likely explanation:  The caller (mis)dialed her husband/fiancé/bf/future date and a strange woman answered (what she thought was) his phone.  ‘nuff said.  ::)

Don’t worry about it.

mmswm

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2013, 09:05:28 PM »
I agree that leading off with "who's this" is rude, but can give a little slack because hearing a voice other than the one you expect can be a bit disconcerting. 

On the topic of wrong numbers, at least you're not dealing with the flood of phone calls and text messages from the Ukraine that I keep getting.  I do have a rather new number.  I do have a Ukrainian friend who translated the text messages and they're generally friendly messages that lead me to believe that the person who had this number before me knew these people.  My friend texted back that this was no longer that person's number, but now these people seem to think I can speak the language and keep texting me!
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sweetonsno

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2013, 01:24:05 AM »
I agree that leading off with "who's this" is rude, but can give a little slack because hearing a voice other than the one you expect can be a bit disconcerting. 

I agree, especially if they dialed what they thought was a dedicated line. I can totally imagine a worst case scenario playing out in their mind.

Minmom3

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2013, 06:09:43 PM »
I also think, that if new wrong numbers crop up, well after a person gets that number, that it may be that an area code has split, and a new one added, and the caller is forgetting or misdialing the area code portion of it.  I've had that happen.
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nutraxfornerves

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Re: Wrong Number / General Calling Etiquette?
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2013, 06:32:03 PM »
My response to "Who is this?" is to become overwhelmingly formal. "I beg your pardon. To whom did you wish to speak?"

The reaction is almost always one of these:
(Meekly) "Oh, um, er, is Fred there?"
"Sorry. Wrong number."
"Click."

Nutrax
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