Author Topic: Who was supposed to call who?  (Read 2451 times)

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lilblu

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Who was supposed to call who?
« on: June 20, 2013, 12:40:38 AM »
On Saturday, I was away most of the day and got home around 7 pm to find a message on my answering machine (landline, obviously). It was a message from a relative asking me to call her because she wanted to ask me a question. The Caller ID showed that she had called about 8 hrs earlier. She did not attempt to call me on my cell phone. She had called from her cell phone (as opposed to her landline) and didn't say which phone to call. The only other time she called me from her cell was when she was planning a surprise party and didn't want me to call her landline. So I figured I should probably just call her cell just to be on the safe side. I called, the phone rang a few times and then went to voicemail. I left a simple message stating my name and that I was "just returning her call." I figured that meant it was now her turn to call me, especially because I didn't know if she still wanted to ask me a question or not.  Knowing her like I do, I suspect she called to invite me to go with the family out to eat for Father's Day (they always eat out on Saturday to avoid the crowd). So here it is Wednesday night and I still haven't heard back from her and probably won't.

Should I have attempted to call back? Or should she have called me back? I'm not sure what the proper etiquette is, although I do think it was rude of her to not let me know whether she still wanted to ask me a question. Also, when she first called me and left the message, shouldn't she have at least stated what the question pertained to? If she had just asked the question as part of the message, I could have answered it in the voicemail. And I'll add that now I'm worried she's going to treat me condescendingly because of this issue when I see her this weekend. She'll be in an uppity mood and act like I was supposed to call her back because she's far more important than me. I can totally picture it in my head, I know how she is. She won't act (or be) angry, she'll just act all superior and treat me like a misbehaving child (or dog). Yes, seriously.

NyaChan

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Re: Who was supposed to call who?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2013, 12:47:26 AM »
She left you a voicemail asking you to call.  You called.  Your part of this particular social interaction was carried out perfectly  :)  As she made no indication that this was an urgent matter and you returned the call to the phone which she used to leave the voicemail, she has no right to complain to you about anything.  If she brings it up, I would either keep it simple as in "You asked me to call, I called.  Actually, I'M surprised that you did not leave a more coherent voicemail," or brush it off like "I did call you back as you asked, but you must have missed it.  Don't you just hate when you end up playing phone tag with someone?" 

If she keeps rehashing it, I think you would be fine to say, "Relative, this was a simple matter of a missed call.  There is no need to make it into a big deal.  Let's drop it."  You shouldn't have to be put through her shaming or condescension.

m2kbug

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Re: Who was supposed to call who?
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2013, 01:56:29 AM »
She asked you to call her and you called.  She never called you back.  She gave no indication why she was calling, what the issue was, and this didn't seem to be anything urgent.  She didn't call you back.  A little bit of phone tag happening here.  It was her turn to call you.  Whatever is going on, it must not have been that important.  I really wouldn't worry about this any further.

It would surprise me if she turned this into an issue when you see each other, but if it does, just say, "I did call you back.  I left you a voicemail.  You didn't call me."

Should you have attempted to call her again?  No.  You could have, but this is not necessary. 

Should she have called you back?  Yes, that would actually be a good thing to do, especially if she's going to pitch a fit about this whole thing later.  If whatever she was calling about is null and void and she no longer needs to talk to you, that's fine.  It would be nice if she would have called and let you know either way.

You seem to be a little bit concerned over which phone to call.  I usually just call the landline.  With one person, it's far better to call the cell.  You have no way of knowing which method is best for her until she tells you, and I guess you may just get an earful about it this weekend, but overall, you're fine.  You called. you left a message. 

It would be nice if she would have left a little more detail on the voicemail.  I know there are some people out there that really have a hard time dealing with leaving messages and dealing with answering machines, but if the situation was that important, she could have tried calling you again.

*inviteseller

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Re: Who was supposed to call who?
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2013, 08:47:02 AM »
She asked you to return her call, with no other specific instructions.  You returned the call (same day too!) on the number she called you from, and left a message.  Your obligation was fulfilled.  If she wants to go all PA and witchy because you didn't continuously call until she deigned to pick up, that is on her and she is just being a child about it.

Zizi-K

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Re: Who was supposed to call who?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2013, 09:12:18 AM »
When you see this relative and she starts acting superior (but without bringing up the phone call), I would address that behavior directly. "Are you OK? You're acting a bit strange right now...is anything wrong?"

It's terrible that, over something so silly as phone tag, you are having to anticipate poor treatment from this person. It might also be worthwhile to be more proactive about bringing up the weekend/phone tag. You could ask how their Father's Day was, and say - "oh, is that why you called me last week? I returned your call, did you not get the message?"

Margo

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Re: Who was supposed to call who?
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2013, 09:37:59 AM »
I agree, you did exactly what she asked you to, you were not able to leave a more detailed response as she didn't ask her question in the voicemail.

If she becomes condescending then I would respond with a tone of mild surprise -
e.g. if she asks why you didn't call her respond "Did you not get the message? I called back as soon as I got your message, and left you a voicemail. Since you didn't call me back I assumed that you'd found the answer to whatever your question was, for yourself"

OR deliberately misunderstand

"I did call you? Why, did you leave another message after the one I responded to? I've only the the one you left when I was out on Saturday"

And as Ziz says, if she is unpleasant then call her on that

"You seem to be very worked up over the fact that you missed by call-back. Is there a reason for that?"

If she explicitly 'tells you off' for not trying repeatedly to call her back then I think you can be fairly blunt.
"I'm a busy person [too], I returned your call and left a message,  but after that I figured the ball was back in your court. You could have told me in your message what you wanted to know, or sent me a text. I'm not sure why you think it was y responsibility rather than yours to follow up, as it was your query?" Keep the tone polite, of course, but radiate bewilderment as to why she thinks that anyone but herself is responsible..

TootsNYC

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Re: Who was supposed to call who?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2013, 09:50:29 AM »
(whom--who was supposed to call whom. sorry--grammar geek in me got out of control. Poor "whom"! it's a dying word)


I think the proper etiquette has been satisfied. If she had really wanted info from you, she'd have called.

I think the only thing you might do is after a few days have gone by, and maybe before you see her next, you could call and say, "Just calling to chat, and to see if you still needed whatever it was from me. Oh, and you know what? Feel free to leave the question itself on the answering machine--it might save us some back and forth."

Also--don't give this so much head space. I find that often I build up what I think the person is going to do or say that will be unpleasant, and it's completely unfounded. I've invented something.
   And, I've also then been in that unpleasant exchange with them for FAR longer *in my head* than I would have been in real life. And real life didn't even happen!!

Should you ever get in a situation in which someone is obviously blaming you for something that you simply don't feel you should apologize for, there are two useful words:

    1. blithe
    2. bewildered


citadelle

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Re: Who was supposed to call who?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2013, 09:55:40 AM »
The only possible complication I can see is that you called her cell. Did you also leave a message on the land line? I don't think you had to, necessarily, but it would be one more way to cover your bases.

Winterlight

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Re: Who was supposed to call who?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2013, 10:49:35 AM »
If it was really that urgent she'd have called you back. I say you're in the clear.
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To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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rose red

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Re: Who was supposed to call who?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2013, 11:43:20 AM »
You did your part by calling back.  If she need something from you, it's up to her to keep calling until she reach you or to tell you what she want in a voice mail.

NyaChan

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Re: Who was supposed to call who?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2013, 11:51:38 AM »
When you see this relative and she starts acting superior (but without bringing up the phone call), I would address that behavior directly. "Are you OK? You're acting a bit strange right now...is anything wrong?"

It's terrible that, over something so silly as phone tag, you are having to anticipate poor treatment from this person. It might also be worthwhile to be more proactive about bringing up the weekend/phone tag. You could ask how their Father's Day was, and say - "oh, is that why you called me last week? I returned your call, did you not get the message?"

hehe  >:D I know it isn't nice, but this technique always makes me want to laugh. 

sparksals

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Re: Who was supposed to call who?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2013, 12:25:43 PM »
I think you are overthinking this.  You returned her call.  The ball is now in her court. 

White Lotus

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Re: Who was supposed to call who?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2013, 02:19:35 PM »
Agree with Soarksals.  You returned the the call.  That makes it up to her.  I don't think it is necessary to call every possible number. I personally have four, one Google Voice and one Elsewherian. I might suggest calling the originating number first when returning a call.  That is what I usually do.  If I need someone to call a specific number I might say, "please call my Google Voice number (give it) as I'll be travelling and this one will send me a message by email so I will be sure to get it."  Not every number can call forward to every other one,  more's the pity.