Author Topic: Rude not to check voice mail?  (Read 12321 times)

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LadyL

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Rude not to check voice mail?
« on: August 01, 2013, 09:22:24 AM »
My mother is basically the only person closely involved in my life who still relies on voicemail as a form of communication. Everyone else texts or emails especially if something is important or time sensitive. This is my preference as I hate talking on the phone. Literally the only people who call me or regularly leave me voicemails are my dad and mom and 90% of the time it's "Hi it's dad, call me back" (and even he will text or email if he needs a quick reply). So I am not in the habit of checking my voicemail often  - they will sit there for a few days before I remember to get to it. My phone is also wonky and needs replacement so checking voicemail can take 30 seconds, or it can take 5+  minutes while I reboot my phone because it's frozen.

Compounding this, last week I was at a professional conference Mon.-Fri. which took up 12 or more hours of my day (all day lectures and then networking dinners). On top of that I contracted a stomach virus so once I got home I was basically passed out trying to recuperate enough to function the next day. I got better just in time for the weekend, when we had all day responsibilities Saturday and then spent Sunday recovering from the crazy week.

Apparently my mom called me on either Tues. or Wed. of last week to invite me to my Uncle's birthday dinner that Sunday. I didn't check the message till this week, assuming it was a typical "hi it's mom call me" message. When I finally talked to her she sounded peeved that I had not checked her message and missed the dinner. Normally we talk every 1-2 weeks so in my mind, my time line was business as usual.

From my end, leaving a single message does not signal to me that there is something time sensitive she needs a reply to. If she had called again and left another message, or even if I had just seen a second call from her with no message, I would have gotten the hint that she needed me to call her sooner rather than later.  Of course, a text or email would have circumvented the whole problem, but I have accepted that she is completely unwilling to learn to use either technology.

Is this just a matter of different expectations or were either of us rude? Is it rude to not check voicemail regularly or just a communication style preference? Should I apologize to her? I'm thinking I should tell her at a minimum that if she needs an answer from me on something, that calling more than once will get the message across, just for the sake of efficiency. I feel bad for missing my uncle's dinner but last week was the craziest week I've had in months, I neglected almost all my personal responsibilities to balance the conference with being sick (the cat was SO mad at me), yet I still feel bad for not checking that stupid voicemail.

Sharnita

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2013, 10:13:01 AM »
A lot of people find multiple messages rude - on the verge of harrassment. If you need several as a sign to check sooner then make that part of your outgoing message.

Two Ravens

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2013, 10:19:32 AM »
While I don't think its rude to check your voicemail how ever often you want to, I do understand your mother's irritation. How long does it take to check a voicemail? 1-2 minutes? If you were checking your text messages and email every day, I am not sure why you would ignore a voicemail for that long.

bopper

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2013, 10:22:00 AM »
You have indicated in the past (perhaps passively) that voice mail is an acceptable method of communication for your mom to use. You have responded to the voicemails in the past.   This time it took you over a week to respond and therefore you missed the dinner.

You should either check more often or tell your mom that you won't be checking voice mails often so if you haven't called her back then she should (call again, text, leave another voice mail, send carrier pigeons.)

CocoCamm

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2013, 10:28:50 AM »
I rarely check my voicemails and I have an IPhone which makes makes checking your voicemail as easy as can be. It's just not a priority to me. I usually just return the call as soon as I can. if this means I miss something one day then so be it. I feel like if something was truely important I would get a text or a follow up call.

audrey1962

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2013, 10:31:39 AM »
If you don't care to listen to messages (and I don't blame you, I don't either), perhaps it's time to disable your voice mail.

Goosey

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2013, 10:33:52 AM »
I think calling and leaving a message is acceptable even if the recipient prefers to receive a message another way.

I do think it's kind of strange you'd see you have a message from your mother and you'd let it go for over a week. Even if you don't like checking voicemail, you saw she called you. I think the NICE thing to do would be to call her back and not expect her to have to call you multiple times before she caught you when it seems that you have a schedule where that would make it difficult for her.

That being said, I don't think etiquette requires you to do that.

Two Ravens

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2013, 10:34:36 AM »
I find it interesting that some people think it is the duty of the caller to call them back if it is important. That seems very foreign to me. The caller left you information on your voice mail. Their job is done. Why should they have to call you back to ensure you received it? Perhaps they have other things to do that take priority over calling you back, maybe they are "fire and forget" types.

If someone dislikes checking voicemail so much, perhaps they should just disable that option on your phone.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2013, 10:43:05 AM by Two Ravens »

lowspark

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2013, 10:37:12 AM »
Back in the dark ages, when I had my first cell phone and was using it for "emergencies" only, my voicemail message said that I seldom checked voicemail and that if the message was urgent to get a hold of me using alternate methods. I used to check it maybe once a week.

So maybe you could change your message to say something like that or at least to give instructions to the caller noting what alternatives to use if the message is urgent.

I don't think you're rude for not checking the voicemail since you've made it clear it's not your preferred method of communication. However, knowing your mother is not going to text or email, it might be best to give her some other dependable method of getting you. Work phone maybe? Or Lord L's phone? Or giving her permission to call 2 or 3 times in succession? Of course, you have to be sure she won't abuse these and only resort to them if she really needs you. If not, then you might just have to be more vigilant to at least check missed calls and then if one is your mother, go ahead and check voicemail or call her back.

If it had been me and I was trying to get a hold of my offspring for a Saturday night dinner, and they hadn't replied after a couple of days, I'd be worried and just keep trying. But that's mainly because they are pretty good about replying fairly quickly to whatever method of communication I use.

Visiting Crazy Town

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2013, 10:46:10 AM »
 You  knew your mom had called and left you  a  message and you  chose not to listen to it or even to call her back  until after you listened to it almost a week later.  I would say that  you  were at more fault than your mom.  You're saying that  after she called and left a message that  you  ignored that  she should have tried to call you again, instead of you  caller her to respond to the first call she made.

JenJay

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2013, 10:47:15 AM »
Back when text service was hit and miss (maybe half of people had it) I had a friend who never checked his voicemail, which might not have been a big deal except he also never answered his phone. That's his right, no biggie, except he'd also complain if he missed out on something.  ::)

I think you can use your phone however you want but you can't also become upset when you miss out on info that you would have had, had you checked your phone. It doesn't sound like you were upset so I think you're in the clear. If you haven't explained to your Mom that it's difficult to check your vm and you prefer a text or email, do so. If she's aware of this and chooses to leave vm anyway that's on her. I do think it would be helpful to add something to your outgoing message indicating you check vm infrequently so time sensitive info should be communicated via text or email.

As for leaving multiple messages, I don't. I'll contact someone once in whatever way I know they use most often and leave it at that. If it's really important or I think it's odd I haven't heard back from them I'll probably try once more but I wouldn't otherwise.

MyFamily

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2013, 10:48:06 AM »
If you leave your voice mail as an option for someone to use it as a method of communicating with you, then people are going to communicate with you via voice mail.  If you don't like the voice mail, then set it up so that people either can't leave a message or let them know that you won't be checking it for a week or more.  I have a boss who does not check his voice mail on his cell phone - he just doesn't like to do it.  So, his cell phone voice mail specifically states that he does not check the messages so if you need to reach him either call back or call him at work and leave a message there.


"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol

delabela

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2013, 10:50:45 AM »
I don't think you were rude, but it seems...inefficient, I guess.

It sounds like you haven't told your mom your preferences - just let her know that if she has to get a hold of you quickly, text or email is better. If you have told her, well, I don't know that there's much you can do.

snappylt

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2013, 10:51:00 AM »
Since you asked for an opinion, I'll share that I think it is not exactly "rude" to not check your voicemail.  I do think it is maybe a little "not-thoughtful".

I'm wondering if it possibly came across to your mother that messages from her are not very important to you (and, thus, by extension, she is not very important to you).

I don't mean to say that you did anything "wrong" or "rude" - but I'm wondering if that's how it came across to your mom.  I'm wondering if her feelings are hurt.

I like the idea suggested by others that maybe you might consider either disabling voicemail or adding a comment to your outgoing message suggesting callers contact you another way if they need a quick reply.


cwm

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Re: Rude not to check voice mail?
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2013, 10:55:06 AM »
I find it interesting that some people think it is the duty of the caller to call them back if it is important. That seems very foreign to me. The caller left you information on your voice mail. Their job is done. Why should they have to call you back to ensure you received it? Perhaps they have other things to do that take priority over calling you back, maybe they are "fire and forget" types.

If someone dislikes checking voicemail so much, perhaps they should just disable that option on your phone.

I only check my voicemail once a month or so. The people I talk to on a regular basis know this and find alternate means of communicating with me. But it is my only phone, and I occasionally need to get in touch with doctors, dentists, stores where things are on hold, and other companies that don't have my email address and don't have the option to text. Turning off the voicemail isn't really an option in that case.

When I see a missed call and message from someone I know I figure that if it's important enough that they need to reach me RIGHT NOW they'll either try calling me again or text or email me. Usually I'm good at seeing who I've missed a call from and calling them back, but I don't listen to my voicemail first, and I could well forget.

OP, if your mom was really upset that you hadn't called back, she could easily have called you back the next day to follow up. If I was calling to invite someone to an event, I'd call every day until I got in touch with them to see what was going on. I wouldn't leave a message every time, but to me, if it was something more than just a "Give me a call when you get a chance" message, I'd expect them to keep trying to reach me at least once a day. Your mom had several days lead time, IMO for her not to call back to try to reach you is rude.

If you usually check your voicemails more often, I'd apologize to your mom. But let her know that when things get really busy you might not check them for several days, and if something this important comes up again, if she would call you back the next day and not necessarily leave a message, you'll know it's something important and to call her back. It seems to me that that could be a very workable situation for everyone involved.