Cell phone vs land line phone etiquette

Recently, I have noticed that people will call me with not terribly important things on my cell phone. Some even call my cell phone just to talk. Now the cost of the minutes is not very important, I have a good plan. What concerns me is that I have a home phone and it is a land line. I give out that phone number to anyone who asks for my number, but it is my cell phone that takes 90% of my calls. I have an answering machine at home, so a caller could just leave a message, but that does not happen. The caller will almost always try to get me on my cell phone where I have to call for my voice mail. Also, my answering machine will allow me to screen my calls. So I may pick up. Calling my cell phone means I will pick up if I can, because, again, I believe the call is important.

So, you are thinking, get to the point already!!!

Ok, when you want to contact someone, do you call cell phone first, home phone, or office phone?
Do you have reasons for calling one over the other?
Does it bother you if a caller uses one over the other?

SSG Schwartz

Most people I know got rid of their landlines because they just did not get used all that much.

I dunno, I call a cell phone with unimportant stuff all the time, usually before a landline. It never occurred to me that a cell phone was only meant for important phone calls, unless I was specifically told otherwise to call a person’s landline primarily.

I should have added in the OP, that my feelings about a cell phone are I don’t care where you are or what you are doing, I want to talk to you now. Maybe it is because I am old and I was taught at a young age, you call someone to see if you can come over to shoot the breeze, you don’t do it over the phone. YMMV

SSG Schwartz

Depends on the person. I’ve got a couple of friends who prefer to be called on their cells, so that’s where I call first. (I know they prefer it because they’ve told me so - unlimited minutes, you see.) Most of the time, I actually prefer NOT to reach a real person. I like leaving messages, because then I don’t get trapped into 20 minutes of small talk when all I really need to say is, “Meet you at the movie theater at 2:00, m’kay?” So for most calls, I’ll call the home phone when I know people won’t be home, so I can leave my message and be done with it. If something is urgent, then I call the home phone first to leave a message (habit) and then the cell phone if I think the person might not get the message in a timely fashion.

I prefer calls on my home phone because I have a Tracfone for my own convenience, and it’s only on when I need to use it (or the kids are with a babysitter, or you make pre-arranged plans to call me on my cell for some reason.) I miss calls because people leave messages on my cell and I rarely check them. (Even though my outgoing message says, “I don’t carry this phone regularly. Please call me at home, I’m not likely to get your message any time soon.”)

I get non-urgent calls on my cellphone too, and often wonder why folk do this. The society I belong to are organising an event where people have been invited to call two landline phone numbers, one being mine, to contact us. Both have answerphones for them – but I get folks preferring to leave messages on my mobile rather than the landline. Only costs 20 cents to retrieve the messages, but dammit – I can’t deal with their messages until I’m home, anyway, and it costs me nothing to retrieve them from my landline’s service.

I don’t restrict calls to and from my mobile just to “important” or “urgent” ones – but calls like the above example are ones I can’t on-charge as part of my business. Just an annoying niggle.

I do say to folk – “Just leave a message on the landline. At some point during the next 24 hours, I will be home, I will pick up the message, and I will respond.”

I don’t call peoples’ cell phones to chit-chat unless explicitly invited to do so.

I much, much prefer to call people’s cell phones because then I know who will answer. If I am calling a co-worker, I may not know their spouse, and certainly don’t know them well. Calling a home phone just seems more intrusive, like I am disturbing a whole household. I also hate to leave messages with children or spouses, since you never know if they will get delivered.

Minutes never even occur to me–I tend to just assume that people have good plans. I guess I need to revisit some of this, having read this thread, but when I think about it, cell number is usually all I have–it’s what people give me.

I almost always call a cell phone first for the same reason as Manda JO. Calling someone at home feels intrusive to me. Also most people I know will give out their cell number freely, but only give their home number to close friends and family.

I always call the cellphone. I have only one friend I call regularly who even has a landline, which I only call if he doesn’t answer the cell.

Well, I’m sure if it’s the number the person gave you, it’s the number they prefer to be called on. I hardly ever give out my cell phone number, and when I do, it’s with a quick lecture not to use it as my regular number. Still, I think people copy it down from their caller IDs when I call them or something, or just forget that I don’t usually answer it.

My husband and I treat our cell phones as emergency phones, for the most part. We do calling on them when we’re away on vacation, when we need to meet up with someone when we’re not at home, or for people to call when something’s urgent. (OK, we also use them to send text messages to each other, but that’s way less intrusive than a phone call.) Our cell phones are tiny, and it’s kind of hard for me to hear on mine. It’s not a fault of the phone, it’s a fault of my ears. Meanwhile, we have nice, large cordless phones at home; they have great sound quality. We’re also not big phone-chatters. Almost his entire family live within 20 minutes of where we live, and we see them frequently.

My husband carries his cell phone at work, but is really not supposed to take phone calls. If someone calls him on his cell while he’s working, he assumes it’s Very Important. Yeah, typically it’s not. His parents or sisters will call him about stuff that doesn’t matter. His dad gets offended when he says he can’t take personal calls on the job. His sisters say “Oh, you’re at work?” as if they don’t know what his job is and that yes, he even works Saturdays.

The cell phones get put away at night if we’re at home, and we’re sitting on the couch playing games on our laptops. If a call comes in to the home phone, one of us turns to look at the nearest phone, and checks the caller ID. If we get a call on a cell phone, one of us might have to run madly to the next room to grab that phone and check it, while that person’s game character is probably dying. Or, we might not hear the call if we have the TV turned up high.

Oh, note to one of my SILs: If you call your brother’s cell phone and leave a long, rambling voice mail, and then immediately call our home line - do not proceed to leave another long message. (True for vice versa, as well.) And for the love of all that’s good, if during this additional message you’re cut off because you rambled on too long, please don’t call back to finish. I’m sure your other message probably covered the topic adequately.

The only people to whom I give my cell phone number are those whom I want to find me reachable wherever I am – and there are very, very few of them. Everyone else gets either my home land line or my work office phone (or both), depending on their relationship to me.


My cell phone has been my only phone going on 7 years now. This is also true of most of my friends. So, yes, people call me to chat on my cell phone all the time. If I’m not in the mood to chat., I don’t answer it.

For me it really depends on the person I am calling. Certain friends have said they prefer one over the other, so that’s what I call. I do what they ask. If they haven’t specified, I actually ask them. But most people I meet, when they are first giving me their numbers tell me if it’s their cell or land line. If they give me both, I ask which I should call.

I don’t care if people call my cell or land line. Certain people always call my cell. Others always call my land line. Some call one, then try the other if I don’t pick up. If I didn’t keep my land line, I would never get to speak to my Grandmother, Father or Mother-In-Law. They do not use or call cell phones.

I’ll call the cell phone first because if I’m calling, there is something that needs attention. I’m not a chit chatty person. And for the most part, people don’t call me without a reason so they can call whatever phone is convenient for them.

I haven’t known anyone with a land line (except my parents) for the better part of a decade now, so, no, I don’t give much thought to calling a cell phone for unimportant matters. I just figured everyone has unlimited talk time, but I guess that’s kind of a silly thing to assume.

I’d rather call a person’s landline - especially for chit-chat. The call quality is just that much better. But many of my friends only have cells, so no choice there.

When I had both a cell and a land line, I gave out my cell number very sparingly. There were a lot of people at the time who felt they had to call me, and I really didn’t want them to have my cell number. I have only a cell number, so that’s what people call on. I’m pretty sure I see the caller’s name when the phone rings, so I could still screen calls on my cell.

Obviously society’s habits, etiquette & etiquette expectations are in a state of flux.

I have a land line only to support DSL & fax; I’m not sure there’s actually a voice phone connected to it.

So I receive 100% of my calls, business or personal, urgent or trivial on my cellphone. I don’t expect anyone to make any decisions about whether or not to call me based on my type of phone.

When I call someone, I call the number I have. Cell or landline doesn’t matter a bit. I call for urgent or trivial reasons, for business or for personal without regard to the type of phone involved. I don’t care whether it’s red or black or tan or has a wire or doesn’t.

I am sensitive to not bothering friends at work with personal calls, nor calling business contacts at nights and on weekends. But it has NOTHING to do with the type of phone. I did that same thing 30 years ago before cells were invented, much less ubiquitous.

FTR I’m almost 50, so it’s not like I grew up with cellphones as the primary phone.