The Phone Rings: When Do You Answer It or Not Answer It?

I was just reading another thread where a poster mentioned that he was having a conversation with someone; the phone rang; he didn’t answer it; the other person was very surprised and asked why not; the poster said because he was talking to him. So I was wondering when do Dopers answer the phone and when do they continue what they were doing? Taking a shower, eating, having sex, watching a movie they like…

I answer my phone if I’m expecting a call. It’s not on when I’m not. This is why I have 1250 minutes rolled over after only buying 120 every three months as required.

Unless I’m expecting something urgent, they all go to voicemail. After listening I most often text my reply.

I don’t answer, either, unless the caller ID says it’s someone I recognize. Otherwise, it goes straight to voicemail. Most of the time it’s not someone I need to talk to, anyway.

Voicemail unless I can see it’s someone I want to talk to or I’m expecting something important. What I like about our home phone/tv/internet package is the caller ID displays on the TV, so I don’t even have to look at the phone to check it.

A ringing phone is an indicator, not an imperative. I don’t run for the phone, or answer it while I am doing something I would prefer not to have interrupted. I have both caller ID and voice mail. I view my phone as a convenience, not a tether.

When I was growing up, we didn’t answer the phone during dinner. I still don’t. I am not going to interrupt in person interaction for a ringing phone., unless I am expecting an important call. I turn the ringer off if I am having a nap, but not at night. If someone is calling me between 10pm and 6am, they probably need to get a hold of me right away.

If I don’t recognize the number and they call me when I’m say, at work, I will let it go to voicemail. I would also let a call go to voicemail if I am having an in person conversation with someone because I think it’s rude to interrupt someone to have another conversation unless it’s something incredibly important- like someone died or something is on fire.

I answer if I’m alone and it’s something I can pause such as a movie and I can always take a break from eating.


If the phone rings I answer it.

To continue, I really don’t get what people’s problems are with answering the phone. I never understood the mentality of “I don’t know the number so I’m not answering it” or “if it’s important they’ll leave a message”. Just answer the phone.

I find a bit funny when my mom or sister will say “that person has been calling me for three days and I have no idea who it is and they won’t leave a message”. Eventually I’ll pick up the phone. I mean, they’re literally just sitting there looking at the ringing phone, might as well answer it. IMO, it’s even funnier when it turns out it’s someone that’s trying to deliver something and they just need to schedule a time when someones home or just a plain ol’ wrong number but basically a legitimate call. Not a telemarketer, not someone that’s going to kidnap them over the phone, and even if it is a telemarketer…just hangup.

Also, and I know I’m one of the younger ones on this board, but I feel like I need to say that maybe I have this attitude because I came from a time when we didn’t have caller ID and a lot of people didn’t have a machine. If the phone rang, answering it really was the only option if you wanted to know who it was.

I look at the caller ID. There are some calls I take no matter what, some calls that I will answer if its not interrupting something and most of them just go to voice mail. I never answer unknown or restricted numbers.

My local police department comes up as restricted. We’ve talked to them about that. They say it’s because if they’re about to go and try to pick someone up they’d rather the person not see [Local city] Police Department. My problem is that a lot of people don’t pick up restricted calls, so how many people aren’t answering the call when it’s a legit call from the PD, for example when my alarm (at work) goes off. The owner here was complaining that the last time that happened, he ignored the restricted call (it was during election season as well), then, when he got the voicemail from them, he has to memorize the number since he couldn’t use redial, then, he called the wrong person and had to listen to it again.

We complained a bunch of times, the chief said he’ll work on getting them to use the ‘non restricted’ part of the phone system for things like that.

I am a receptionist. I am on the phone all flippin’ day. I answer the phone when I’m paid to. My phone? I answer it if I want to talk to you. Or not.

My phone is for my convenience, not yours.

The 1950’s called. Please answer it.

Most of the time I answer it if I am free to talk.
I don’t answer when I am out with friends, at dinner, talking on the other line, etc unless I know from the number that it’s important.
Sometimes when it’s a suspicious number I’ll answer just because I feel like playing.

I generally hate talking on the phone, and I have very few people in my life who will call just to chat, out of the blue.

I’m another who checks caller ID, and if it’s a call I was expecting or it’s someone I know and I have time (and the inclination) to chat then I’ll answer. I spent too many years when my parents were aging running for the phone every time it rang. They’re gone now and there’s no real reason for me to run for the phone, so usually I don’t.

I’m essentially a curmudgeon, I like being left alone.

Oh, and I’m over 50 and didn’t have caller ID on a phone until 1999.

Wild-ass guess, I probably answer my phone about 50% of the time. If I’m in the middle of something, working, driving, in a social and/or noisy environment, I tend not to. I have caller ID, I will always call back as soon as is practical.

I also rarely listen to my voicemail. I see you called; I’ll usually call you right back. Voicemail is becoming redundant, I think. I have a friend who calls me often, leaving message after message (her record was eleven times in one day, when I was out of cell range) along the lines of “Hey, it’s Judy, just calling to see what you’re up to!” I’ve given up trying to explain to her that I very rarely listen to my voice messages, and all she’s doing is clogging up my voicemail.

Actually I prefer texts in most situations.

My SO is like you, he can’t let a ringing phone not be answered. In my formative years, our house was without an answering machine. These days though, I usually don’t want to talk on the phone so unless I know who it is AND feel like talking, they can leave a message. If they don’t, I figure it must not have been that important.

As I have been saying for over 20 years (and have probably posted on this board a dozen times);

My telephone is a Tool that exists for my convenience.
When it stops being convenient, I stop using it.

I answer the phone when it rings. Or at least, not answering the phone is the exception rather the rule.

I couldn’t see having people go through the extra step of leaving a message, then waiting for me to call them back for the privilege of talking to me.