There is quite a variety of answers when it comes to what is the latest time you would call someone.
Some people are night owls and others go to bed early. Some have children so evenings are busy with bathing and bedtime routines.
To get a more precise overview, we asked 106 people when they would call someone at the latest.
Is It Rude to Call People Late at Night?
Our survey showed that most respondents said that 9 p.m. is the latest time they would call someone. Only 7% of respondents think it’s okay to call after 11 p.m., so it’s rude to call someone late at night.
9 pm seems to be the cut-off for most individuals as a safeguard. They don’t want to call too late and wake someone up or make them angry.
21% said they would go as late as 10 pm. Only 7% said it was ok in their eyes to call someone up to 11 pm. Only 1% of the people surveyed felt that 6 pm should be the cut-off.
As an individual, you have to make judgment calls. It all depends on your relationship with the other party too. Personal calls tend to be made later than those for business.
Be Aware of Time Differences
Always be aware of time differences, which play a role in the time to call someone. It may be 7 pm where you live. Is it 11 pm where they are?
That can make it too late to call and it will have to wait until the following morning. This is an area where there are huge problems with calling people too late.
What to Say:
“I live in MST and you are in EST, what is the latest time that you prefer phone calls to come in?”
“I am not sure what time it is where they reside. Give me a moment while I Google the area code to confirm it isn’t too late there.”
“Since it is after 8 pm where she lives, I will reach out to her first thing in the morning. I will get up early so I can catch her before she heads to the meeting.”
“I am sorry to call you late in your time zone, is it okay to talk now? I am working late at the office on your project.”
“I hope I am not interrupting your dinner or anything. I know there are several hours difference in our time zones.”
Don’t hesitate to ask someone how late you can call them. This gives you the information you seek and you don’t have to guess.
If you need to talk to them often, knowing the best window of opportunity is a good idea. It reduces the back and forth or the need to wait on a return call before you can proceed with something.
What to Say:
“How late can I call you at home about the project? I know we will both be taking lots of this work home with us.”
“Is 10 pm too late to call you if I have questions as I go through the materials?”
“Do you go to bed early or late? I don’t want to reach out and wake you up.”
“Can you share the best time to call you? How late in the evening do you take calls?”
“Thank you for giving me your contact information. I would like to inquire how late I can reasonably call you.”
Likewise, people are going to wonder when it is too late to call you.
Rather than them guessing, share with them what is on your mind. This will ensure they call at a time you are happy with.
What to Say:
“I stay up late, and you can call me up to 11 pm. I often work in my home office after the kids are in bed.”
“Please feel free to call me at home, even on the weekend, if you need anything. I appreciate you working on this. I do ask you don’t call me after 10 pm though as my household will be asleep by then.”
“This is an urgent project, and you can reach out at any time. I realize members of this team are in many different time zones. If it is important enough to need my input don’t think twice about calling me.”
“If you need to call, do so before 6 pm or after 9 pm. That block of time is family time and we strive to have no interruptions then.”
“I go to bed early because I get up at 4 am. I don’t take calls after 8 pm, thank you.”
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute If You Need to Talk with Someone
Procrastinating can lead to stress so don’t wait until the last minute. If you need to talk to someone, working earlier in the day on something gives you ample time to reach them. Plus, it gives them time to return the call if they weren’t available when you reached out.
If you wait until later at night, you may have no choice but to call someone at the last minute.
What to Say:
“I have spent the afternoon trying to figure this out, but I am stumped. Can you help me? I hope I am not interrupting anything you have going on today.”
“There are a few changes to the proposal I would like to review with you. It will be useful if we can talk about them so we are all on the same page when we go into the meeting Monday morning.”
Text or Email Them to See If They Are Up
If you aren’t sure if someone is up, text or email them.
Then you aren’t interrupting them but you can inquire. If they are awake, you can proceed to call them or they can call you.
If you don’t get a reply, wait until the following day to contact them.
What to Say:
“Hi, are you awake? If so, can you call me? Thanks.”
“I didn’t want to call but do need to run something by you. If you are awake let me know, please.”
Matt Vargas is an author and public speaking coach with a degree in sociology and more than ten years of practical experience. Matt is responsible for the empirical surveys at everyday-courtesy.com, is a passionate recreational musician, and blogs here about his experiences in the field of interpersonal communication.