Sometimes you’re not sure if you can just call a person or if you should text them first to ask if the time and topic are right. To find out how many people would consider a call without a prior message rude, we asked 105 people about their opinion.
Only 17% of the people surveyed think it is rude to receive a call without first being informed by text message. Everyone else felt it was fine to call and not text first.
It comes down to a personal preference. A phone call can be a welcomed way to connect, to hear someone laugh, and discuss something that would take quite a few texts.
Even a fast phone call to check on someone or confirm meeting up soon is encouraged. Texts can be impersonal, they can be hard to understand the context, and they can cause miscommunication concerns.
If you prefer someone to text you before they call, let them know it. They will remember this conversation and they can go that route in the future. You can also let calls go to voicemail if it isn’t a convenient time to chat with them.
If you tend to text rather than call, try to break that habit. Nothing can replace a human voice on the other end of the line. In a time of technology changes, staying connected and hearing a person can make a difference. It can help someone be in a better mood and help them get through the uncertainty.
The survey was conducted among 105 people in the US, most of whom were between 25 and 35 years old.
As you can see, almost three-quarters of respondents do not find it problematic if they are called without a prior text message. So, if someone does not explicitly ask to be informed before calling, chances are good that you will not be perceived as rude.
Remain polite from the start of the phone call until the moment you end the call.
Relationship with the Individual
When it comes to your friends and family, you know them well enough to ask their thoughts on the subject. Knowing where they stand with it and if they think it is rude to call someone without texting first can help you establish how you will reach out to them in the future.
You don’t want it to be a source of tension. You don’t want anyone to think you are rude because you call them and they are offended.
Clear communication in any relationship can eliminate such unnecessary concerns.
What to Say:
“It doesn’t bother me if someone calls without texting first. I am glad they take the time to call me. What are your thoughts on it?”
“Do I need to text you first or is it okay to just call you when I want to talk?”
“I understand people can’t always answer the phone when I call. They will see I called and get back to me. If it is important, I will leave a message or also send them a text. I think hearing a voice on the other end of the line is important and worth my time to do it.”
“Catching up with friends is important; I love that I can just call them at any time. We may not have talked recently but we can always just pick up right where we left off before. Those are the friendships I value the most.”
“Can you share with me why you think it is rude for someone to call you without texting first? I am respectful of your thoughts on it, I am just curious.”
You may have contact information for those you work with but always keep it friendly as well as professional. If you call them about work outside of business hours, it is a good idea to text them first.
That is their free time to spend as they desire. If they don’t want to talk business you have to respect that. If it is a pressing matter that really can’t wait, let them know that.
Send a simple but specific text to them about the situation. Let them know what you need and why you need to call them.
If the issue can be resolved via text, just go that route. If a phone call discussion is necessary, ask them if you can call them to talk about that specific issue. If you don’t get a reply to that text, do not call them!
As you work with certain individuals, you will find what works well with them. Not all co-workers appreciate getting calls outside of normal business hours. Others value that working relationship and do what they can to help out at any time. Once you know where you stand with them you won’t be worried about it.
What to Say:
“Thanks for your phone number. Is it okay to just call you when I need to or should I text you first?”
“I will only call if I really need help. I want you to enjoy your time off.”
“Thanks for taking my call. Can we talk about this issue for a few minutes?”
“I don’t mind if you call me about work. I will answer if I can. If not, I will get back to you as soon as I am able.”
“Sometimes work can’t wait so can I call you if there is something I must have your input about? I would rather talk about the options than send text messages back and forth.”
Sometimes, there are schedule conflicts, and you won’t be sure if it is a good time to call or not. Some people go to bed early. Others sleep in so you don’t want to call them first thing in the morning.
People are working from home or busy with kids. Sometimes those you need to talk to about work are in a different time zone or a different country!
When there are schedule conflicts, texting first can be a good idea. It can help you avoid waking someone up or disturbing them. Most people can sleep through a text message coming in but it is difficult to sleep through a phone ringing!
What to Say:
“Are you still awake? It is okay for me to call you? If not, let me know when you are available in the morning and we can talk.”
“Are you busy working today? If you have time to chat let me know. I didn’t want to call and interrupt you.”
“I know you have a busy day. Give me a call when you have a chance.”
“With our time differences, can you share the best time to call you?”
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.