OP-EDS

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May 30, 2003

Phone etiquette elicits stress

As the year is drawing to a close and classes are wrapping up, summer is on the brain of most students. Summer time, in the words of the boy sitting behind me on the bus, is "Dude, I'm so gonna hook up this summer." Classy. If that's your goal, then you'll need a specific method of operation. Part of that method involves the dreaded telephone. Always a sticky situation, phoning becomes more important in the summer because most likely, your crush is less accessible. No matter who they are, you're going to have to call them at some point. For some people, the phone is just an appliance. Other people have a more complex and twisted relationship with their phone. The key is getting past the fear of making a call and learning not to care whether he or she calls. Remember, you've already got her phone number; that's half the battle.

If you're making the call

Some people follow this three day rule bs, others call right away, and others (clueless boys) lose numbers. If you told someone that you'd call them, you should call them, but only if you're interested in them. So if you can't remember whose number is written on your stomach, or you're thinking that girl resembles a troll and you don't dig that, don't call her. Sure, she'll agonize for a while-"Why isn't he calling me? He said he'd call!"-but she'll get over it. We all do.

Now that you're ready to dial, be sure to avoid phoning potholes. First, I think an acceptable waiting time is a couple of days. Obviously, this goes on an individual basis. Just know that guys who call the next day score major points with the girl and her friends. I don't know why but every time a girl says "And then he called me the next day!" all the other girls start gushing, "Wow! Yay! That's so nice of him!" While all girls may not be that gullible, it usually works on most of us (myself included). This also applies to boyfriends; we like you much more when you call us.

The next dilemma that some people face is what time to call. I personally think that it is stupid to call a girl when you know she won't be available. Also, leaving a message puts the ball in their court, which can take the power away from you. If you do get a machine, whether you leave a message or not depends on the type of phone. Leave messages with cell phones because your number will show up. If it's a home phone, then you have some leeway and it's your own choice (note: I wouldn't do it).

If you do manage to talk to him/her, keep it chatty and cool. Make sure you call with a purpose and when that purpose is accomplished, hang up.

If you're getting it

The tables are turned if you're the one waiting for the call. While the giver should be semi-aggressive, the getter should be relaxed. A personal favorite is to turn the phone off or leave the house. Nine times out of ten, he'll call. I don't know why, it must be the physics of dating. Also, don't take it personally if he or she doesn't call. There are a lot of reasons why boys and girls don't feel like extending the initial relationship. So unless you think that the hot guy from last night is your soul mate, don't worry about what happened to his call.

Once the initial call is made, by no means is it smooth sailing afterwards. It would take pages to explain the nuances behind what he meant when he said this, or why she said this, or why did he take so long, blah blah, thus I will conclude with a final formula (see, this really is physics).

If Party A calls Party B, Party B should call Party A next time. Turns should be taken for the first few phone interactions.

If Party A does not return Party B's phone call within five days, Party A should be written off. Face it: if they wanted to call you, they would.

All excuses like "I've been really busy" don't hold water. A phone call is five minutes of your time, no one is that busy. If you find yourself getting a lot of these excuses, do yourself a favor and show yourself the exit.

And really, it's just a phone call. If you're with someone who is that hung up on power hierarchies and so he won't call you ever, it's time to boot him for good. If after this you are still terrified of calling, make like a Reg rat and e-mail; she'll think you're technically savvy...which is what all girls are really looking for.