Catasauqua Press

Friday, July 10, 2020

Respectfully Yours: Phone call response

Sunday, October 20, 2019 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

There are days that I am very busy and find it impossible to stop and take the time to take a phone call. Is it bad manners to respond to a phone call with a text message?

Dear Reader,

Sometimes you just don’t have time to answer the phone.

You could be driving a vehicle, having dinner with your family, or maybe you just don’t want to talk.

In such a connected world today, keeping your phone manners on point and respectful can be tricky.

Modern-day courtesy suggests you return any message via the same medium in which it was sent.

This is basic politeness. A phone call requires a return phone call.

A text deserves a text.

If someone calls you and you respond back with a text message, it might be interpreted as rude. It implies that the interaction in real time is not very important to you.

Of course, there are exceptions to the central tenant of modern-day tech etiquette.

For the times when you are unable to take a phone call, it is acceptable to reply with a text, respond by saying, “I saw you called but I can’t talk right now. I’ll call you as soon as I’m free.”

Actual conversations are time-consuming but more authentic than a text and, for that reason, it’s nice to make time to have an actual dialogue.

Make the effort to respond quickly. Otherwise your lack of response might be interpreted as a lack of caring. The key is to not make the caller feel irrelevant. To avoid mishaps and hurt feelings, always handle missed calls with courtesy.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved © 2019 Jacquelyn Youst