There were days before texting and the Internet when phone calls were the best way to reach your friends and family. Of course, with any type of communication comes proper etiquette. Most people still know the basics like answering “hello” and saying “goodbye” before you hang up.
If you grew up in the ’50s, do you remember receiving a book or learning about proper phone etiquette? Phone companies actually made guides to phone etiquette and some of it sounds pretty funny these days! See if you remember any of this advice:
1. Always apologize for mistakes
If you accidentally dial a wrong number, a problem that was more common years ago, you should always apologize to the other person before hanging up.
2. Picture the other person
In the days long before video chats, this guide suggested that you picture the person you’re talking to in order to make the call more personal. I wonder how this worked if you never met the person you were talking to.
3. Hang up the phone gently
Most people have smartphones these days, so you hang up by pressing a button. In the ’50s and beyond, you would have to physically hang up the telephone. However, nothing was more satisfying than ending a horrible call with a slam. Oops.
4. Answer phone calls promptly
If you are near your phone, the guide suggests that you should answer the phone promptly and not let it ring too many times.
5. Let people know where you’ll be
In the days of smartphones, you can reach anyone, anytime. Before cell phones, you were encouraged to let people know where you’d be and when you’d return so they could reach you. This was especially for those who worked in an office. What a strange concept these days. I think we should bring some of these rules back!
6. Be brief
The pamphlet suggests that you be brief on calls so you don’t waste anyone’s time.
It also suggests that you should make sure you have the right number, use someone’s name when you’re talking to them on the phone, and other etiquette ideas! What do you think about these ’50s phone etiquette rules?