Whenever I call and leave a message for a friend of mine, she either texts or emails her response. Why? Is it appropriate to respond to a voice message with text or email? I am bothered by this, but wondering if I am being a bit too picky. Any insight?
Sincerely, Not LOL
Dear Not LOL:
I hear you, and I can understand why you feel a bit slighted by your friend’s somewhat removed response. I believe that when it comes to message etiquette, the rule should be an eye for an eye or – in this case – an ear for an ear. Here are some basics:
- If a friend leaves you a voicemail, return the call with a call.
- If you cannot return the call for any number of reasons (in a meeting, swimming with dolphins, raging case of strep throat) then by all means send a text or an email: “Got your message and would love to catch up – will call you in the next day or two.”, and then do it.
- If your reason for calling requires a quick response, state that clearly in your message: “I need to wrap this up by the end of the day.”
- If you don’t mind your call being returned with a text or an email, say so: “Feel free to text or email me back if that is easier for you.”; (also consider adding this to your own voice mail greeting so others know what works for you upfront.)
- If you are the one leaving the message, include a brief reason for your call. It’s often frustrating to hear this type of message: “Hey, Debra, got a question for you. Give me a call.” The suspense! What is the question? Do you want to take me France or are you in need of a spare kidney? Leave a hint so when I do, in fact, return your call and then, in all probability, get connected to your voicemail, I can possibly answer your question on-the-spot and end one game of phone tag.
See? Or, rather, hear? It’s easy.
Oh – one last thing – If you’ve recently gone through a breakup, do not (I repeat) call, email, or text the other party, even if you think there is a chance of a free kidney or trip to France. There isn’t. I swear. Put the phone down. Seriously, drop it.