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Cell Phone Etiquette She Wishes You Knew

Make the phone your friend

By Matt Christensen

Technology has changed the way men and women communicate.

For starters, what used to require a phone call can now be accomplished with a Wall post or a text. But just because you can tell her “i <3 u” in writing doesn’t mean you always should — women still like to hear your voice.

So for a moment, forget texting, Facebook, and (insert name of Internet start-up whose uppity teenage founders promise to forever change social networking as we know it), and take this refresher course on cell-phone etiquette. Follow the rules, and you’ll earn major points simply by having a two-minute conversation.

Give her your attention
If you are in the middle of a heated Modern Warfare 2 battle and you realize you promised to call, do not attempt to kill terrorists and converse at the same time. Even if you are a tremendous multi-tasker, she will hear either the gunshots in the background or the bloodlust in your voice and feel slighted. (Note: Girls will feel slighted even if there are real gunshots in the background. That’s just the way it is.)

Women want men to listen to them — and really, is that such an outrageous demand? So if you can’t focus on her when you answer the phone, let it go to voicemail until after you’re finished slaughtering Ultranationalists.

Speak in privacy
Your friends are decent guys — even most of the ones in prison — but they will ruin a phone call. So if your buddies are nearby, discreetly excuse yourself for the duration of the conversation. You might catch hell from them when you return, but it’s better than her overhearing them debate body-shot etiquette. Besides, she probably wants to talk to the version of you she gets when you’re alone, not the version who hangs with the guys.

Know your audience
You are the king of movie quotes, but not all women love “Dumb and Dumber” as much as you do. And while you totally want to make her laugh, some jokes just don’t work over the phone. Especially if she doesn’t yet know you all that well. (Explaining a failed joke is not only not funny, it makes you look sad.) So stick to shared humorous experiences or self-deprecating stories. And, crazy as it sounds, smile when you speak; companies that employ telephone customer service representatives advise their workers to smile on the phone because it comes through to the person on the other end of the line.

Get off the phone (eventually)
Speaking on a cell phone can be difficult if you’re still developing chemistry. You accidentally talk over each other, or there are awkward silences. So if you’re not discussing anything important — do your best not to discuss important stuff over the phone — end the conversation at a logical point by making plans to see each other sooner rather than later.

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