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Text, don't call: the new phone etiquette

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16.03.2019

Have you noticed how technology changes social etiquette?

Right now, it’s happening with phone calls. A fair number of us believe it’s no longer acceptable to just phone someone out of the blue, without texting first.

More than nine out of 10 Australians own a mobile phone but voice calls are a secondary usage.Credit:Shutterstock

This might be news for some of you but if you are younger or lean to being an introvert, you’re probably nodding along right now.

We’ve seen this pattern before. A few decades ago it was common to drop in on friends, neighbours or relatives without phoning ahead; if you happened to be nearby, you’d just knock on the door and try your luck.

One of three things could happen: no one home, a cuppa with a friend, or a slightly awkward conversation on the doorstep.

This is now almost unthinkable for many of us, especially for those under 40. If you don’t call ahead to check if a visit would be convenient and welcome, it’s eccentric at best and downright creepy at worst.

Sure, you might have one or two close relationships where it’s fine to just pop by, but it’s the exception rather than the rule.

And now the same thing is happening with the phone call itself.

Phones are ubiquitous. Research by Deloitte in 2018 suggests 89 per cent of Australians own a smartphone and 96 per cent own a phone of some kind.

That doesn’t mean we........

© Canberra Times