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how many unanswered voice messages and emails before you stop calling 'friends'? Answered

I know people are busy but really, would a good friend keep trying indefinately to maintain the connection. What about people who don't try to share new experiences?


Please try not to be personally offended by what I'm about to say...

Thanks Kiteman and Frollard...I was reluctant to open my "mouth" on this after reading the first "Mrs. Peal's Correct Behavior" post

I routinely ignore the phone for non-business or non-direct family calls. You want me as a "friend", or a friend?? you'd better knock on the door if you want the latter. Frankly, I got tired of the "text me", "call me", "oh, and don't stop by without an appointment" world that my contemporaries have created as I've gotten older...It's just not my bag. For business contacts it's one thing, friends, well that's another story altogether...it's a new criteria for my life. There just aren't enough hours in the day to conform to these ludicrous modes of pseudofriendship.

One more thing...you might ask yourself " Why isn't Bobby/Mary/etc. returning my calls, is it something about ME?"...It could be an uncomfortable question to answer, but sometimes there are more reasons than simple belligerence (like mine) or forgetfulness. If you are anything like the majority of people I know, you may have run into someone like me. Friendship is not business, and if you think otherwise, well, I guess we can agree to disagree.

I refuse to answer calls from certain people (even long time friends), because I've found I just don't like them anymore, (one takes off for vacation every single year right before my birthday but has the gall to call me "Bro"..lol...how clueless can you get?)...even if I'm in an answer the phone or answer the message mood. I may not be in the majority, but I've been evaluating alot of things over the last 1-1/2 years, and truth is, reciprocation has been a paltry return. I just can't afford to waste my life playing by someone else's self-absorbed rules. After all, I have my own, and to date, My output has exceeded my just return tenfold.

Maybe it's time that this economic climate taught us about how things are supposed to work...that maybe this ME-generation driven, greedy, 24hr day/ bright light/ consumer=good citizen, "txt me sometime" world needs to change...and this time, maybe a step back is in order.

(Asumming that you and I actually knew each other and were "old friends"...)
What I'd say if this...You know where I live...Drop by, if you like...

it's what I've been saying to my "old friends" for the past three or four years...I warned them in no uncertain terms...now i just don't say anything at all. I just press the 7 key.

Obtuse rant mode off.

"Mrs. Peal's Correct Behavior"...
OMG!!! LOL!!! Other small groups of capital letters selected at random!!!

I don't think of myself as a fuddy-duddy old stick-in-the-mud, so I forget that I can easily come off that way sometimes. :)

I should have clarified that the "three, maybe five" rule-of-thumb applies to people that you are just getting to know; when you aren't sure whether you might be making yourself a pest, or whether there's really enough basis for a friendship to justify further effort. Admittedly, I gathered that this was the situtaiton that the Author of the Question seems be in, but my statement was broader than that.

The True Fact Of The Matter is that there's a reason why I know that truly steadfast & stalwart friends will keep trying again every once in a while - I can be so horribly bad about returning calls and emails that the true and steadfast stalwarts are the only friends I have left.

(In other etiquette notes, Mrs. Peale's Table Setting for Everyday is arranged with the computer/DVD-player at the top of the place setting, the duct tape and Stanley knife at upper right, and the cat fended off with the left elbow and forearm. :)

Not a personal dig Gorfram...general...honestly... And I apologize if it offended you. Lol! there really is a Mrs Peal's manners rules? I was actually thinking of a newspaper column here in the states called "Miss Manners", (there's another famous one I'm blanking on as well) but for the life of me I couldn't cough up the name and so just pulled out another that had a slightly "Victorian" association. Go figure...maybe a past life ;) Fair enough about the "people you're just getting to know" qualification. I agree on that 100%. I guess I read the author's query as pertaining to intimates, people he or she already considers friends, rather than what I would be inclined to call "associates" or "acquaintances", although is questioning it because they don't answer his or her calls...and it's a bug-up-my-___ right now, as I've been purposefully ignoring a couple of people although I would rather not have to be doing so, for the simple reason that I've warned them about their lack of "friendly conduct" on many occasions... long story but my rant covered a small part of the whole cause. I really do think that we've strayed from healthy community conduct though... the advise still stands...go over to your friends house(s) once and a while out of the blue and just knock on the door..."I was just in the neighborhood, and I forgot to take my phone..." (Make sure to turn it off and hide it first of course....) Again, please accept my apologies if I offended.

Oh, no, please, Sean, I wasn't at all offended - I was laughing my (backside) off!!! :)
I thought it was a stone rip-snorting hoot-and-a-half! ( <- colloquial American expressions - I'm also a US-ian. :)

(Rats! I should have included more smilies. Lots more smilies. :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
As far as I know, there is no Mrs. Peal* or "Mrs Peal's Correct Behavior." There is Miss Manners' etiquette columm; and there used to be etiquette books written by Emily Post, which are now mostly outdated (e.g., is it socially permissible to allow your butler to wear a beard or moustache? No - not according to Mrs. Post.)

(*There is Mrs. Emma Peele(sp?), the famously attractive female lead of the British TV series "The Avengers," but - while her behavior was always quite correct, of course - she did much more by way of avenging than by way of advising.)

OTOH, the reason that I know anything at all about Manners or Post is that I have read them in hopes of saving myself from being the utterly inept heap of social awkwardness that I usually feel like I am. (I quoted the "three, maybe five, and then leave it to them" advice so confidently because it came from my mother; whom I've always considered an infallible authority on such things because she is, after all, my mother. That worked fine when I was five years old, but this exchange has led me to realize that I've never really examined that assumption since then. :)

And now I've made you think you offended me when you really just gave me a rip-snorting belly laugh, and my mother never did tell me how to de-trepidate an internet acquaintance over a non-offense, so I'm back here in my customary inept heap of social awkwardness.

Perhaps since I wasn't (at all!) offended, I don't see where we might be straying from healthy community conduct - if you still think we are, please let me know, either here or via PM.

Unoffended and greatly amused,

If there are quotation marks around "friends", you should probably stop after not more than two tries unless you've spoken to them face-to-face and they've actively encouraged you to try again. As Seandogue said: Maybe they don't particularly like phones or e-mail (I hate the former, my mother hates the latter), or maybe they don't particularly like you, or maybe their idea of what's appropriate to share simply doesn't match yours. And if you have to ask us rather than asking them, the "friendship" probably is in quotes.

I place precisely zero faith in voicemail technology. I find that my mailbox is full without my cel phone notifying me that I even have messages. Technology letting me down in the past means I dont trust or use it. If the person you're trying to contact is like me, it could be weeks before I get the message. People should be answering their phones at least sporadically. Try other media to get their attention.

"It depends."

There have been some points made already, but it also depends on the friend in question. If it was me you were trying to contact, it would probably take 15 or 20 messages and a brick through the window before I remembered to get back to you.

I even forgot my mother's birthday once...

(But only once!)

Gorfram took the words right out of my mouth...exactly.

My approach is the same whether they answer the phone or the machine does. I limit my calls, and I make sure I am perfectly clear with my intentions each time so that I don't have to repeat mysel. One to three calls to make or suggest plans, with fewer calls for less likely ideas or ideas that need to be acted on quickly. If I don't hear from you before the day's activities are to start, I assume you aren't interested in coming along. One call for reminders, discussing minor problems, and excursions within our small town. Things that aren't terribly exciting or important. I generally make one call, and then forget it. I also only make one call for asking out a date, but I don't leave something like that as a message on someone's machine unless I know they're ok with it. Business conversations are the only calls I will repeat. If it's important enough to shout and yell about it tomorrow, it's important enough to call the boss tonight.

The usually accepted standard is three, up to five if you're being really generous about it, unless the non-responding person has some really good reason (illness, heartbreak, prolonged business trip, etc.) for his/her non-response. It is polite to say something in your last e-mail/voice mail to the effect of "Hey, I haven't heard back and I don't want you to think I'm pestering you or anything; so I'm just gonna leave the ball in your court and wait to hear from you. Take care, and I hope to talk to you soon." (But hopefully not as awkward as that - I'm lousy at wording that sort of thing.) If you've been friends for years and the non-response is a new development, a truly steadfast & stalwart friend will try again every few weeks/months/years.