Phone Etiquette All Daters Need to Know in 2018

A woman showing proper phone etiquette and she laughs and talks on the phone with a guy she's newly dating.

Ah, the phone call, once considered to be a common courtesy in dating etiquette has all but gone the way of the dodo. People really do prefer texting these days, and I mean really prefer. Oh, you’re an old soul? Okay, well, you’re probably going to have a tough time of it, but if phone calls are your thing you’re going to have to get your phone etiquette straight. These are the things you need to know before calling someone you’re newly seeing.

Ask first.
The cultural preference has switched very firmly from calling to texting over the last decade, and it’s not going back. It doesn’t matter what reason they give for being busy. They most likely just don’t want to talk, especially if you just connected online. If you met online, chances are they’re chatting with many other people at the same time. Calls take time. What have you done to deserve preferential treatment? If you insist on calling, ask them if they want to talk before dialing them up. If they say yes, then go for it.

Don’t force it.
If they say no to your request for a phone interview, I mean call, take it in stride and don’t push it. They’ve set a boundary. It’s up to you to respect it or risk setting a bad precedent for the relationship, if they even decide to stick around.

Pick a convenient time.
If the person you’re dating agrees to chat, then pick a time that’s convenient for them. Nine-to-five probably isn’t good, because they’re working. Evening is probably best and schedule the time in advance.

Explain with humor why you want to talk on the phone.
In an online dating connection where you have yet to meet the other person, you’re likely going to be met with skepticism when you ask to chat on the phone, and you’ll have to offer an explanation. Prepare something witty to say like “just wanted to make sure you weren’t my coworker Steve trying to prank me. Ya hear that Steve?” Or something funnier than that… It’ll help take the pressure off the ask.

Keep it short.
If you’re getting on the phone to feel their vibe before meeting in person, keep the call short and sweet. In fact, no matter what your reasoning, keep it short and sweet. For whatever reason, people have a lot of anxiety about talking on the phone to strangers and for all intensive purposes between dates zero through three, you’re a stranger. Most people aren’t interested in talking on the phone, so chat as long as you need to and then sign off until the time of your next date.

People get less reluctant the longer you date.
Just because they don’t want to talk on the phone now, doesn’t mean that they won’t want to later. Nowadays, talking on the phone is an act of intimacy more often reserved for close friends and family. If you end up dating this person long-term, you’re almost guaranteed to talk on the phone, so if they say no upfront you’re not SOL.

Stop looking down on texting.
It’s a popularly held opinion, especially among older generations that texting is a lower form of communication than chatting on the phone. Maybe so, but as The Dude said, “That’s just like your opinion, man.” Some people are great at texting, but take more time to warm up to talking to someone new. Others fall in love over text messages. If you look at text communication as a valuable part of your relationship you may be able to get over your need to talk on the phone with your date, at least until they’re more comfortable.

Reevaluate why you need to talk to somebody on the phone.
Why do you think you need to talk to the person on the phone before you meet them? It’s pretty common now for people to take many months of dating before labeling the relationship and talking on the phone is definitely relationship behavior. Maybe you’re worried that it’ll be a waste of time because they don’t talk how you expected when you meet them in person.

Well listen up, everybody wants every relationship to go well, but that’s why we have dating. You don’t want to waste your time? Well, they don’t want to waste theirs either. It’s too early in the relationship to be making demands. Personally, when I was single (also now that I’m in a relationship) I liked talking on the phone, but I didn’t ask it of someone I just started dating, because I knew most people didn’t want to.

Talking on the phone with someone you just started seeing can be great, if you can get them to agree to it, but remember it’s not the only way to get to know someone. Instead of fighting for a call, try to meet and get time together, that’s the best way you’ll get close and figure out if you like each other.

Alex Bocknek

Alex Bocknek is the senior editor of The Date Mix and works at Zoosk, the online dating service. He’s also a recovering music critic and an aspiring fiction writer (probably lost) on the way to an independent bookstore near you. He can be found occasionally musing about politics, philosophy, and love in the modern world.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed

Weekly Dating Insider