Monthly Archives: April 2015

Phone Etiquette in Other Countries

I hate telephones, and I avoid telephone conversations in all but the most necessary of cases, because phone calls are rude. Having said that, this article about phone etiquette throughout the world is fascinating. Some highlights:

RUSSIA: “If you call a Russian, be prepared for the person to not answer! Phone tapping used to be very common in the Soviet Union. Many years later, some people are still suspicious of telephones. Cellular networks are pretty spotty and not very dependable, so generally people avoid talking on the phone whenever possible.” …Sounds like a great place (at least as far as phones go) for someone like me.

INDIA: “It’s common in India to call somebody late at night, for any reason at all!” …WTF?!

CHINA: “For the Chinese, it’s totally acceptable to answer the phone wherever you are! If you’re in a meeting or talking face-to-face, expect to be interrupted by a ringing phone! This is for a good reason. In China if you don’t answer the call, the person trying to reach you will ring your phone tirelessly until you pick up!” …No, no, goddamn it NO!

ITALY: “Should you want to leave an Italian a voicemail, make sure it’s no longer than 30 seconds long! It’s considered rude to leave a rambling voicemail, so messages should be quick and concise!” …Kudoes to Italy!

Stop “Thinking Out Loud”

Thinking“Thinking out loud” describes the verbalization of a thinking process going on in a brain. It’s sometimes used by so-called “extroverts” to explain their pathological obsession with running their mouth. Maybe we should be happy. As obnoxious as it is, at least for once, they’re actually thinking.

The wonder of seeing a self-described “extrovert” using their brain for anything other than making mouth sounds wears thin quickly, however. “Thinking out loud” means subjecting all in listening range to the thinking process, including all its twists and turns, missteps and mistakes, and stops and restarts. Thinking is work. That’s why reasonable, considerare people keep all that to themselves, and only speak after the thinking process has guided them to the concise summary of their thoughts.

Some idiots will say, “It helps me to think out loud.” That makes some sense — thinking skills, like muscles, can atrophy due to lack of use. Should we, then, plug our ears and let them “think” in whatever way they can, grateful for the minimal effort they are willing to put in?

Or is it reasonable to expect them to go somewhere else to do their loud work? What if — gasp! — they even took a little time ALONE to do their out-loud personal work?

If I can’t ride the treadmill without screaming loudly, the gym management may (rightfully) ask that I do my workouts during non-peak hours. That seems OK by me. Thinking doesn’t require the mouth. Search for images of “thinking,” and see if any show people with their mouths open. Nope.

But hey… if you actually believe that flapping your jaws helps you think, then at least have the courtesy to take it somewhere else, won’t you?