The annoying need to be vague


#1

lately I have really been getting annoyed at peoples need to be so secretive regarding phone messages and emails and texts. I'll give a few examples. My sister in-law will call me every couple of months or so and leave a message saying "this is SIL please call me when you get this message, I have something I want to talk to you about."

or the lady from my daughters youth group who leaves me messages via email saying "I have something "I need to discuss with you, when is a good time to call?".

I get tons of messages like this from people. When I return the call it's usually something like, oh, little Tommy's birthday party is going to be 2 Saturdays from now can you guys make it? Or can you please bring brownies to the next meeting. or something along those lines.

Why can't people just leave me a message and say why they are calling or emailing and what they need. Why the big mystery. I'm a busy person. I don't have time for guessing games. Just leave me a message and I'll call you back. Let me know what it is you want in the message ,so when I do call you back I can have a response ready for you.

I'm just wondering if anyone else feels this way about mystery message callers/emailers./


#2

One day I got a call from my mother (at work - I've told my family REPEATEDLY never to call me at work unless it's an emergency - employers get a bit testy about personal calls). I wasn't available to answer the call so she left a message; Tell Nicky to call me, it's VERY important!

SO I'm panicking thinking something horrible has happened. I try calling her back for HOURS and no answer and then finally I get through! "What happened? Is everyone okay!"

Her response?

"Three big jet planes just flew over our house!!!! IT was soooo coool."

It took ALL of my energy NOT to be angry with her.

In short; Yes. I think vagueness in messages is extremely annoying. "I'm calling about a birthday party, I'll explain in more detail when you call back." Would that be SO hard.

:shrug:


#3

Yes, nickyBR38, you soooo got my point! It sucks up so much energy when you recieve a message and then are unable to get a hold of the person for hours. It weighs on the back of your mind. Is it so hard to say, my call is regarding insert subject here. and if it's really not important say so. And if it is really important say, what it is regarding so your not leaving a person hanging all day. Sheesh.


#4

hahaha this made me laff…

my mother leaves me voicemails similar to that, but in her case it’s acceptable because otherwise the message will be several minutes long. and I really don’t want to listen to that, and then call her back and discuss that plus everything else for another hour. I actually had to threaten that if she didn’t get to the point, I was going to delete all future messages without listening to them.

as far as people saying things are important when they’re not… well, I think that’s a symptom of the me me me syndrome, yes? it is hard, you get carried away with your own life, without bothering to think about how the message will sound to someone who isn’t inside your head and therefore doesn’t know that all you’ve been thinking about for the past week is little tommy’s birthday party, so of course bringing brownies or whatever is very important, since everyone else has to be told not to bring brownies within the next few hours, so please call back asap… ::takes breath::

but all that gets left on the machine is “something important, please call”

it’s also kinda deflating, cause maybe you’re like ooh, something exciting and secret is happening! and then you’re like, oh, brownies. yeah.


#5

[quote="Luvs2Learn, post:1, topic:202973"]
lately I have really been getting annoyed at peoples need to be so secretive regarding phone messages and emails and texts. I'll give a few examples. My sister in-law will call me every couple of months or so and leave a message saying "this is SIL please call me when you get this message, I have something I want to talk to you about."

or the lady from my daughters youth group who leaves me messages via email saying "I have something "I need to discuss with you, when is a good time to call?".

I get tons of messages like this from people. When I return the call it's usually something like, oh, little Tommy's birthday party is going to be 2 Saturdays from now can you guys make it? Or can you please bring brownies to the next meeting. or something along those lines.

Why can't people just leave me a message and say why they are calling or emailing and what they need. Why the big mystery. I'm a busy person. I don't have time for guessing games. Just leave me a message and I'll call you back. Let me know what it is you want in the message ,so when I do call you back I can have a response ready for you.

I'm just wondering if anyone else feels this way about mystery message callers/emailers./

[/quote]

On the one hand this may be, as someone said, to do with the 'me' syndrome where everything I do or think or say is of supreme importance.

On the other hand - unless you live and work alone there are good chances that people other than yourself will check the emails/answering machine messages. And the person calling may not care to let the whole office (or indeed anyone other than yourself) know that there's a birthday party or that planes flew over their house.

What if the message is heard or the email read by someone who isn't invited and will get upset if they find out? What if the teenager answers and doesn't take down the message or forgets to tell you or something?

Additionally, I know lots of cases where invites are emailed or left on answering machines, and simply not responded to. So the person giving the invite has to chase up again anyway and thus wastes a phone call. Or else assumes the person isn't coming or isn't bringing the brownies or whatever because they didn't respond - and is surprised and embarrassed when they turn up (or bring the brownies) anyway, as some people do. :shrug:


#6

I never leave details in an email or voicemail, because you don't know who is checking it. Plus, I try to keep voicemails as short as possible.

For my friends who use their work email/Blackberry for minimal personal use I always leave messages like "Sarah, it's Financemom, please call me when you get the chance."

For friends who have landlines or family email accounts I am just as vague. The only time I am not is when I know I am calling a cell phone used by just that friend or just that friend's email.

It's a matter of privacy and making sure I am giving the information to the necessary person.


#7

yes, while agree, it is not necessary to divulge detailed or private info on a phone message, I also think people should be careful in leaving a message that says "call me back, it's important" when it's really not. I say this because I have lived through some horrible things in my life. I lost a young brother to a car accident. The place where my father works had the building next to his explode due to a gas line drilling underground gone bad) My father was fine (as were the those in the building (a few injuries, but all survived)
but we were unable to get in contact with him for hours and the roads were blocked off , phone lines were down in his building etc. I recieved a message from an aunt who saw it on the news and left me a message about what she saw on the news. Thats how we found out.
those are just two examples of "important". Not to be little other peoples "important" but for those of us who have faced real "important", when someone leaves a vague message saying "call me back it's important" the first thing we think of is I hope everyone is all right.


#8

[quote="Luvs2Learn, post:7, topic:202973"]
yes, while agree, it is not necessary to divulge detailed or private info on a phone message, I also think people should be careful in leaving a message that says "call me back, it's important" when it's really not. I say this because I have lived through some horrible things in my life. I lost a young brother to a car accident. The place where my father works had the building next to his explode due to a gas line drilling underground gone bad) My father was fine (as were the those in the building (a few injuries, but all survived)
but we were unable to get in contact with him for hours and the roads were blocked off , phone lines were down in his building etc. I recieved a message from an aunt who saw it on the news and left me a message about what she saw on the news. Thats how we found out.
those are just two examples of "important". Not to be little other peoples "important" but for those of us who have faced real "important", when someone leaves a vague message saying "call me back it's important" the first thing we think of is I hope everyone is all right.

[/quote]

I agree absolutely. I think the wording causes a false sense of urgency. You can leave a message saying: Call me back, I need to talk to you about a birthday. Call me back, I need to discuss so and so. Is still vague enough to respect a persons privacy in an office setting BUT reveals enough information so the person receiving the message isn't left with a false sense of urgency.

The 'call me back, it's important' line is manipulative. I think. :shrug:


#9

nickybr38:
The 'call me back, it's important' line is manipulative. I think.

I completely agree. :thumbsup:


#10

It is manipulative, but in my case, its the usual suspects that use that ploy on me, such as my mom, my one SIL and especially my MIL who will create drama out of the simpliest of things. I should see it coming from a mile away, but I always think what if this is that one time it really is important and then beat myself up after I fell for it once again.


#11

I think this is the ideal middle-of-the-road solution. :thumbsup:

If the issue is just TOO private to mention any details at all, like a personal problem of some sort that still doesn’t veer into “emergency” territory, then maybe something along the lines of: “I need to talk to you; it’s not an emergency or anything like that, it’s just something I’d rather talk to you about directly and in private, so please get back to me when you can.” Perhaps for the sake of being optimally considerate the last sentence should even be amended to “get back to me when you have time to talk for a while” if the conversation would possibly require much time. That carries the weight of something that’s important enough to the individual calling so that the one receiving the message/e-mail should get in touch with them whenever it’s convenient if only out of being considerate in return, but without either breeching privacy and without making it seem like a catastrophe has happened.

I think a good idea for responding to such messages if it’s from someone you know to be prone to exagerration is to contact them–after all it really could be an emergency, and besides you’d probably call them back anyway if they’d asked appropriately–but don’t immediately ask “What’s wrong!!!” or something…instead, either let them bring it up, which they will if it was really so important, or if you’re pressed for time and have to rush to the point, you might simply ask, casually, “You called earlier? What did you need?” That way, you don’t have the “but what if it really is an emergency” guilt from ignoring it, but you also don’t have the embarassment of treating it like an emergency when it just ends up being something simple and exagerrated.

Blessings in Christ,
KindredSoul


#12

[quote="nickybr38, post:8, topic:202973"]
I agree absolutely. I think the wording causes a false sense of urgency. You can leave a message saying: Call me back, I need to talk to you about a birthday. Call me back, I need to discuss so and so. Is still vague enough to respect a persons privacy in an office setting BUT reveals enough information so the person receiving the message isn't left with a false sense of urgency.

The 'call me back, it's important' line is manipulative. I think. :shrug:

[/quote]

I agree. There is vague (avoiding too much detail), and then there is vague (too little detail to honestly prioritize your call). In our household parlance, "urgent" means time-sensitive, while "important" means high-priority. People want to know both a) whether returning the call is urgent and b) whether it is important. As in, "I need to make this decision in the next hour: if you want to chime in, consider it urgent, but if not, it's not that important." Or, "I can't accomplish the important thing without you, but your response can wait a day or two."

For instance, "call me back as soon as you can, I don't have long to line up all the desserts I need for this thing" is more honest than "call me, it's important".

I have found that some people don't want to leave details (I need you to bring brownies) because too many other people don't return calls if they know you want something from them. They need to realize that people also catch on to the "vague" tactic, and learn to expect it to be the trap that it is. If someone is trying to get out of work, they'll figure out a way.

More to the point, if you know what the call is about, you can leave a meaningful answer if you get kicked to the caller's voicemail: "Sally, it's Jenny. If your meeting is on Tuesday or Thursday, I can come and bring brownies. If it is Wednesday, I'll have to drop them off earlier in the day, because I have to take Tommy to his baseball game later. But either way, I can supply some, if you need them."

The airplane call....that would have left me speechless. :mad: (I hope! :rolleyes:)
Some people do not know the difference between "important" and "has completely captured my attention for the moment."


#13

I think some people are intimidated to leave a message (even in this day) or perhaps the heat of the moment is over and they are embarrassed so they change the meaning of their call. For example, someone got into a fight with their significant other and want to talk so they say it is an emergency. When the call is finally returned, they are embarassed of their message so they come up with 'I need brownies'.

I am lucky. Whenever my mom leaves a message, the first thing she says is 'No emergency but I was thinking of going shopping and I just want you to know that blah blah blah'. What annoys me about my mom is 'If you get home in the next 10 minutes call me back'. Since I don't know what time she left the message, how should I know when to start the 10 minutes

I would politely tell these people 'Would it be possible to leave details of what you need on my voice mail so I can come up with an answer faster. For example, if you need brownies, I could have picked up the ingredients while I was out. But since I just found out now, I won't have time to go shopping'

CM


#14

I agree absolutely. I think the wording causes a false sense of urgency. You can leave a message saying: Call me back, I need to talk to you about a birthday. Call me back, I need to discuss so and so. Is still vague enough to respect a persons privacy in an office setting BUT reveals enough information so the person receiving the message isn't left with a false sense of urgency.

Not always an option. If everyone in the office knows it's my birthday next week and someone leaves a message saying 'we need to discuss A birthday', they're bright enough to put two and two together and know WHOSE birthday it's about.

And if I've not invited some of my co-workers to my party, the ones I've omitted will know and may be upset, or feel like they can gatecrash, or whatnot.


#15

This is, I think, a valid concern… I would think maybe the solution lies in the “It’s important but not an emergency” type of line? Perhaps (optionally) accompanied by a nonchalant or bright tone of voice that communicates naturally that, though the matter may be important, clearly and obviously no tragedy or major crisis has taken place. It’s tricky, I can agree, but maybe there’s some sort of middle ground to communicate the point that the matter is important enough so that the person will make an extra effort to not forget, but that it’s also not anything to be worried (as in, “is something wrong?” worried) about. But yeah, I see that there are possibly going to be times when no details at all can be given, so a person has to be careful about their wording.

Blessings in Christ,
KindredSoul


#16

[quote="Luvs2Learn, post:1, topic:202973"]
lately I have really been getting annoyed at peoples need to be so secretive regarding phone messages and emails and texts. I'll give a few examples. My sister in-law will call me every couple of months or so and leave a message saying "this is SIL please call me when you get this message, I have something I want to talk to you about."

or the lady from my daughters youth group who leaves me messages via email saying "I have something "I need to discuss with you, when is a good time to call?".

I get tons of messages like this from people. When I return the call it's usually something like, oh, little Tommy's birthday party is going to be 2 Saturdays from now can you guys make it? Or can you please bring brownies to the next meeting. or something along those lines.

Why can't people just leave me a message and say why they are calling or emailing and what they need. Why the big mystery. I'm a busy person. I don't have time for guessing games. Just leave me a message and I'll call you back. Let me know what it is you want in the message ,so when I do call you back I can have a response ready for you.

I'm just wondering if anyone else feels this way about mystery message callers/emailers./

[/quote]

You're right on the money. I've thought this very thing before. What's the point of saying "Hi, can you call me back please?" Why not actually use the voicemail?

In fact, I got so frustrated by this that I changed my voicemail message to: "You've reached the voicemail of Phil. Please leave a detailed message. Thank you"

you may notice I omitted "I'm not available to take your call right now" and "I will get back to you as soon as possible". because perhaps I saw you calling but chose not to answer, and maybe I will not get back to you.

even then though I think I got voicemail messages that were like "ha ha. your message seems really serious about detailed information. anyway, call me back!"


#17

Actually, certain people (like my family) I’d normally prefer they didn’t, not unless it was something really urgent and I had to call back right away. My home and mobile phones both have caller ID, so it’s not like I don’t know whose calls I’ve missed, or can’t or won’t call back!

And they know I know who’s called, I always greet them by name and/or apologise for missing their call. Unless they’ve programmed their phone so their number not to show up.

even then though I think I got voicemail messages that were like “ha ha. your message seems really serious about detailed information. anyway, call me back!”

Yeah, a lot of answering machines I call say something like ‘don’t waste your call, you may as well put it to good use by leaving a message’. Then again, a percentage will probably be telemarketers or the like - you definitely don’t want THEM leaving messages!


#18

That’s hysterical!! :smiley:


#19

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