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Old 19th Nov 2023, 4:53 pm   #1
G6Tanuki
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Default Death of the phone call...

Article in the Telegraph today, titled "54 billion minutes of silence: the astonishing death of the phone call".

[Though they have a sort-of paywall, Firefox and Noscript happily defeat it - I'm sure similar tools in other browsers can do like likewize]

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/l...te-guide-2023/

Some interesting out-takes:

"Ofcom figures show that total fixed and mobile call volumes have dropped dramatically in the past decade, from 225 billion minutes in 2012 to 202 billion in 2022. At our garrulous, “It’s good to talk” peak in 2008, a sweet spot when everyone had both a mobile phone and a landline (and hadn’t yet developed a fear of picking up either), Britons spent 256 billion minutes on the phone. That’s 54 billion minutes less talking now, every year. 54 billion minutes more silence annually; 103,000 years – countless lifetimes’ worth of chat, gone. "

Yet "A 2020 Ofcom study found people feel more connected than ever, believing they now “communicate more, and more easily, than in the past”.""

"Ofcom says landline calls have fallen by 20 per cent year on year"

Personally, I can't remember when I last initiated a voice-call, whether on landline, mobile, or via one of the ubiquitous Voice-over-Internet apps.

I spend more time talking on HF radio than via the 'phone!
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 5:27 pm   #2
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

It's a shame and to me it doesn't make much sense. A phone call will get something done in seconds eg 'Hi it's Andy, fancy one in the Cock & Trumpet tonight?' 'Yes, see you there', one call, done and dusted in less than ten seconds. Going to and fro with texts, waiting for an answer, wondering if they've received it etc can take all day! Perhaps I'm just an old-timer...
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 5:41 pm   #3
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

Personally, I dislike the intrusiveness and expectation-of-immediate-answers of phone calls; also as I get older I find it harder to remember the important aspects discussed in a long phone-call.

[indeed, when I was working I would hastily scribble handwritten notes then type them up and email the caller a precis of what we had discussed and what I thought were the important points, asking them to confirm that this was their understanding of the conversation and that we agreed on subsequent actions].

Given that I have four separate diaries - two different [one private, one shared] online, one on my cellphone and one on the bathroom(!) wall, I really hate the "What are you doing next thursday morning?" intrusive voice-calls where the caller expects me to drop what I'm doing and give them an immediate answer.

"I honestly don't know - I'm [in the car|at the vets with the dog|in the bath],I'll email you when I've checked the diaries" being my usual response.

Texts, Emails, WhatsApp or suchlike are a lot less intrusive and will get you a more-positive response, when it's convenient for me to aggregate the necessary information for an informed and valid reply.

The last person who called me on a 'landline' was my mother, who went QRT a decade back; she still had this idea that calling mobile numbers was horribly expensive. In the end we programmed her [landline] phone with family-members' numbers so she could call us with a single button-press from the memorised numbers, with names [Me, my brother, her sisters, my mephews, the doctor, the care-company] - even in 2010 most of the numbers were *not* landlines.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 6:34 pm   #4
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

I'm slightly different, I detest emails and get moaned at for not answering them promptly, mainly because I can't be bothered to check them and probably only do it once a week. It's like contacting companies regarding availability of certain component parts etc. I always use the phone to contact them if possible and always advise others to do the same. Some of these one man businesses must get snowed under with emails from around the world asking stupid questions regarding some part that they may or may not want valued at only a couple of quid or so. How often do you hear these folk moaning about not receiving a reply, well if the poor bloke answered all the time wasting emails for such things, he'd never get anything else done in a day and would probably end up going out of business.

Having said that, phone calls do annoy me when I'm not expecting them, so sometimes I look at the caller display and decide whether I feel like answering the call or not, sometimes ringing the caller back when it's more convenient (for me)! It sounds like I'm a right old misery, but actually quite the opposite in person. I fairly regularly use a CB radio to talk to pals that have the facility, and do this as well as, or instead of, the phone. We find it very convenient and never get any grief (in this area anyway) when using this mode of chatting - it's all very civilised round here. Having said all that, just like the phone, I only use the radio when I feel in the mood.

I now have to admit that this week I've done a terrible thing. Relatives called round and finally persuaded me to open a Facebook account, something that I've always been against and avoided, although I've often thought that I'm probably missing out on certain things by being anti-Facebook. There used to be an ordinary forum for the make of classic caravan that I have and I was a member of it, but it went to the wall when the owner died and apparently didn't leave any password details with any of his relatives or friends to keep the place running. They do however have a Facebook group that I used to be able to read and keep up with without being registered on Facebook. This was fine for just being able to brows and read the posts etc., but then for some reason it went 'private' and I couldn't read it anymore. So now I may reluctantly join the group now that I'm on Facebook. I like my privacy, so I haven't used my full actual name or actual correct birth date or year of birth as a protection against possible identity theft. there's no particular secret about these this except I'm not prepared to put all this information out there for all and sundry to harvest at will.

As for the future of phone calls, it is a dying art. My recent router upgrade now means that I can no longer dial out with my vintage phones. I know I can get a 'converter' to make them still work, but I can't really be bothered anymore. The other thing that I've also recently done is to ditch my old PAYG phone and bought a brand new all singing smart phone and taken out a contract on calls and data, so I'm now even thinking of ditching my landline and broadband altogether and perhaps get one of these 'dongle' things to enable me to use the new phone in conjunction with my PC.

I'm starting to move into the 21st century at last...it's a terrible thing!
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 6:53 pm   #5
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

I've never been a big one for phone chatting, but I don't think that's unusual for men of any age. It's always been first and foremost a female activity. When I used to call home 45 years ago my dad would always hand over to my mum to carry out the conversation. Young women in particular have largely moved to various forms of internet messaging and video calling over the last 20 years.
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Old 19th Nov 2023, 7:23 pm   #6
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

I must be the odd one out, I enjoy regular long chats with various friends scattered around the country on my land-line.
Sadly at least three I was in regular contact with on radio/radar topics have died in recent years!

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Old 20th Nov 2023, 5:08 am   #7
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew2 View Post
It's a shame and to me it doesn't make much sense. A phone call will get something done in seconds eg 'Hi it's Andy, fancy one in the Cock & Trumpet tonight?' 'Yes, see you there', one call, done and dusted in less than ten seconds. Going to and fro with texts, waiting for an answer, wondering if they've received it etc can take all day! Perhaps I'm just an old-timer...
Nice to see i am not the only one,i hate texts,messages etc.Good old one to one communication.Not an annoyance if you dont want to answer at that moment just ignore it,if it is important they will ring again. Graham.
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 6:06 am   #8
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

I like mobile phones - you can turn them off and remove all annoyances and there's no landline here for them to try that route either
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 6:55 am   #9
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew2 View Post
It's a shame and to me it doesn't make much sense. A phone call will get something done in seconds eg 'Hi it's Andy, fancy one in the Cock & Trumpet tonight?' 'Yes, see you there', one call, done and dusted in less than ten seconds. Going to and fro with texts, waiting for an answer, wondering if they've received it etc can take all day! Perhaps I'm just an old-timer...
I'm exactly the same as you, even if someone sends me a text I'll ring back rather than texting, my wife is different, besides texting if she rings a friend who lives about 100 yards away she can be on the phone for the first free hour to invite her over for coffee.

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Old 20th Nov 2023, 8:16 am   #10
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

I actually prefer messaging over voice calls, although I agree that many times voice calls can get the job done much quicker. I dislike and avoid facebook and the likes at all costs, and I refuse to use Whatsapp. Nevertheless, Telegram and Signal are the two exceptions I can tolerate, for either messaging, voice calls or voice messages.

I guess that my appetite for messaging is mainly due to the many hours (years?) spent in IRC (that I still use - a lot less people nowadays, but a lot more meaningful/useful conversations).

The preferred method of communication for someone would be the one that felt more practical, useful and meaningful at some point in life - and I guess that's totally fine.

As the world moves on to newer ways of communication, I'm fine in trying new things, as long as I don't need to "sell" my personal information to use them. I will also oppose being assimilated by any kind of borg!

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Old 20th Nov 2023, 9:24 am   #11
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

We regularly talk by voice to our kids.

Our Son phones us on a regular basis. He's based in Peterborough, but travels usually in the UK on business - and will phone us for a long chat maybe twice a week.

And our daughter lives in Australia, and although the time difference makes phone chatting more difficult (although we do that every few weeks) most of our contact is via our family WhatsAoo. And video chatting using WhatsApp or one of several other video chatting methods.

But I regularly email friends too.

I'm absolutely not anti any method of communicating. And we have a landline, two mobile phones, two laptops and two desktops. We use whatever method of communication necessary.

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Old 20th Nov 2023, 10:31 am   #12
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

G6 in post #3 says he dislikes the intrusiveness of phone calls - a sentiment that I agree with - and prefers to reply to his messages when convenient. Again, agreed.

However things have gone full circle. Many people I know (including close friends) get the inevitable 'ping' on their phone to signify a message, dinner photo or amusing cat video and the responder simply has to look - and respond - immediately, whether chatting, eating or whatever, and you've lost them in interworld for the next few minutes.
And then the response to that reaction elicits another response, and so on ad infinitum...
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 10:35 am   #13
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

I would not mind mobile phones so much, if I could actually understand what the other party was saying. The audio on voip can be atrocious!
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 10:51 am   #14
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

Sent for supermarket items this morning I couldn't see them. Tried phoning my wife on whatsapp but her phone must have been in some other part of the house. Got through fine on the landline.

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Old 20th Nov 2023, 11:24 am   #15
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

The only calls on my landline come from scamming scum, of which there seems to be an endless supply.

I made a couple of phone calls this year: one to cancel an insurance policy and the other to arrange a flu jab.

Sounds like money well spent.

I well remember the deep joy of having an NTL Hell phone number where the previous user's name was still in the directories.

It wouldn't have mattered if he hadn't owed money left right & centre.

It took the intervention of Ofcom to get his name removed after I finally lost my rag with some debt collection drone.
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 12:20 pm   #16
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
Personally, I dislike the intrusiveness and expectation-of-immediate-answers of phone calls; also as I get older I find it harder to remember the important aspects discussed in a long phone-call ...

Texts, Emails, WhatsApp or suchlike are a lot less intrusive and will get you a more-positive response, when it's convenient for me to aggregate the necessary information for an informed and valid reply ...
I'm with you on this. My wife's very poorly at the moment and communications with and between the hospital doctors and specialist nurses and diagnostic/treatment providers are critical. The NHS seems to rely very heavily on phone calls so contacts can easily be missed and there are no written records of the information that's passed across or the decisions which are reached. In many cases e-mail would be hugely better. In some the urgency of a phone call is vital. Horses for courses, so to speak.

Cheers,

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Old 20th Nov 2023, 4:28 pm   #17
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

I don't think we should be surprised that Ofcom figures show that total fixed and mobile call volumes have dropped dramatically in the past decade, from 225 billion minutes in 2012 to 202 billion in 2022. (Between 2021 and 2022 alone, the number of minutes spent making phone calls in the UK decreased by 9.2%).

In 2012 while 66% of 16-24 year-olds had a mobile phone, only 5% of people in the 55+ age bracket owned one, many of which didn’t have a ‘QUERTY’ keypad, so to send a text meant using the numerical keypad as is the number 1 key = ABC, Key 2 =DEF etc. Utterly laborious, so not only did far fewer adults have a ‘mobile phone’, few of those who had one sent texts. In 2012 a mobile phone was just that – a ‘phone’ rather than a ‘smartphone’. Hence, many adults used landlines, and some still do, mostly I guess those who don't have smartphones or if they do, don't use them.

Most adults in 2012 who had a mobile phone will have been on PAYG rather than on a contract, and often only had a mobile for ‘emergencies’. (just as a reducing number still do). Smartphones nowadays have scores of apps, allow access to internet, and in many locations can be used on free wi-fi – on buses, trains, in cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, hospitals, and wi-fi hotspots, enabling other apps to be used.

Smartphone user statistics show that as of 2023, 98% of all adults aged 16-24 in the UK have a smartphone and half of all nine-year-olds in the UK own one. Among the older age groups, 86% of those aged 55-64 owned a smartphone device and 80% aged 65 and above.

https://www.uswitch.com/mobiles/stud...le-statistics/

Everyone's circumstances differ, but just focusing on the 'keeping in touch with friends and family' aspect rather than the much wider functionality of smartphone apps, I would say that with texts and Whats App, overall, far more contacts are made nowadays than were ever made by landline phone calls, and for the reducing number who still use emails, you can send and receive those anywhere on a smartphone too.

My wife and I, (she more than me!), are in touch on Whats App with out two sons, their wives, and our three granddaughters (one 25, twins aged 22), several times a week. When the girls were at university it would have been impolite and intrusive to have pestered them by phone, but if we sent Whats Apps, they'd reply when it was convenient - still do. (When they're not on Instagram, Tik-Tok, or whatever!).

We also have a Whats App family group so all nine of us can be in touch about such things as Christmas arrangements or other family events and news. In the New Year, the twins are touring South America for three months with their boyfriends. We can keep in touch via Whats App and face-to-face on Zoom. Why would we want to intrude by making phone calls when they're on holiday in a different time zone? (For unlimited phone calls and texts, 5GB of data and roaming in Europe it costs £12.00 a month for my phone, and £9.00 (25% discount), for my wife's - £21.00 total, plus VAT).

Whereas with landline calls, the recipient has to be at home to receive the call, on a smartphone the sender and recipient can be anywhere – not even in the UK. But in my view it’s intrusive to make a call when you can send a text or Whats App because you don’t know where people are or what they’re doing. If you send a text, if it’s convenient and they want to chat, they can ring you back.

What I do find bothersome is people who have a smartphone but won’t use it. For example, the village in which I live has expanded this last 15 years by several thousands, though the infrastructure hasn’t kept pace. There were three pharmacies – now just one. With an aging population this puts pressure on Doctors’ surgeries and the pharmacy.

To try to make things more efficient for everyone, repeat medication can be ordered online then the doctor's surgery will automatically send the prescription electronically to the pharmacy, who will then send a text message to the patient to say when their medication is ready for collection. It all works fine – or rather it would do if there weren’t so many people who don’t/won’t use it.

So, every day, there is a queue at the pharmacy 20 deep, out into the street, all day long.

Half those in the queue have gone to the doctors and caused a queue there to order the repeat medication, then gone to the pharmacy to say: ‘Are my tablets in yet’? "Do you have a smartphone, and have you had a text to say they’re ready for collection?" 'Yes, I’ve got a phone but I don’t do texts'. The pharmacist goes to check and comes back to say “we only got the prescription yesterday, and it won’t be ready till Friday". 'OK, I’ll call back then'.

When eventually you get to the counter and say you’ve had a text, it takes two minutes to get served. These time-waters aren’t frail people – they're mostly aged 65 – 80. Ironically, they’re the ones who moan about "not enough staff, NHS is going to the wall - same with the doctors", but they’re part of the problem. And in the queue waiting to be served will be people who just want some over the counter items.

Moan over – I’ve just come back from the pharmacy, 40 minutes of this nonsense. 12 in the queue in the shop – 10 outside in the rain. So, 39 minutes in the queue – one minute to get served.

'Smartphone' is really a misnomer - there are just so many other apps, most of which are free. Consider how useful the 'what 3 words? app might be in an emergency, when you're not sure of your exact location. The app divides the world into 3m squares and given each square a unique combination of three words. what3words addresses are easy to say and share, and as accurate as GPS coordinates.

Just quote the three words to the emergency services and they can exactly locate you.

https://what3words.com/products/what3words-app

Sorry - rambling and dribbling again.
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 6:36 pm   #18
Craig Sawyers
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

They key is to get the NHS app and order repeat prescriptions that way, a week before you are going run out. Then wait for the text.

The problem comes when you come to get registered with the app. It involves taking an image of you face and uploading it. Then it asks you to take an image of your passport to make sure your face is the same as that on your passport. Then it asks to send you a message to your email, to which you have to reply, then write down a four digit code. It then asks you to take a video of yourself saying the four digit code.

There were other steps in this crazy process.

My wife and I were in stitches. "Next it's going to ask you to put your head in a bowl of cold custard!"

But the point is, this is all a bit of a laugh and a joke when you are merely 67 and have spent a life in high technology. But if you are technology challenged and/or older/much older - this is a major barrier to getting the NHS app. And whichever bone headed IT group who put together such an difficult process ought to hang their heads in shame at not considering the fact that most of us who end up on repeat prescriptions are of an age. I know my mother (if she was still alive) would certainly not have been remotely able to do the process - particularly not having a smart phone or a computer.


Anyway, it might just be possible that the queues at the pharmacy comprise people who have just given up with the endless process of getting registered with the NHS app. Or don't have the tech necessary to do so.

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Old 20th Nov 2023, 7:28 pm   #19
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

Even though I say that the phone ringing suddenly when I'm doing something else I find annoying, when I do answer the phone and it's a call I want to take from someone I know, I can chat on with the best of 'em. A classic example of this was soon after my last post on here yesterday, I got a phone call from an old mate who I met through radio about 40 years ago. When we both decided we'd got to finish the call because we both had things that we needed to get done, I happened to notice the length of call time as we hung up and it was 1 hour and 38 minutes - and someone said that blokes can't 'yap on'! He rang from his mobile (doesn't have a land line at all) so he could go over the 1 hour limit without incurring a charge.

Most of the folk I talk to on the 'radio' are also reasonably good talkers. There's one in particular, the chap that passes a lot of random electronic stuff on to me who generally uses a fairly modern radio that has a 'time-out' feature on transmit set to 5 minutes and he regularly times out on his overs when talking to me - he calls it his 'waffleometer'! I always laugh and say that I don't have any of this modern time out nonsense on my old school radio...get those finals warmed up is what I say!

Regarding text messaging, I find texts annoying and luckily most folk know this and so I rarely receive them and when I do I tend to phone the person back to reply, as it's much easier, although I do sometimes reply by text if I don't want to get into a possibly lengthy conversation, which I admit I sometimes tend to do.

Notifications for this, that and the other I would find irritating, so these are always disabled. There's nothing worse than someone coming to your house and as you're talking to them their phone keeps 'pinging' and they're fiddling about with it rather than interacting with what you're saying - I have to stop myself from being rude and saying something I shouldn't in these situations. I also get very few nuisance calls, hardly any on the land line and none ever on my mobile, so I must be doing something right - or perhaps wrong? That may change if I start using this new mobile phone too much...we'll have to see, although the way I do things I don't envisage many, if any, problems.

I agree with David regarding those who are capable, but won't use modern technology regarding prescriptions and the pharmacy. If you need a repeat prescription it's so easy to just tick several boxes 'on-line', where an estimated time of arrival is given and a text then tells you that it's ready to collect at your local pharmacy. Unfortunately, in my local area the system does fall down in that the text message thing can be unreliable, but that's all down to the competence of the staff at the local pharmacy, which is soon sorted by telling them that there's no point in having a system in place if they're not going to use it properly and remember to send a text when necessary (proper staff training etc.). I know I've already said that I'm a bit 'anti' of some modern technology when it comes to all the social distractions such as Facebook etc., but it does have it's uses when used sensibly and when it comes to important things such as on-line prescriptions and test results etc., then I'm the first to get on and use it when needed. In some ways it's strange that I've been a bit reluctant to use modern social media, seeing I could probably be regarded as one of the original pioneers of what was regarded as the 'first' social media system, as in CB radio, when it was on AM and illegal in the UK, but I suppose that's just an 'age thing'.

I still reiterate that when dealing with a small business regarding the availability or otherwise of an electronic component or similar, that a quick phone call, probably taking just a minute or two will get the job done a lot quicker than lengthy emailing, which is likely to get ignored by a busy one man business and just leads to grief and frustration in the long term...they say "it's good to talk"!
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Old 20th Nov 2023, 7:39 pm   #20
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Default Re: Death of the phone call...

My real dislike of phone calls is the idea that I should drop everything I'm doing and pick up the phone. That always seemed intrusive and - to be honest - a rather arrogant assumption on behalf of the caller - that their communication was more important than what I was doing. Indeed, on occasions when I had visitors, if the phone rang I'd ignore it - they might say "Aren't you going to answer that?" and I'd reply "no, I'm already busy talking to you!".

For the last decade or so when I still had a landline, I left it with the ringer muted and calls would go to the voicemail, which I might check once a week if I could be bothered. 99% of the calls were junk.

Texts, Emails, WhatsApp messages etc I can answer when *I* want to.
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