Friday, June 27, 2014

Retro Etiquette for Teens and Telephones

Dick Clark's Teen Etiquette Advice Book

Regarding fighting over the phone, from the chapter Alexander Graham Bell:

I certainly haven't looked into the situation very deeply, but one friend of mine maintains that people fight more easily on the telephone then they do in person. There's a kind of sense to his remarks, however, but I find it hard to slough off. Since what you say on the telephone is not accompanied -- for the benefit of the person listening -- with the hand motions, eye motions, or lip motions that also communicate what you're feeling, there's a big danger that you will be misunderstood. Hunch your shoulders, look dismayed, and say, "But I told you I can't go to the movies tomorrow!" And what you're actually saying is, "Much as I'd really like to be with you, I don't see any way that I can make it, and I feel worse than you do about having to refuse the date." The hunched shoulders and look of dismay are missing from the telephone impression; what your friend might receive can sound pretty much like this:  "Look, I've got other things to do, and you keep nagging me about this unimportant movie date. Get off my back!" The old adage, think before you speak, is pretty important anytime, especially when you're on the telephone. 
The old adage, think before you speak, is pretty important anytime, especially when you're on the telephone. 
My friend also says -- and again I find it hard to disagree -- that people are bolder on the telephone than they are in person. In one way, that's good it sure is easier to invite a gorgeous girl to the junior prom by telephone then in person. If you've been scared that she'll turn you down. But in another way, it makes for heap of trouble I think we've all been guilty, at one time or another, of telling someone off via the Alexander Graham Bell in terms that we wouldn't dare use in a face to face meeting. Is so?
Now that's something to think on while you're waiting for your next dial tone!  From Dick Clark's 1963 etiquette advice book for teens, "To Goof or Not To Goof"  
Because you can't see people's faces by telephone (at present that is, but science promises to remedy this drawback very soon) your voice and what you say are very important.

Basic Manners ~
On the Telephone


Telephones are not walkie talkies for barking orders and emergency messages. When you play or received a telephone call, it's almost like greeting a guest at the door. Because you can't see people's faces by telephone (at present that is, but science promises to remedy this drawback very soon) your voice and what you say are very important.

When you answer the phone -- Say "Hello" in a pleasant voice. Don't say "Yes?" impatiently, or -- like a junior butler --- "Jimmy Jones' residence!"

If the call is for you, say "This is Jimmy speaking"; not "This is me."

If the call is for someone else in the family, say "Just a moment, please, and I'll call him." Then don't give out with an ear splitting scream, but go find the other person and tell him he's wanted on the phone.

When you are called to the phone, start by saying "Hello," instead of "Who is it?"

When the call is for someone who isn't home, say "My mother isn't at home; may I take a message?" Never hesitate to ask for the spelling of someone's name. Say, "Will you please spell your name for me?" if you're not sure of it.
    
Science's remedy to the drawback of not being able to see people's faces over the phone ~ the videophone.
When the doorbell rings when you're talking on the phone, say "Excuse me," answer the door and --- if they are friends -- invite them in, then return to the phone and tell your caller you'll have to call him back later.

The person who places a call should be the first to say goodbye. If you find this difficult at times, try saying "I have to finish my homework now" or "I have to go now; someone else wants to use the phone." You should limit the length of your telephone calls to five or six minutes and call your friends at reasonable times: never before breakfast or after 9 p.m. unless it's an emergency.
From "Stand up, Shake hands, Say 'How Do You Do' ~ What boys need to know about today's manners"