Monday, September 28, 2009

Phone Phobia

I admit it. When my phone rings in Switzerland, I get scared. Do I say a friendly English "hello?" Do I bark my last name into the phone like I'm pissed? Do I brace for Swiss German and prepare to ask if the caller speaks High German? Will all this worry be pointless because the caller is actually my mom?

If you have ever lived in a country where phone etiquette--not to mention the local language--is just a little bit different, read on. Maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to relate to my column in October's Swiss News .

And if you have a humiliating phone story, please leave a comment. It just might make me feel better.


Anneliese Mostert said...

Great article. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with this phobia. Luckily no humiliating phone stories yet, but I think that's because I share your phone phobia and keep my number top secret and also try to only answer when I really have to!

Chantal said...

Glad you can relate. I think what's most scary about the phone thing is that you can't use gestures or facial expressions to save you. And bad static never helps German comprehension either.

Kathy said...

Loved this article. My problem is calling an office where I don't know the person. Somehow I can never parse out the name and always have to ask again. Awkward! I'm a big fan of email appointments.

Chantal said...

The name thing is definitely the worst part. I always miss the name because no matter how long I've lived here I still can't get used to people barking it at me the minute they pick up the phone!

Lori said...

Oh, mine's kind of embarrassing, but it happened right here at home. Caller ID showed husband's company name. I picked up and said a very enthusiastic, "Hi! What's up?" It wasn't husband. It was husband's coworker, who was a little shocked. She didn't recover well. I apologized and said, "You know, that caller ID thing is great, but only if you look at the number." We both snickered, though she was less than amused.

Good thing I didn't greet her the way I usually greet him "Hey there, hot stuff." :)

Chantal said...

That's funny, Lori! Goes to show a bad phone call can happen in any country--even your own!

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