Open Letters

An Open Letter to People Who Leave Voicemail

Dear People Who Leave Voicemail,


Don’t do it.

I know you’ve been trained to at the tone, but just hang up now. Do not leave a voicemail. If you are calling me right now and I am not answering just end it. For all our sakes. If you need to relay information to me that doesn’t require a response, go ahead and text or email me immediately after you hang up. That will suffice. A voicemail isn’t needed.

If you are a blood relative, MAYBE. Maybe you can leave me a voicemail. But then it better not be something like “Hi Annie it’s me calling, call me back when you can” because I can infer all that information from a “Missed Call” alert. If you need to say something like “Hi Annie I just ran into Ed McMahon at your front door bringing you all the lottery earnings you just won” then that absolutely warrants a lengthy voicemail, if not a carrier pigeon and perhaps also smoke signals and/or a fireworks display.

I mean, don’t you know that we are a rising generation of voicemail haters? We’re accustomed to looking for efficiency via technology.  In other words, do not make me go through the extremely annoying task of actively listening to a voicemail. Give me the opportunity to visually accept your message. That way I can do it while I’m on the phone or in a meeting or at a movie or out to dinner or on a bike ride or at the gym or in the car or grocery shopping or on a hike or at a concert or any of the other times when I am so very busy doing so many things at once and all of them on my phone and a voicemail is simply too disruptive.

I guess it’s not even that we hate voicemail or are driven by this desire for supreme efficiency, it’s just that we’re a rising generation of overstimulated ADHD tech-addicts and we only feel like we’re accomplishing something when we’re doing 17 things at once — and most of them online and on-the-go, so let me just stare at my smartphone like some sort of loner in peace!

Or am I just speaking for myself?

Whatever, just don’t leave me a voicemail.



Featured Image via The Love Collage

  • Asha Galindo

    I love this letter, I hate listening to voicemail almost as much as I hate leaving it.

  • Eloise Loxton

    I don’t understand why people have voicemail activated in the first place? If you don’t want messages left, don’t have voicemail!

  • Sepideh Zarrinkelk

    voicemail deactivation….it exists you know.

  • Rachel Upshaw

    My roommate has been known to tell guys who she gives her number to “If you leave me a voicemail, I won’t call you back.” (Shockingly they end up not calling at all.)

  • Jacki Peketz


  • Ana Rosa Alves

    Sending this to my mom right now.

  • Cassidy Cordes

    Generally, the only people I’ll leave a vm if they don’t answer are my husband and my mom and my mom doesn’t get them that often, only if it’s truly important that she calls me back as soon as she absolutely possibly can or if I know she’s having a bad day at work and I want to cheer her up. Other than that, you don’t answer, I won’t leave a message. If I need to tell/ask you something that needs a quick response, I’ll text.

  • Rachel K. Sparkman

    Really? I refuse to call people back unless they leave a voicemail, at least from numbers I don’t know. I also refuse to answer the phone if I don’t know the number, so voicemail is the only way to get my attention.

    • Ana Lugo

      Hey, I’m the same way! and I actually like listening to voicemails… there’s something so personal about hearing someone’s voice.. unless I don’t like them, then I neither answer the phone or listen to the voicemail..

    • Cindie Palumbo

      Same! If it’s a number I don’t recognize, and they don’t leave a voicemail, I assume that they either called a wrong number, or the message wasn’t important enough to merit a voicemail. I’d rather listen to a voicemail and find out it’s a wrong number than have to call the person back to find out who it is!

    • Kelly Kazmierski

      Agreed, I don’t return calls if people don’t leave a message. If it wasn’t important enough to leave a voicemail, it must not be important enough to warrant a return call.

      Why hang up and type a text when you’re already prepped to leave a voicemail? That’s way more work than necessary.

      People must hate hearing other peoples’ voices now. No! No voice! Just words on a screen please! Voicemail is too personal and real!

    • Tara Friesen

      I do this too! If it’s not important enough for a voicemail than it’s obviously not important enough for me to call you back about.

      I do giv exceptions to my mom and dad. I’ll call them back without a voicemail. But no one else! :)

      I do agree that pointless voicemails are dumb. Just the other day, I got a voicemail on my work phone from a guy who essentially said “I’m trying to get ahold of someone about X, but no one is answering.” Then ended his call as if he was ticked that we weren’t answering our phones – on a Saturday in an office.

  • Anonymous

    thank you!! lol so true. I saw this on pinterest on an ecard it made me roffle.

    • Annie Stamell

      wait you saw this on an ecard? link!!!

  • Jennie Ross

    i hate voicemail and i never check mine. i will forever have that damn notification on my blackberry background.

    • Kimberly Nappi

      My Blackberry says 19 as of now and it’s never changing. My family is like “Why is your voicemail full all the time?!” So you can’t leave one, duh.

  • Elisabeth Miller

    I generally hate voice mail, but it’s good for numbers I don’t know, like if it’s my credit card company telling me my card’s been stolen.

  • Jaime Cass

    1. deactivate it!!!
    2. sometimes your phone doesn’t log the call, because cellphones aren’t perfect, therefore a voicemail let’s me know you called–I usually never listen straight through, just enough to get the gist of who called/why.
    3. memorize the button that deletes them (usually it’s 7) and just hit it constantly after you hear the voice.
    4. it’s good for unknown numbers and number you don’t recognize in your caller ID

  • Mallory Wagner

    The only type of voice mail I HATE is the ‘Call me back!’ voice mails. My dad is a repeat offender. I don’t really even mind the pocket dialed voice mails because it’s a little amusing.

  • Taylor Coil

    Love. Emailing to my mother.

  • Ashley Lynn Cook

    See it drives me nuts when strange numbers or people I don’t normally talk to that often call and DON’T leave a voicemail….cause then I go nuts trying to figure out what they wanted! LOL! Now if it’s someone I talk to all the time and they leave a short “Call me back!” message…yeah, I erase it before I’m done listening to it 😛

  • Jacqui Samus Downs

    it actually makes me crazy when people (especially unknown numbers!!) don’t leave me a voicemail. i pay for it so people can leave me messages, otherwise I wouldn’t have it at all.

    • Sarah LeFevere

      You pay for your voicemail? I thought it came free with all phones…

  • Malinda Wallace

    I don’t care who it is, if I miss your call and you don’t take the 30 secconds it takes to leave a voicemail, then I’m not going out of my way to call you back because it’s obviously not important anyway.
    JUST LEAVE A MESSAGE. It drives me insane. My brother never listens to voicemail, so he’ll return my call and i’m just like, you know, you could have totally saved yourself the time if you’d listened to your messages because it would have given you all the info you needed. I don’t even bother anymore so I don’t have to repeat myself.

  • Kelsey Fort

    I love the app HeyTell! It solves this whole dilemma.

  • Megan Kenyonski

    Some people don’t have email or texting. Personally, I won’t call the person back unless they leave a voicemail or if I know it’s my mother who called me. If you don’t like voicemail, why not deactivate it? Voicemail will be around for a long time, so just get over it.

  • Joseph Sames

    This sentiment assumes that everyone has a smartphone, and that everyone has a cellphone. Ya know, there are still people in the world who don’t have constant access to emails, or even texting capability. A few of my friends don’t have cellphones and the only way for me to get word from them when I am not available is through a voicemail. I love getting voicemails. I hate it when people call and don’t leave a message. If they don’t leave a message, I assume they don’t want me to call them back.

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