Open LettersAn Open Letter to People Who Leave VoicemailAnnie Stamell

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

  • Tammy Tibbetts

    This is why I use Google Voice!!

  • Lorena Martin

    i find it hilarious when my aunt leaves me a voicemail where she swears i’m screening it, ‘mija, its me ur tia. pick up..*silence*…pick up mija….*silence*…are you there???..*silence*..guess not, okay call me. love ju.’ ughhh!!! REALLY!?!? lol

  • Melissa Lenz

    I think voicemail is important because email and text cannot relay tone…. Is it meant to be funny? Sarcastic? Happy? Why the lack of desire for actual communication …. ?

  • Jeff Estep

    If I don’t know the number or don’t feel like talking at the moment, leave a dang voice mail. If you don’t, you will not be hearing back from me until you call me when I know who you are or feel like talking. If your too lazy to say, “Hey, I’m So-And-So calling about Blah-Blah,” then I’m too lazy to call you back. You don’t deserve my time and can bugger off. I will, however, make the exception that if you text me right after you call AND TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT, then I’ll call you. If I just get a message that says, “Call me,” I’ll probably ignore it.

  • Alexandra Mykita

    Psh, PLEASE leave me the voicemail. If your call is so unimportant that you don’t even bother to leave a message, I’m not calling you back. If you have something to say, say it. A missed call alert is a mystery that I have to deal with. A voicemail is an explanation. I’d much rather know what’s going on. If I have time to read your text, I have time to listen to your voicemail. It’s ridiculous to me that one is more convenient than the other.

  • Jennifer Nowlin Spera

    What’s really wrong with this letter is that we are teaching people that caller ID is supposed to be the new voicemail and we can never turn our phones off. I love my smartphone but I also love having time to myself by putting my phone in airplane mode. I don’t want to be expected to always be in constant contact with people. I want people to know that I am sometimes doing other things than waiting for phone calls or text messages to come through and they will just have to wait for me to call them back. I also NEVER apologize for missing someone’s call.

    • Corrie Angell

      Absolutely!! I put my phone in airplane mode when I’m at the gym, or taking a nap, or just whenever I don’t want to be bothered. It also saves my battery!!

  • Lauren Nespoli

    I agree and also disagree, lol. If someone calls me and doesn’t leave a voicemail I get annoyed because I want to know why they’re calling me. I prefer to know what they want before I talk to them so that way I can make up my mind if I’m gonna say yes to an invitation or whatever. If I’m put on the spot in an actual phonecall then I’ll probably just say yes and regret it later or say no and regret that later. But if I hear in a message what the person wants then I can think about it and decide what I want to say before I get back to them. Although, that whole issue could be eliminated if they just text instead of calling!

  • Keryn Josephine

    Wow, you wouldn’t think that someone finding voicemails tedious would offend so many people!
    I was not a voicemail fan until I got google voice. Not only does it transcribe it into text, but you can click on the singular voicemail you want to hear, rather than rifling through them all. And the transcription is usually hilariously inaccurate. So it’s fun to read those too!

  • Amber Rico

    I love voice mail, people that don’t leave voice mails when they call suck the big one. why have a phone if you don’t want to hear someone’s voice. It is easier to listen to voice mail when doing certain tasks than cue up an email or try to read a text. Your caller who is probably calling because it is most convenient way for them to reach you at that moment why have to open up an email or text you something that might be too long and drawn out for a text. You sound pretty selfish.

    • Amber Rico

      that was supposed to say why have them open up an email… not have to. Another reason voice mail is superior no typos!

  • Derrick R Alba

    Voicemail is probably the best way to communicate with the baby boomer generation, if they missed your call. Sure some of them have become savvy enough to sport iphones and/or other various smartphones and use e-mail and text, but most are of the mindset of having phones just to “do stuff that phones can do” like make calls and leave/listen to voicemails.

    Nevermind that you can get a smartphone for $49 or less, they would rather have that flip phone with no internet and no keyboard because “I never text”. Even more frustrating is that the younger boomers are still a good 10-15 years from retirement, so the need to send and keep up with your voicemail in the workplace through the next decade is a very real possibility. =p

  • Samantha Alice

    I am even starting to hate the sound of my phone ringing. Jeez just text or email please? then I can deal with the information at my leisure and not have to actually form coherent replies on the spot!!

  • Lucia Cabrera

    Love this letter! It’s all so true. When I see the “1 voicemail” message on my phone I think…why cant they just text me…you know I’ll respond sooner if you do…LOL

  • Chloe Sparks

    I think this letter is ranting just to rant. Voicemail is handy and if you find listening to a voicemail so tedious then I would hate to see your approach to something important and time consuming. Because those situations exist. I am not saying you are lazy but come on…voicemail is not as bad as you are implying. It is free on most phones, takes less time to access than an email account. You don’t have to rely on a data plan, you can hear the tone in the persons voice so miscommunication is cut down and you can usually say more words in a minute than you can type so it can be a faster alternative to sending several texts. To each there own I say…but there are bigger things that require smaller rants.

  • Scott Jackson

    Google Voice, people. If somebody leaves you a VM, it gets transcribed into a text. Yes, it’s not very accurate if the person calling doesn’t enunciate properly (or has a thick irish accent like my boss) … but it’s close enough so that you can get the jist of the message and decide to just call the person back, or listen to the message for clarification. It’s the perfect marriage of technology and old school phone etiquette.

  • Kelli Crawford

    It makes me sad that people don’t want to hear the voices of their loved ones. I refuse to text anyone. It’s a big waste of time to text back and forth a conversation that could be had in less than 2 minutes. Technology is removing the personal touch from our lives. So if your mom, your best friend or boyfriend wants to leave a voicemail message just enjoy the sound of their voice or their laugh because someday they won’t be around and you’ll wish you could hear them say your name one more time.

  • Jordan Moeny

    I barely ever talk on the phone in general, but I typically leave voicemails just to be on the safe side. I once let a friend borrow my phone in an attempt to call a ride home, but she had to try several times before she remembered her sister’s number. Half an hour later I got a call from one of the wrong numbers asking who this was. I think a lot of people (especially older people) automatically respond to missed calls if there’s no message.
    I, on the other hand, barely even respond to missed calls if there is a message, but I just hate talking on the phone.

  • Jane Provinsal

    I hate voicemail. I have some saved & every time I have a new one I have to go back through all of them and it is tedious and annoying. Usually the person who left the new one calls back before I can do this so it doesn’t actually make sense to leave the first one. I hate hate hate talking on the phone (but I love love love writing letters) so I prefer no one call me. I don’t answer the phone if a number I don’t know calls it but most people know not to call me. I love the episode of Parks & Rec where Ron Swanson gets sick of the public contacting him & destroys his cell phone. Tom Haverford asks “What if it was a friend.” Ron replies “My friends know I have a strict no-call policy.” LOVE it. I prefer a text and if necessary I will call you back and talk. I find most voicemail messages tend to be full of unnecessary chatter when the info is something that could be sent as a text.

    • Julie Mad Maggie Roulain

      maybe get a new phone. most phones now don’t make you listen to “every” message. you can just go to the voice mail you want, click and listen.

    • Corrie Angell

      Crazy! Your voicemail doesn’t sort the new VMs from the old? Mine does – otherwise that WOULD be irritating!!

  • Julie Mad Maggie Roulain

    seems like you’re just lazy if you can’t take the time to listen to a voicemail. really? you can’t just take 3 minutes to acknowledge someone who wants to relay information to you because you’re so trendy and young? .. lame.

  • Daniela Rogers

    I am still a believer in using voicemail because sometimes you know you Have got to call someone back,but you really don’t WANT to talk to them so I pray for voicemail so I can leave info on message duty done no lengthy convo to take up my time.

  • Corrie Angell

    I don’t mind voicemail. If someone leaves me a message saying they’re thinking about me, and nothing else, to me that IS important. Because I like my friends. I like my family. I want to hear what they have to say. If it’s more convenient for them to leave a voicemail, great. If it’s more convenient for them to text, great. I don’t care. It’s not all about me. I’m not the only person in my life. If I were, then no one would be leaving me voicemail. With an attitude like this, I wouldn’t worry that anyone would care enough to even bother calling, let alone leaving voicemail.
    Speaking of efficiency: When I’m already ON the phone, it IS more efficient to leave a voicemail rather than hang up & text or email. Maybe MY time is important too. Glad this chick isn’t my friend. Sheesh.

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