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by Abigail Van Buren

How to Best Douse the Flames in an Overheated Phone Call

DEAR ABBY: Is it OK to hang up the phone on someone who's making you angry on a personal call? I'm referring to adult conversations, not children calling each other.

For instance, when I'm talking to my husband, my mother or a friend and the conversation has deteriorated to an argument or become unbearable and insufferable, can I just hang up the phone? Or must I first blurt out, "I'm hanging up the phone now"?

Are there rules for hanging up the phone angry? Do manners require that phone calls must end by mutual agreement? Please, Abby, give us your permission to "cut off the crazies." -- SICK OF IT IN MICHIGAN

DEAR SICK OF IT: I do not think it is constructive to slam the phone down. If a caller becomes abusive, you could say, "I can't listen to this," or, "We'll talk later when you're not upset," before putting the phone down. However, if these ugly conversations happen often, you might be wise to consider screening your calls before answering.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics