DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I was growing up, my mother always advised me to call friends between approximately 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to avoid disturbing them, unless they had specifically advised me to reach them at other times.
Since the advent of cellphones, I find that I have been receiving calls and texts at all hours of the day and night! (None of which are regarding emergencies, by the way.) Is this the new norm?
Now I feel that I need to advise new friends and acquaintances to please call or text me only during certain hours unless it’s an emergency. I say it apologetically and explain that I work later hours, etc. Am I being too old-fashioned?
GENTLE READER: The etiquette on this was evolving even before the pandemic, at which point it collapsed completely. In the absence of weekdays or weekends, commutes or offices, school days or school holidays, work hours or nonwork hours, every daylight hour started to look the same.
Although she is not one to bend etiquette rules to convenience, Miss Manners nevertheless recognizes that the old rule was motivated by technological constraints. For many years, there was no way to silence a landline telephone that did not require subsequent repairs. This is no longer the case. Friends who call at all hours are still being inconsiderate; they should know that they might be waking you up.
However, you need not inform them what time they may call as you can enforce obedience by -- and Miss Manners realizes she is about to make a shocking suggestion -- turning off your phone. You are probably not the one to handle their emergencies anyway.