Miss Manners

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend calls at odd hours when I’m not home (but she thinks I am), and does not leave a message. She knows that I can look at my caller ID and see that she called.

When I don’t call her back, she is offended, and thinks I was at home and just didn’t answer her call. I think that since she did not leave a message, then that means she did not need or want to be called back. Am I in the wrong, or should she be leaving a message?

GENTLE READER: Your friend’s method has a one-sided efficiency: requesting a callback without the bothersome task of stating why.

Both parties must agree to this system for it to be effective. In negotiating this agreement, Miss Manners recommends that you warn your friend that without a message, you will not be able to determine the relative urgency of her calls -- and will therefore be forced to assume that they are all low.

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