The Meaning Behind the “Missed Call”


[by Susan Ashline]

See a “missed call” on your cell phone? It’s an unspoken message to call the person back.

It’s taken years to bring all of society on board, but I think we’re finally there. I might’ve been one of the last holdouts. It took me a while to fall in line, but now if I see a “missed call” notification, I know it’s my cue to return the call.

Let’s look at the evolution of this. Years ago, a friend (we’ll call her Jackie) would get agitated every time someone left a voice message. She’d complain about having to go into her voice mail to listen to a message telling her to call the person back, and then have to delete the message. That’s a lot of work, apparently.

My take was: If someone wanted me to call them back, they’d leave a message. If they didn’t leave a message, it meant they didn’t want me to call them back. I would call Jackie and leave a message, but then she’d give me a tongue lashing for leaving a message. Conversely, if I didn’t leave Jackie a message and she called me back, I would get irritated, because there was a reason I didn’t want her to return the call – I no longer needed to speak to her, or wouldn’t be available to take a call later.

Make sense? It did to me. But I think I was in the minority.

Time went on, and I, too, became frustrated at having to go in and delete voice mails telling me to call back. So now, if the person I call doesn’t answer the phone, I do nothing. It’s easier for me; easier for them. I know if they see the missed call, they’ll call back.

Do you leave voice messages? And which do you do when get a missed call: call back, or do nothing?


6 thoughts on “The Meaning Behind the “Missed Call”

  1. It seems the only time I actually make a phone call is for business or medical purposes, unless it’s important that I actually speak to someone, most of my communications are by text message. Answer when you have time, don’t answer, makes no difference, and there will still be people that get upset that you didn’t answer their text immediately. I remind myself occasionally that the phone is there for my convenience, for my communication needs, and can choose whether to speak to someone, or return a text. Of course at my age, if I don’t answer a text (more likely two) from one of my kids, they call to see if I’m still alive, all of this takes place in the time it takes to take a shower! Unfamiliar numbers showing up on my caller ID, are answered at my whim, many of them are offers to lower my credit card interest rate and I put them on the auto reject list, man, they must have a whole lot of numbers, I’ve put at least 20 on that list and still they keep coming, despite being on the no call list for some time (is that even relevant these days) because they are calling from a legitimate contact that I have given my number to.
    But to answer your original question, I only leave messages for the Drs office, and if I missed a call, a lot depends on who it came from and whether or not I feel like speaking to that person at that time, so could be either, call back or do nothing. But I’d call/text you back Susan 🙂

  2. I rarely leave voice mails anymore unless it’s for medical purposes and even then we have electronic ways of contacting them now but I still prefer to call. Even with my friends we text then if the conversation deems talking to each other we verify it in text. Most calls I receive are from companies I end up blocking or my doctors offices. If I do see a missed call from a friend or family member I do call back without even checking my voice mail because in most cases (unless it’s my Mother) they didn’t leave one.

    • Interesting… many (this blog is cross-published) have brought up that they rarely call at all. I don’t use texting as a form of real communication. I need to pick up the phone for that. I just can’t sit and pound away on a keyboard all day. And if I use voice to text, it’s always wrong, so I spend as much time going back and correcting all the words.

      • I guess maybe because my career involved a lot of phone use (required to answer mine and others many times a day while still doing my other job requirements) that it really made me hate being on the phone. I literally would cringe when my phone would ring after being home from work and I still feel the same even after being on disability for a few years now. It’s amazing how certain job requirements can really affect someone on a personal level. Texting is short and sweet and a quick way to get a message to someone else without any extra work required and vice versa or in my case sometimes even have a conversation.

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