Proper Southern Manners Part 10 – (Telephone Manners)

Have you ever phoned someone only to have one of their children answer and you hear…





“What’s up?”

As we have spoken about previously, first impressions are huge and you only get one chance. Many times the phone call IS the first impression.


My husband, El Conquistador, has a real pet peeve with people that do not use the words “can” and “may” correctly. So many times while our daughter was growing up her friends would call (her cell phone must have been dead LOL) and that would ask “Can I speak with Brianna please?”. Now I know, they were polite and used please and everything. Well El Conquistadors response would be one of two things…

     “Yes” followed by complete silence


     “I don’t know, can you?”


In case you are not following, the proper way to ask to speak to someone is

     “May I please speak to Brianna?”


“May” is asking permission “Can” is asking if you have the ability to.

To this day those same friends will tell us that they learned a valuable lesson through those conversations. They have had teachers and peers comment on the way they speak.  I even heard one of them correcting one of her other friends when they called her LOL.

Well here is the next part of the “Proper Southern Manners” series.

Please share the other telephone manners that you would add to this as this posting in the booklet is far too short in our opinion.

Make it a great day, you deserve it!


Aileen and Tracey


Telephone Manners

It is customary to give a greeting when answering the telephone.  In the United States that greeting is often the word “Hello.”  In Australia it is often the word “Cheers.”  Whatever greeting you choose to use, please say it politely.

If the call is unwelcome, such as a telemarketer, there is no need to be rude or abusive, even if it is the third such call of the evening.  Instead, simply and quietly tell them to take your name off of their calling list.  If the call is abusive or threatening, it is no longer strictly a question of manners.  Hang up and call the proper authorities.  There is no social requirement to speak in response.

While talking to another person on the telephone, or for that matter a two-way radio, it is very rude to be audibly doing something else, such as rattling pots and pans.  (Granted, some people have established a relationship where this is not rude.  In such circumstances it is a matter of free and mutual agreement.)  If you are going to talk to someone, give them your attention.  And do not audibly eat food while on the telephone as the smacking of the mouth is not pleasant to hear.

And of course, do not interrupt.

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