Tag Archives: phone etiquette

Tips for Avoiding Phone Calls

This post comes by request of my bestie, Summer. If there are people in your life whose phone calls you want to avoid, I have a few tips…read on.

Quite a few women, including myself, use code words when saving some men’s phone numbers in their cell phones. The codes are a way to signal calls that you don’t want to answer. I’ve heard of different codes, but I use two: DA and Caution.

DA stands for “don’t answer”, and it is a designation for people who I never want to speak to again ever in life (like forever ever). I save it in front of a persons name. For instance, DA-John Doe. This allows me to keep the person’s name attached to their phone number. I’ve heard of people who just save multiple numbers in their phone as Don’t Answer. However, if you have 6 different people all saved in your phone the same way, you don’t know which one is attempting to contact you. If you don’t want to talk to them I suppose not knowing who is calling doesn’t really matter, but I prefer to know. Thus, I opt for the DA-[insert name here] method.

Caution is used very similarly to DA but it means something different. I save it in front of a person’s name (example: Caution-Douglas Yardley). When someone’s phone number is saved with a caution tag, it means that I have probably had some emotionally-taxing or less than pleasant exchange with this person in the past. A simple disagreement or argument isn’t enough for someone to be placed into the caution zone. When someone gets placed in the caution zone, they are just a few steps away from being deginated as a DA. I am allowed to answer calls from people who have been placed in the caution zone. However, when I see a caution zone phone number come across my phone, it is a signal to me to do 2 things: (1) pause and take a quick moment to reflect on whether or not I am capable of having a civil conversation with this person right now, and (2) prepare to approach the conversation with an awareness that this person has been relegated to the edge of the friend zone and has some work to do if they want to breach the barrier of the caution zone.

These are the two categories I use–keeping it to two makes for an easy coding scheme. I know that other people have different ways of categorizing. Rather than code words, my sister (Imani) used to have a personalized ringtone saved to certain phone numbers. When someone called who she did not want to speak to, her phone would play her own voice saying, “Imani, whatever you do, do not pick up this phone right now!” It was comical to hear, but probably a good tactic. There are definitely times when the ringtone method could have saved me from undue stress. If your call log can benefit from developing a method of identifying the people to avoid, I recommend playing around with different techniques and seeing what works best for you.

For the curious, here are the answers to what I imagine will be FAQs on this post:

1. Why don’t you just delete phone numbers you don’t want? Deleting phone numbers is not effective if there are people who I want to avoid that are actively calling my phone. Unfortunately, phones do not work the same as facebook. If I de-friend someone by deleting their number, they can still contact me. If I do not have the number saved, I am at risk of anwering a phone call or text message from someone I’m attempting to avoid.

2. Why don’t you just tell people to stop calling you? In my experience, it’s not that simple with persistent men. Even when I say that I am no longer interested in communicating with or seeing them, they continue to contact me. I should mention, however, that most of my DAs and Cautions are people who, at least at this point, call or text every blue moon.


Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


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