Social Question

rojo's avatar

Can you ignore a ringing cell phone?

Asked by rojo (21960points) October 8th, 2012

I noticed again this morning how difficult it is just to let a phone ring. Even though I was brushing my teeth, a perfectly acceptable reason not to, I felt guilty that I did not answer it right away. Are we conditioning ourselves ala Pavlovs’ dog (not the salivation part) to respond to the sound?
And when I am speaking with someone and the phone rings why do I feel a greater guilt if I ignore the call than if I excuse myself and answer it even though I am actually being, in my opinion, ruder to the person I am with?

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32 Answers

DrBill's avatar

if you have an iPhone (you did not say)

you can,
push the “ignore” button at the bottom right, which will send them to voice messages
Push the “silence” button at the top right
slide the “silence all” button at the top left

cookieman's avatar

I can because 98% of the time, my phone is on silent mode with the vibrator off.

I check it regularly enough that if I miss a call, I’ll see it.

My aunt recently said to me, “but what if it’s an emergency and you don’t hear my call?” I said, “If it’s an emergency, wouldn’t you call 911?”

gailcalled's avatar

Yes. As long as I have voice mail and can pick up the message, I know that I am missing nothing. (I don’t have a cell phone, BTW, so am referring to my land line.)

LuckyGuy's avatar

I can, and do, easily ignore it. If I am with someone the phone is always second. Unless I am waiting for a specific call, I do not even look at it until there is a reasonable break in the conversation.

I’m not dating so I have no need to chatter on the phone and talk about what I’m doing now. Also, I do not link my phone to Google, Twitter or Facebook feeds, so I don’t get interrupted 100–200 times per day every time a friend has a brain fart.

My ~30 year old sons get buzzed every few minutes. They cannot carry on a conversation without looking down at the screen. They get interrupted more times than a 9 year old boy with ADD after eating a bowl of sugar frosted chocolate candy.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

Once upon a time (because I’ve been told NOT to start the answer that way by my lovely current girlfriend), I had a oh so very clingy, oh so very obsessive ex (I had to stop to think about that – I’m actually typing this in front of my gf right now). She would (the ex that is) phone me at least four to five times a day towards the end of our hellish relationship. Before that it was once every couple of hours. Now that was a freakin’ nightmare. Even when I worked.
I managed to somehow persuade her (again, my ex) that I had other shit to do. I wasn’t supposed to spend every other hour superglued to my damn phone. This was sadly a fact of life that seemed to escape any sort of reasonable logic within her minuscule brain. Anyway, after about a month of a phone call every couple of hours, trying to ignore those calls was really really hard. And then…and theeeeeen…she just started to piss me off on a regular basis. We would argue about some of the most trivial and mundane crap ever. So what did I do? I discovered the joy of the “busy” tone. I then – this year – invested in a phone that I can just turn over, and it mutes the phone. So yes, I can ignore calls, but only because I can shut the damn ringer off.

Linda_Owl's avatar

If I am driving, I do not answer my cell phone.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I often ignore my mobile when it is ringing. I only answer the people I enjoy talking to like my boyfriend, dad or best friend, other people tend to get an “oooops I missed your call, everything alright?” kind of text and hope that they reply via text rather than try to call again!

Joker94's avatar

Yes, quite easily as a matter of fact.

DigitalBlue's avatar

I happen to love ignoring my phone. (This is probably why people that know me really don’t call me anymore.)

marinelife's avatar

Absolutely. All you have to do is believe that what you are doing in more important than the phone.

gravity's avatar

Not just yes but HELL YES. I don’t even have my voicemail set up, if I want to talk to them I will call them back….later.

gravity's avatar

@DigitalBlue I soooo feel you!

hearkat's avatar

I remember a time before cell phones, caller ID, and answering machines, when we really were conditioned to run to get the phone whenever it rang. But with the onset of these technologies, I am comfortable choosing which calls to answer, and which to ignore.

Most cell phones have an ignore feature, where you can silence the ring by hitting the volume down button or send the call directly to voicemail by tapping the ‘End Call’ button or on the iPhone, double-clicking the Lock button on top.

zenvelo's avatar

Do it all the time – that’s the beauty and wonder of Caller ID!

ucme's avatar


Berserker's avatar

I usually answer it, it might be important. But if I can’t, I can stand to not answer it. If I’m doing something important like sleeping or murdering someone, those mofos can just leave a message on my voice mail.

gailcalled's avatar

I just ignored one, with no difficulty. The 1–888-PES-TERU number came up; I knew that I ddin’t want to speak to anyone there.

Ron_C's avatar

We screen our calls on our home and mobile phones. Neither my wife nor I have a problem with letting the call go to voice mail.

Sunny2's avatar

I don’t get out of bed to answer the phone, but otherwise, I usually answer.

skfinkel's avatar

In spite of what my children think, I can indeed ignore the phone ringing.

Seek's avatar

What phone? I have a phone? Is that the alarm clock that talks to me sometimes?

YARNLADY's avatar

I look at it, but not necessarily answer it.

Jeruba's avatar

Yes. I feel as I have always felt with respect to my land line: I pay for this service in order to serve my needs and convenience and not to put me at the beck and call of others—especially spammers and telemarketers.

However, parenthood has made me much more a slave to a ringing phone than I once was. In practice about the only time I ignore it any more is when I know where everyone in the family is. Having aged ailing parents also made me pick up calls at any time of day or night, but they’re all gone now.

Ponderer983's avatar

I ignore mine a lot. Sometimes I just don’t want to talk on the phone and I know people are just calling to shoot the shit. If it’s that important, they can leave a voicemail telling me they need me to call back and I will.

AshLeigh's avatar

I like to make use of the “ignore” button.

Shippy's avatar

My cell phone once ruled my life. My job was to be accessible 24/7 if need be. Today, I couldn’t be bothered. Some days I switch it off. I figure if its so important, they will find me the old fashioned way, you know, with smoke signals!!!

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

It just occurred to me after coming back to this question that there was a similar requirement I had for a fone that, like @Shippy, I needed to have a fone on 24/7. The job was for a cowboy outfit security company and they were particularly abusive of that requirement. One week I worked 99 hours straight (which meant sleeping on the job of course), and I decided that enough was enough after one week, I’d no sooner had my head hit the pillow I got another fone call. I tend to avoid – foolishly perhaps – fone calls from people I work for…especially…most particularly on my days off.
I have since taught my kid brother the same practice of being unavailable on his days off, which he doesn’t get much of himself. I’m all for availability at work, but on days off, that’s a whole different ball game, especially when the pay is the same as any other ordinary work day.

iphigeneia's avatar

People I know generally only call if it’s urgent or they’re my dad so I try to always answer.

We never answer the landline during business hours if we’re home because 95% of the time it’s a telemarketer, or a survey, or a scam, and I’m very good at ignoring my phone alarm when it goes off in the morning, so I daresay I could if I wanted to. But I wouldn’t want to.

AshlynM's avatar

The only calls I answer are from my parents and boyfriend, or if it’s from a number I recognize. Otherwise, I just ignore it. I figure if it’s really important, they’ll leave me a message. I can’t believe how many junk calls I get. Thank god for voicemail and silent ring tones.

JLeslie's avatar

I ignore ringing phones all the time. It has nothing to do with caller ID, many times I don’t even look at the phone to see who is calling. If I am comfortable watching TV there is a good chance I won’t bother to get up for my call phone nor my home phone. If I am talking to someone I might ignore the ring also. My husband has real trouble ignoring phones, and sometimes even though I tell him please don’t answer it, he runs for it, annoyed he had to get up for it, and then usually it is for me, and I wind up stuck on the phone. I don’t understand why he doesn’t stop it.

Aethelwine's avatar

I can’t ignore my phone when my children or husband aren’t home. I came very close to missing the call from my daughter’s school the day she fell off the monkey bars and broke her wrist. I always keep my phone near me since that happened. This doesn’t mean I answer all calls, I just answer the important ones. Caller ID is one of the best inventions ever in my phone hating opinion. My ringing phone is always ignored when my entire family is home with me.

Shippy's avatar

@lightsourcetrickster Yes, aversion by association. To make matters worse, I did telesales for a job once! Phones are not my favorite item!

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