General Question

mattbrowne's avatar

Why do certain cell phone users enjoy talking loudly in public places, knowing that many are listening to all the intimate details?

Asked by mattbrowne (31719points) April 25th, 2009

Some might think they’re impressing everyone with their important deals and big money. Another category of people might sound like this: ‘Hey, listen everybody on the subway, I’m so cool, man. Every woman wants to have sex with me. I’m so super, let me tell you. The way I’m able to seduce women, ya know, I’m more successful than all of you. Now when do I get my applause?’

Someone pointed out to me there could be a totally different reason: Cell phone users are simply continuing the ancestral behavior of sitting around in trees and howling at each other. Evolution at it’s finest.

What’s your opinion? Do you have a different explanation? Do you enjoy listening to cell phone conversations of strangers? Or are you annoyed by it?

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22 Answers

chyna's avatar

I think they are rude selfish people who think their conversations are important. I really like the signs I am seeing in fast food places that say “If you are on your cell when you are ready to place your order, we will go on to the next customer while you finish your call.”

janbb's avatar

Pisses me off no end!

Dog's avatar

I have a friend who does this. He was a fighter pilot and though he is young he is hard of hearing.

It is vexing as he talks so loud I am certain that a phone is not necessary and that the other party could hear him fine without it.

On a side note: It used to be that when a person was mentally unstable one could be forewarned. Sadly now that there are cell phones with tiny earpieces there is a plethora of people gesturing and talking to themselves.

hug_of_war's avatar

I’m in college. I cannot tell you how often I hear people talking about their sex lives or relationship issues at such a volume it’s impossible to tune them out. I cannot understand it.

lisaj89's avatar

There is this older woman in one of my classes and she has one of those dumb blue tooth ear piece things that she is on constantly! It’s so funny b/c she is always talking about completing her real estate training and receiving her license and how great it’s going to be. Apparently she is not living in the real world where even people like my dad who have had years of experience in the field are having to switch careers!
Then, she’ll get her husband on the phone and talk about their relationship. I wonder if he is aware that the whole class knows about their marriage problems?
Oh, and then there are the people who leave their keypad volume on high and text constantly! Don’t even get me started!

mattbrowne's avatar

@Dog – When someone is hard of hearing, he or she will have to speak up in all conversations. That’s very different from a self-important attitude, don’t you think?

Zaku's avatar

Depends on the person. I imagine that some people are so focused on the conversation that they aren’t thinking very much about their surroundings, let alone what other people are thinking about it, and they may have no idea they are speaking so loudly. Some may even consider it rude for others to “listen in” on their conversation.

Dog's avatar

@mattbrowne Actually he speaks louder on the phone than in normal conversation. I think it is because he cannot hear them as clearly as he might if they were in front of him.

I am sure the majority are not suffering from hearing loss but it is a possibility for a few.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Dog – I see. Yes, that makes sense. Well, what is your explanation then that the healthy majority is showing this annoying behavior?

PupnTaco's avatar

Cell phones are different from landlines – you don’t hear your own voice in the receiver as you’re talking, a means of feedback to help control the volume you speak at. People subconsciously think the other person can’t hear them. If all the people on the other end would just say, “why are you talking so loud, I can hear you fine,” we’d all be better off.

But yeah, it’s a pet peeve. Sometimes I respond, thinking they’re talking to me.

oratio's avatar

Because it is anonymous since you are among strangers. You would hesitate to talk about intimate details among people you know. It kind of for the same reason that people on the web don’t mind insulting people they don’t know and will never meet.

bianlink's avatar

Just strangers. They listen and they forget.

DeanV's avatar

Exhibitionists in any way possible, in my opinion. I think it’s mostly a big attention grab.

And those people that ask their spouse questions in the store! They really bug me.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Oh my, I just now answered a completely unrelated question with an answer that fits just as well here.

Low self esteem and/or mental illness

Facade's avatar

They like attention..or they don’t know how loud they’re talking..

mattbrowne's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence – Well, low self esteem seems like a good explanation, but mental illness goes a bit far in my opinion. Maybe metaphorically speaking…

3or4monsters's avatar

Before there were cellphones, there were people speaking too loudly or yelling into regular telephones within the privacy of their own homes. I suspect they do it because they know the person is far away, and just aren’t thinking about their actions or recognizing that technology can make up for distance and pick up a conversational volume just fine.

I noticed this because as the listener on the other line, there would be sound distortion through the cheap little speakers and, well, you could just tell the person was louder than normal…

Not much has changed, besides that now we take the habit out and about with us in public.

I think the braggadacio/exhibitionism came about because people realized that the folks around them were reacting to their conversations, and start playing it up. Chicken before the egg.

chyna's avatar

@3or4monsters I think what you are saying is probably the reason for a lot of the loud phone conversations. I personally have caught myself talking too loud at a drive thru window when ordering. I’m not sure if I think if I talk loud they will get the order right, or that talking to a speaker needs to be yelled at.

Lothloriengaladriel's avatar

Annoying.. those people should be shot..

mattbrowne's avatar

@3or4monsters – But why have so many cell phone users learned not to yell or talk loudly?

SilverFang77's avatar

Last year I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of a McDonald’s with my window down. The woman in the car to the right of me had her window down too and was shouting and crying into her phone. It sounded like she was breaking up with her boyfriend. It was disturbing and funny at the same time.

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