When Is It Appropriate To Fake A Phone Call?

When Is It Appropriate To Fake A Phone Call?

Sometimes we want to be ignored, and our phones do a great job at isolating us from the world. But is it appropriate to fake a phone call just to ignore someone, or should we approach that confrontation head on?

Photo by Cass Chin

I think it’s perfectly appropriate to fake a phone call when you’re walking past someone looking for donations on the street, since if I’m going to donate money it’s not going to be while I’m out for a walk. The problem is that those people tend to ignore or neglect that you’re on the phone, probably because they’re used to people faking it. But what about at your desk at work, or when you’re on a bad date, or some other situation? When do you feel it’s appropriate to fake a phone call in order to avoid people? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Also, if you want a full-on guide to phone call faking, check out the Unplggd post.

Tech Etiquette: Faking a Phone Call [Unplggd]


  • For donations, or any other kind of “Harass you until you submit” kind of sales, I just tell them to F*** off, and if they complain, I either ignore and keep going, or say something like “Ever actually ENJOYED a Jehovah’s witness turning up at your door unannounced and annoying the sh!t out of you..?” – they get the idea to leave me alone pretty quick.

    • Having traveled in Asia (where beggars, hawkers and scammers are plentiful) I quickly learned the best way is to just completely ignore them. I use this with the people who stand in mall midways trying to start their sales pitch, just walk right by as if there not there.

  • Having rattled a collection tin a couple of decades ago (perhaps not in the “in your face” way they often use these days) I realised that the best response is just to smile, say “No thanks” or similar and keep walking.

    Simple, polite and doesn’t make you look like a wanker.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!