Private phonecalls

When you phone someone, do you expect your phonecall to be private?

I do. When I’m talking to a friend on the phone, I’m talking as though it was just me and that friend on our own in a room. I might want to say personal or private things that I wouldn’t want to say in the middle of a crowded room.

I’ve discovered that this isn’t always the case. There are two people that I regularly talk to on the phone who take my call on speakerphone without warning me that this is what they’re doing. I was horrified when I found out. I wondered what I had previously said that was private, and who had heard it! I couldn’t believe that had happened without the courtesy of a warning.

I only found out because I happened to be with both those people while they were on the phone to someone else.

I was at my friend’s house when another friend phoned her. It was awful! I could hear everything the lady on the phone was saying, and I could tell from the way she was speaking that she thought that her conversation was private. It was excruciatingly embarrassing.

I tried to talk to my friend about the problem and say that she needed to warn people if their conversation isn’t private, but she just said that she can hear better if the phone is on speakerphone and didn’t seem to understand my point of view at all.

I don’t know what to do about it. I’ll never remember that I need to check if anyone’s listening before I talk to her. I could email her instead, but like many married ladies, she doesn’t have an email address of her own but uses her husband’s. So anything I email her, he can read as well.

Am I a bit strange, or would having a private conversation overheard make anyone uncomfortable?

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6 Responses to “Private phonecalls”

  1. Stuart Dootson says:

    I definitely agree with you Katie…but the other thing is surely that your friend taking a call while you (or someone else) is visiting in person seems a little..well, rude! I would tell a caller that I’d phone them back if I had visitors in person….

  2. Katie-Rose says:

    Yes, you’re right, Stuart. When she takes a phonecall from a particular friend that I know will take about half an hour, and we’ve made an arrangement to get together to do something, I do find it very rude and irritating and feel like walking out!

    But this time it was her sister who she’d been leaving messages for over the previous few days and she was only a few minutes. So this time I didn’t mind.

  3. Muldoon says:

    That’s shocking and you’re quite right to be horrified at their apparent lack of consideration or understanding.

    I imagine a blind person telling a counsellor or therapist about something and assuming privacy, without being told there are trainees present taking notes. I have no respect at all for those who breach others privacy without extremely good reason.

    Shocking thoughtless behaviour.

    I’d suggest keeping your next phone conversation extremely brief and to the point and mentioning why.

  4. Katie-Rose says:

    Yes, I would have brief non-explicit conversations if I could remember to when I phone this friend!

    In fact if I remembered, I’d tell her to turn off the speakerphone and I’ll shout!!

    I’m glad it’s not just me who is horrified at the unmentioned lack of privacy.

  5. Muldoon says:

    Here’s a solution (if you remember) – speak so quietly they can’t hear you. Eventually they’ll think of picking up the phone and you can speak normally and privately.

    Or tell them you’re “recording for training purposes” and you reserve the right to post anything interesting on the internet.

  6. Katie-Rose says:

    It’s not as easy as that unfortunately! It a cordless phone that you can walk around the house with. She holds it near to her ear and the whole house can hear!

    I love your second suggestion!

    It’s difficult though isn’t it? My friend is lovely and she’s very good to me. She and her husband often give me lifts to places they’re going to as well and they often invite me for a meal. I don’t like the phone situation, but I don’t want to upset her either. It’s a dilema.