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1 in 8 Take Fake Phone Calls to Avoid Talking to Others 160

Posted by samzenpus
from the quiet-please-I'm-pretending-to-have-a-conversation dept.
A survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that people are lying 13% of the time when they say they have to take a cell phone call around you. That number jumps to an inconsiderate 30% in the 18- to 29-year-old age group. The survey also found that 42% of the 18-to-29 group "have had trouble doing something because they did not have their phone nearby." More than a quarter of survey respondents...sorry, I have to take this call.
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1 in 8 Take Fake Phone Calls to Avoid Talking to Others

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  • First post (Score:5, Funny)

    by kimvette (919543) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @01:16PM (#37108894) Homepage Journal

    I'd post something worthwhile but I need to take this call. . .

  • Statistics fail (Score:5, Informative)

    by spazdor (902907) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @01:20PM (#37108958)

    "People are lying 13% of the time?" C'mon.

    From RTFA, the real stat was that 13% of adults admitted to doing this ever. I think we can be generous and assume that that 13% aren't doing this 100% of the time.

  • we will IM others to call us just so we have an excuse to hang up on someone else, it is even good for getting rid of people who come to your desk and won't leave.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Brilliant, and avoids hurting the feelings of people who may be useful.

      • by vlueboy (1799360)

        It's funny, but let's explorer this before considering even joking with that. 1/8 random fakers AND 1/8 random dice rolls coinciding takes a (( 1/8 ) ^ 2) probability.

        If all your friends, daily events, calls and rolls were perfectly random in some ideal world (who trusts truly "random people"? ), we would be statistically right 1.6% of the time your "friend" gets on the phone. it's not worth the drama of the other 98% failures. :)
        Don't you wish the stats were skewed hugely in favor of lying for once?

    • by Sta7ic (819090)
      Another good way to dissuade coworkers from hanging around is to pull out a camera. It's the shotgun of office politics ~ there's no mistaking the sounds of the lens covers coming off, or the click of the shutter. Point'n'shoots, with that whirrr-whir as it extends the lens, also gets people's attention. Just some exposed glass has been enough to clear some of my coworkers out of the 4-plex, from time to time. Every now and then I even turn the camera on and get some random pictures. 55-200 lens get RE
  • It's a bit hard to convincingly fake taking a phone call when your phone is not ringing.

    Maybe someone should make a smartphone application that could react to some kind of surreptitious gesture and make the phone ring. After a short delay to avoid making it obvious.

    • How about a bluetooth sensor? You could tell it to randomly call you in 2min stddev 1min whenever that jerks phone is in range. Doesn't completely ignore the jerk but at least will put a limit to how much of your time they can waste.
      • by sjames (1099)

        I was thinking more literally, put a bluetooth enabled strain gauge in a filling so that when you get annoyed enough to clench your jaw, the phone fakes an urgent call.

        • My broadband RF scanner has a directional antenna and picks up 2.4GHz. I actually found someone who had the pressure-activated tooth filling you described! The RF scanner cost me $590 but the ability it gave me to safely call that girl a lying bitch in public when she did it was PRICELESS! :>

          Hey.. It sounded good.

    • It's a bit hard to convincingly fake taking a phone call when your phone is not ringing.

      "It's on vibrate."

      • It's a bit hard to convincingly fake taking a phone call when your phone is not ringing.

        "It's on vibrate."

        "But I didn't hear it vibrate."
        "I've got the vibrator off, since it makes too much noise in the theater."
        "Then how did you know it was vibrating?"
        "Look, I've got this call to take."

        • "But I didn't hear it vibrate."

          Vibrate is noisy on a lot of phones, but on other phones, you can't really hear it from a few feet away...which is, after all, the point of vibrate.

    • by stms (1132653)

      There's already an app for that that [apple.com].

    • The Samsung Tocco Lite has a fake call feature, just press and hold the volume button for a couple of seconds and it's good to go. A few moments later and you get what looks to be an incoming call from someone withholding their number.

      Very useful for getting out of a situation where you don't want to talk but at the same time don't wish to be rude.

      • Very useful for getting out of a situation where you don't want to talk but at the same time don't wish to be rude.

        Taking a call while been with peoples use to be rude. Usually the person receiving a call ask to be excused, leave and then take the call. Maybe i am old-fashioned but i think you can do just that without a noisy gadget.

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          Depends on where you are. Some people have mentioned doing this in an office setting, where some obnoxious coworker is talking your ear off about some drivel you don't care about, but you're too polite to tell him to fuck off (plus, if you did, you'd probably face disciplinary measures for "not being a team player").

          When someone calls you on an office phone, leaving to take the call isn't an option. Moreover, if you're in YOUR cubicle, why should you leave to take the call, even if it's on your cellphone?

    • by houghi (78078)

      It's a bit hard to convincingly fake taking a phone call when your phone is not ringing.

      My phone has a fake phone function. It rings and I can hang up again when I want.

      People tend to do these white lies all the time. When she asks if she looks fat in whatever she wears, your ass is toast if you tell the truth. OK, wrong example, you are dead anyway.

      When people ask 'how are you'? They do not want to hear the truth. People expect to hear "Fine, how are you?"

    • Re:App idea (Score:5, Funny)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @02:07PM (#37109580)

      It's a bit hard to convincingly fake taking a phone call when your phone is not ringing.

      But more effective in the long term if you do it right...

      Them: Blah blah blah
      Me: Oh, that's my cell phone, gotta take this
      Them: But I didn't hear it ring...
      Me: [reaches into pocket, draws out nothing, looks into empty hand] It's the president!
      Them: You don't even have a cell phone...
      Me: [thumb to ear and pinkie in front of mouth] Yes Mr. President! TERRIBLY fucking boring! Ugly too!
      Them: [never talks to me again]

    • Already exists. At least for Android.
    • by Quirkz (1206400)
      You mean you don't keep a panic button taped to the underside of your desk, where you can surreptitiously bump it with a knee?
    • by dbIII (701233)
      If they can feel that your phone in your pocket isn't vibrating then they are too close.
  • In my opinion this clearly shows that...

    Oh, sorry: Got to take this call.
    • When someone "takes a call" within about ten feet of me, the FlameWar App(tm)(sm)(r)(c) automagically finds their contact info and haunts them for a month.

      Take that, you hot girl that thought I wasn't stupid enough to be cool......

      Oh, wait. Uh.. sorry I can't finish this, I have a conference call.

  • by cosm (1072588) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .3msoceht.> on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @01:33PM (#37109134)
    that I have done this before--not to avoid contact with people, but to make it look like I'm making contact with people.

    Signed,
    Forever Alone lolololol
    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      I was actually going to say the same thing. I tend to pull out my cell and flip though the menus/old texts when I'm in one of those awkward situations where I'm waiting in uncomfortable places for uncomfortable lengths of time. I pull my phone out more because that's just what people do than I do because I'm actually using it. And I'm supposed to be part of the generation that does this crap all the time.

      Can't say I've ever done it to avoid someone though. My phone is so old nobody would believe that -- any

    • by Idbar (1034346)
      Same thing here. If something, I pull the little box to read the RSS feeds or check on messages (and even send some messages) when I'm by myself in a place and haven't had the chance of meeting anyone.

      It must be the utter social ineptitude part from the knack.
  • Speed dial #2 on my cell goes to my office phone - makes checking voicemail easy. And when the guy in the next office comes over to tell me about some damn facebook game he's playing now, I can fidget with my phone, hold down the number 2, and boom - my phone rings. "Oh sorry man, I need to get that."

    Of course, if he ever notices that it's always the same number...

    And as a bonus, I change the name from "Work" to "Santa" during christmastime. Scares the hell out of a kid throwing a tantrum when I threaten
    • by Seumas (6865)

      An alternative to faking cell calls is to fake listening to your iPod. I know plenty of people (myself included) who will have our headphones on, even if they're not actually listening to anything. Hell, I know people who don't even carry their ipod with them. They just have their headphones on and the other end goes into their pocket. It's especially useful when on Tri-Met or any other public transportation or public situation. If you just want to be left alone and not hassled or bothered, it's a fantastic

      • by sysrammer (446839)

        fake listening to your iPod

        Yah, guilty there.

        Another advantage is that it decreases traffic noise by X decibels (for my buds, I estimate about 12 db's). Considering that each 3 db drop will halve the sound level, it's a reasonable decrease, yet still allows audio situational awareness.

        sr

        "There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain

      • by neo8750 (566137)
        I just look at the person bothering me on public transpo and say "that's very interesting now i have a question for you have you accepted our lord and savior jesus Christ?" usually will get the to shut up and if by chance they are religious i progress follow up with "I'm just fucking with ya buddy i don't believe that hokus pokus I actually have a brain"

        But hey we all handle things differntly

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        I often leave my headphones in even when not playing, just because it's a pain to keep taking them out and putting them in. I usually listen to podcasts when walking around or waiting for something.

    • And when the guy in the next office comes over to tell me about some damn facebook game he's playing now, ...

      What is with that at work? Why do people want to tell me about Mafia Wars or their latest WoW raid? Why do they think I have any interest in that at all?

      Even Red Dwarf mocked this 20+ years ago.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5TxzDY_sEk [youtube.com]

    • And as a bonus, I change the name from "Work" to "Santa" during christmastime. Scares the hell out of a kid throwing a tantrum when I threaten them with a long distance call to the North Pole.

      Why? Does he pay the bill?

  • Like Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally"
    Memorable post performance line: "I'll have what she's having" delivered by director Reiner's mother.
  • I saw one of the TV announcers for the Toronto Raptors chatting on his cell phone when it loudly rang in his ear. guess he was one of the 13%.

    • by nabsltd (1313397)

      I saw one of the TV announcers for the Toronto Raptors chatting on his cell phone when it loudly rang in his ear. guess he was one of the 13%.

      Since most phones will alert you in some way if you have another call while already on a call, that could just be a misconfiguration so the alert was too loud.

  • The most interesting fact from this article is that 18-to-29 year-olds are much more likely to use cell phones as an excuse to not talk to someone. This jives with my experience in real life. Finally, now it is possible to agree with our grandparents that young people are more inconsiderate than old people.

    People in that age group seem to think that they are entitled to do anything they like, as if their feelings are more important than everyone else's. Instead of treating people with respect, many young

    • by sdguero (1112795)
      Ever heard of an old person acting like they can't hear something when they really just don't want to hear something?
      What about someone from another country saying no habla anglais?

      The cell phone thing is just a newish tool to eject from an encounter. Whether the motive is based on passive-aggressive/non-confrontational/disrespectful/whatever-the situation-is behavior, its one way that some people deal with others. I'd expect young people to use this one more as cell phones are a relatively new technol
      • I am 28, but my age is irrelevant to the discussion.

        I can only speak from my own experience, but I've never had this problem with people who are older than 30. I've volunteered at carnivals where we crushed one ton of potatoes over six days, for years, and the 50-year-old ladies never failed. The work was brutal - imagine peeling and chopping into tiny pieces 200 pounds of onions manually. They showed up with colds, bad backs, hung over, and even drunk, but despite doing this for 120 days over two decade

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          I am 28, but my age is irrelevant to the discussion.
          I can only speak from my own experience, but I've never had this problem with people who are older than 30.

          [anecdotes of horrible ways 30-year-old people have treated him]

          While I can't say if this behavior is more prevalent in the sub-30 age group or not, I can say you're lucky that you weren't born into (or adopted into) a dysfunctional family, because your complaints remind me of things my own family members have done to me, and things my wife's family m

        • by sdguero (1112795)

          I am 28, but my age is irrelevant to the discussion... I've volunteered at carnivals where we crushed one ton of potatoes over six days, for years, and the 50-year-old ladies never failed.

          Hehe, well I guess I was only right about 2 of the 3. But I think your age is certainly relevant. While you might only be 28, you seem to think, act, and befriend people like someone who is much older.

          another instance where I gave someone a $75 ticket for a concert over another friend and he decided not to show up, a friend I provided $2500 of videography for in exchange for a place to stay, and she didn't pay the $160 hotel bill, 200 hours of work put into an organization at the president's request when the president didn't even bother to look at what I had produced, and the list goes on and on

          Dude, have you noticed a recurring theme here? I.e. YOU. Sounds like your are one of those guys that most people see as a semi-creepy nerd who does things expecting to be reciprocated with money/favors/friends/sex or whatever it is you really want, but you never have the huevos to tell anyone what those thin

          • While I agree with most of your post, about "The Game" all I can do is link to xkcd: http://xkcd.com/800/ [xkcd.com]

            As a better reference I'd recommend the "On Being a Man" series by David D'Angelo, which is roughly the same idea, but less sleazy.

      • by sysrammer (446839)

        Good answer. It reminds me of something Plato wrote about "how this generation has no respect". Apparently screeds like this can be plugged into any era.

        sr

    • by Trillan (597339)

      I'm 35. I have older and younger friends who fall on both sides of that. Age is a part of it, sure, but 29 is by no means the cap and it isn't the only part. Some people were simply raised to think of dishonesty (in all its forms) as a tool they can use, and some were raised to avoid it at all costs.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      I'm old but (usually) considerate. I get rid of annoying people whose fucking babble I don't want to hear in the politest practical manner.

      I don't give a shit what age they are. If they want to babble they can take that shit elsewhere. My friends don't babble so we don't have a problem. That leaves non-friends in the "babble" group, to be dealt with in whatever manner is useful.

      As to organizers who don't show up, chew that ass in public and humiliate them. Life is too short to be nice to those who don't des

    • Fun fact! "Respect" is arbitrary.

      Yeah, people not showing up for things is a dick move. But if anything, faking a phone call is actually a more respectful way to duck out of a conversation. Let's review the alternatives. 1) Wait around for the other person to wrap it up when you have better things to do. 2) Tell them to their face that you have better things to do. (Disclaimer: I have never faked a phone call, because I can't lie worth a crap. But I can understand why people would do it.)

      When you sta
    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      People in that age group seem to think that they are entitled to do anything they like, as if their feelings are more important than everyone else's. ... and in family life, where you invite people to a party and they can't take five seconds from their self-centered lives to apologize and inform you that they will not be able to attend.

      This isn't restricted to that age group (though it might very well be worse within that age group). My wife's father is in his early 70s, and he couldn't even give her an an

    • by Eivind (15695)

      Atleast the old has, at all times, been of the opinion that they young are rude and ill-behaved.

      A white lie, is sometimes *less* rude than the truth though. What the hell am I supposed to say: "I'm sorry, but you're boring me, see you later !" ?

  • When a bum comes up to me and asks for something I take a phone call and they leave me alone. Some sort of bum code of conduct I guess.
  • The verbage for all respondants is much more positive than the verbage for young adults. For example, "help prevent unwanted personal interactions" sounds (to me at least) much less anti-social than "avoid interacting with people around them" and "important tool in an emergency" gives an entirely different sense than "have had trouble doing something because they did not have their phone nearby", yet that appears to be how they align.

    This might be entirely unintended but it looks to me as if a subconscious

  • by J'raxis (248192) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @01:56PM (#37109420) Homepage

    Please learn the difference between "13% of people lie" ("1 in 8 Take Fake Phone Calls") and "people are lying 13% of the time" before posting any more articles about statistics.

    • You didn't complete the quote: "people are lying 13% of the time when they say they have to take a cell phone call around you."

      I.e. You are the cause of 13% of people faking phone calls.

  • Now it is possible to talk, in public, to someone that isn't there, and that is normal. This has been a real boon to the schizophrenic population. Thank you blue tooth fairy
    • by sysrammer (446839)

      Now it is possible to talk, in public, to someone that isn't there, and that is normal. This has been a real boon to the schizophrenic population. Thank you blue tooth fairy

      Yep, I've thought that many times. Didn't know who to give thanks to, though, so mark it +1 Informative.

      sr

  • A study looking at fake phone calls found that it is more than twice as likely that one of these 18- to 29-year-olds will be lying to you than a normal hardworking American, who still believes in God and the values that made this country great. Members of the Greatest Generation were found to be more than 15 times more honest than those ungrateful kids: "Only 2% of the oldest (65 and older) respondents reported using cell phones to avoid dealing with others." (Study also included some immigrants)

    Besides ref

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Of course, if you want to assign blame, then the blame lies with the "Greatest Generation", as they were the ones who were the parents for the generation after them, and they in turn for the generation after them, etc.

      If you look at the state of this country, it seems like the Baby Boomers really did the most to screw it up directly, when they were in positions of power in the government and industry. However, who raised the Baby Boomers? That's right, the "Greatest Generation" that's so revered. Looks l

  • by mat catastrophe (105256) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @02:10PM (#37109618) Homepage

    but I have made certain that someone would call me at a certain time in order to extricate me from a situation.

    • And that is still wrong.

      Everyone deserves respect. If you don't want to talk to someone, then you kindly but firmly state that you are busy and aren't available to talk right now. Or, if the person keeps pestering you, you firmly state that you don't want to talk to the person again, and then ignore him or her on future occasions.

      Faking or arranging a cell phone call helps nobody. The person who is talking to you might not even know that you don't want to associate with him or her and would never learn o

      • And an awful lot of these people are coworkers, typically the ones to whom you already sent the piece of information they are asking about three days ago and which they could find easily if they ever bothered to read their email or attend department meetings. Good luck telling them to get lost and still keeping your job (in the interests of disclosure, I do not own a mobile and am a month shy of 30).

        On the other hand, those dimwits still have their jobs, so maybe I can get away with being ruder than I have

      • And that is still wrong.

        Everyone deserves respect. If you don't want to talk to someone, then you kindly but firmly state that you are busy and aren't available to talk right now. Or, if the person keeps pestering you, you firmly state that you don't want to talk to the person again, and then ignore him or her on future occasions.

        Faking or arranging a cell phone call helps nobody. The person who is talking to you might not even know that you don't want to associate with him or her and would never learn otherwise. (S)he eventually ends up confused and feeling bad. Meanwhile, you keep wasting your time as the person continues to contact you about whatever problem you're putting off with these fake or arranged calls. It's just a sign of disrespect that you won't look the person in the eye and tell the truth.

        Lighten up, Francis.

      • Everyone deserves respect

        No they don't. You have to earn respect.

  • I didn't RTFA, but isn't there perhaps other explanations than 'young adults are less respectful'? That age group is also the most likely to have young children, and many are also in a transitional phase where they're moving on from high school and college lifestyles into the adult world -- part of doing that frequently includes shedding of old acquaintances (and even friends), and might necessitate termination of a social encounter.

    Furthermore, what is "I need to take a call" replacing? It's very possibl

  • As a socially acceptable way to talk to the voices in my head.

  • ...haven't learned about voicemail.

    • by bledri (1283728)

      ...haven't learned about voicemail.

      This is actually my experience. Many of my younger acquaintances won't leave a voicemail and expect you to always call back. How hard is it?

      • by coolmadsi (823103)

        ...haven't learned about voicemail.

        This is actually my experience. Many of my younger acquaintances won't leave a voicemail and expect you to always call back. How hard is it?

        I've had voicemail turned off on my phone for years, originally from when I was a teenager and it cost me money (well, phone credit on pay as you go) to listen to the message, and of the messages I listened to before turning it off, most were just the inside of someones pocket.

        If I'm calling someone, it is usually because I need to have a conversation with them, something that requires interaction with the person being called, that you don't get with a voicemail. If I call someone and they don't answer, I

  • The same age group act's like they are having Crack withdrawals when they do not have a phone at all for a 48 hour period. My daughter lost her phone on vacation in the woods and was acting like she was going to cut one of us if she did not get her fix... " I need to check my messages, give me your DAMN PHONE OR I WILL CUT YOU!"

    people need to unplug more and learn how to not be a slave to the tech.

  • My mothers calling!
    My water is boiling!
    I gotta piss!
    Somebody's at the door!
    I think dinners burning!
    I'm being kidnapped by aliens!
     

  • I do have trouble when i don't have my iphone nearby....
    only because i think i forgot it somewhere, and thinking of it being lost, and what will i do if i cant find it...i better go find it....
    i got to find it right now..... ..... ......

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