When Can You Call a Stranger?

Part of my responsibilities in church at the moment is making unsolicited phone calls to set up appointments for church leaders. They’ll need to meet with someone, and so I’ll need to track that person down and set a time and date. Most of the time, I try to do this through email, because it’s the most efficient way in my opinion. (And I have an easy record of what was decided, in case there’s the need to keep track of that.)

But sometimes emails go unnoticed, and I have to reluctantly turn to ye olde telephone to get the job done. I dislike this for a number of reasons. First of all, I just don’t like talking to strangers on the phone. I can chatter away with friends for hours on end, but calling people I don’t know? Not a fan. It stresses me out, and yes I realize that’s a silly thing to stress out about, but there you have it.

Beyond the simple stress of making an actual phone call is the fact that most people have caller ID these days, and I don’t know if you’re aware, but there are a lot of these things called “spam calls” that happen. This means most people just don’t answer calls from numbers they don’t recognize. Which means my number. So calling someone means I have to leave a message, and then they have to call me back, which is from a number my phone won’t recognize. (And also means that these days I just always answer my phone, because it’s easier to just hang up on a spambot than it is to have to track down the actual person who was leaving me a message.)

Anyway. This long lead up is just to set the stage for my question. In the modern era, when do you think it’s fine to make a phone call? Meaning, what hours of the day? I ask because I know for a fact that different people have different opinions on this. (On my mission, I once got yelled at for knocking on someone’s door. “Don’t you know what time it is?” they yelled at me. I checked my watch. “Four thirty in the afternoon?” I answered. “Exactly!” they said. “It’s way too late to just drop by!” Maybe they just didn’t want a missionary knocking on their door. If that was the case, I couldn’t blame them. I wouldn’t want me knocking on my door either.)

My general approach is on a weekday, I’ll wait until 9am to call someone, and I’ll still call someone until 9pm. (On weekends, I wait until 10am.) Still, I have woken people up calling at 9 in the morning or 8:30 at night, so I wonder if my hours are too broad.

That’s where you all come in.

When do you think it’s okay to call someone? Weekend vs. weekday? (And remember, “not calling at all” isn’t an option in this case. Those appointments ain’t gonna make themselves, folks.)

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