I Hate Voicemail

Leaving someone a voicemail message on someone’s cell phone in 2011 is not only misguided, it’s selfish. It’s difficult to think of a situation in which leaving a voicemail is necessary because, well, it’s not.

Pretty much any cell phone that was made within the last decade has caller ID and text messaging capabilities, so even the people you know with the most dated mobile devices are able to see instantly that they missed your call and ring you back. Of course none of this applies to landlines and office phones, but who even has either one of those things anymore?

Here’s my theory: Voicemail messages are rarely for the person on the receiving end of the message, they are for the comfort and security of the individual making the call. Our abuse of this system with messages like, “Hey, I called you, call me back,” has made pressing “1” on your phone and entering your password a chore.

It’s only the most needy and annoying people that say things like, “Hey, your voicemail is full, I called you,” via text message. Why don’t they use that very text message to inform me of what they were calling about instead of berating me for not wanting to listen to a solid sixty-second recording of a one-sided conversation? It’s because they need their feelings fellated and whoops! I’m no one’s therapist.

Last week this dude that used to be some sort of like, romantic interest or something, attempted to call me while I was in the shower. Upon hearing that my voicemail box was full (it has been since 2006,) he sent me a string of text messages saying things like, “Your voicemail is full, you should take care of that,” and “I can’t believe you have a full voicemail box, that’s so unprofessional,” to which I responded, “Screw you, don’t tell me how to live my life. What did you need?”

I don’t know if I ever found out why he was calling, but I know that it turned into one of the most ridiculous arguments that I’ve entertained in recent history. He kept demanding that I clean out my voicemail box, and I kept telling him that I’m not interested in speaking with anyone who doesn’t understand why I think voicemail is rude.

I explained to him that the only people who leave me voicemail messages are my mother (whom I speak to regularly, but is always all worked up because I came out of her vagina and live 3000 miles away,) creditors who I can’t afford to pay (I’ll get to you when I have money, Sue! Go fuck yourself! Is it not obvious that I’m not the kind of person who’s planning on NEVER paying you back, Sue?) and drunk exes desperate to get some sort of emotional reaction out of me.

After twenty minutes of arguing back and forth, I cleaned out my voicemail box to shut him up. He broke me. I can be broken. I didn’t listen to any of the five-year-old messages as I deleted them, I just kept pressing “7” until it said there were none left. I rerecorded my outgoing message to say, “Hi! You’ve reached Molly McAleer! I don’t listen to voicemail, so please text me or email me!” I even spelled out my email address, because HEY! If you have the balls to leave me a message, you should have to listen to mine first.

Later that evening, after taking my dog out for a walk without my phone, I saw that I had a missed call from the same dude, and ready? I also had one new voicemail message, because obviously he doesn’t respect me.

That message will sit on my phone for all eternity or until I can afford an assistant, who’s first job will be to listen to the time capsule of selfish assholes and needy whiners I’ve known in my life. TC mark

image – iStockPhoto.com

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  • overdone

    oh my god, we know.

    https://thoughtcatalog.com/2011

    • alexrax

      i knew i'd seen this before, on this site, in the last week…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      WHY CAN'T SOMEONE WRITE SOMETHING ABOUT GOOGLE VOICE THEN.

      • http://tattoosnob.com Julene

        I think we already tried that and you were real hot to trot on the topic. Elected by popular vote?

    • PERFECTCIRCLES

      Thought Catalog is the new #1 go-to site to read about the most controversial topics of the day, such as voicemail.

    • http://profiles.google.com/justaduckyguy Conor Foley

      “Don't leave me voicemail,” “Answer your phone,” “Text me instead of calling me,” we get it, Thought Catalog, your writers have a variety of opinions about cell phones. Can we please read articles with more diverse topics? It's like freakin Groundhog Day on this site.

  • EmiliaBedelia

    ha. this is great. that guy is probably doing you a favour, anyway. now you have a legitimate excuse as to why you never contacted him.

  • Aah

    WHAT ARE YOU FUCKIN SEINFELD

  • Reallydudeeeee

    thought catalog is only publishing this because you're molls. this is weak.

  • http://idktbh.tumblr.com Leannet

    “HEY! If you have the balls to leave me a message, you should have to listen to mine first.”

    I like this a lot.

    • Katie

      Disagreed. Why is it ballsy to leave a voicemail…? Why do people have phones if they don't want people to contact them? Just sayin'.

      • http://idktbh.tumblr.com Leannet

        You're missing her point. Molls loves to be contacted, she just doesn't want to be contacted in an archaic way.
        I personally find voicemails useful in very rare occasions, but if you want to contact me in that way I like Molls' idea of making you listen to the other ways you can contact me that will probably get you a reply from me a lot faster.

  • Julie M

    I'm glad I'm not the only person who feels this way.

  • Greg

    I explained to him that the only people who leave me voicemail messages are my mother (whom I speak to regularly, but is always all worked up because I came out of her vagina and live 3000 miles away,) creditors who I can’t afford to pay (I’ll get to you when I have money, Sue! Go fuck yourself! Is it not obvious that I’m not the kind of person who’s planning on NEVER paying you back, Sue?) and drunk exes desperate to get some sort of emotional reaction out of me.

    Damn this shit summed it up

  • QD

    If people can tell you whatever they want to tell you in a text message, they shouldn't have called no? So I believe they called for a reason, and leaving a voicemail is sometimes better than waiting for you to call back. I personally think it's VERY unprofessional to have a full voicemail. Imagine getting a call from a potential employer and your voicemail is full. I don't suppose you expect them to text you right? Just my two cents.

  • vicky

    man, i LIKE voicemail. i might not check it right away but it comforts me knowing that there are some great cheer-up messages for when i'm bored on my bed late at night that i can replay over on my phone, like a happy birthday shoutout, a “spooky” prank call gone bad, a little giggle session, a friend with an interesting way of saying “hellooo vicky.”

  • http://twitter.com/dianasof Diana Z.

    Some people are haters. I liked this, and hate voicemail. My mom berates me for not setting it up properly, and insists that it's not a total waste of time to leave a message.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jeniferlmcintyre Jenifer McIntyre

    Okay. Well I never realized how much I hate voice mail until I read this. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to a voice mail that went verbatim “Hi Jen, this is Dad, call me back.” Duh, I will do that. Didn't need a message for it. Thank. You. Molls.

    • Katie

      That means the message sucks, not voicemail.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jeniferlmcintyre Jenifer McIntyre

    Okay. Well I never realized how much I hate voice mail until I read this. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to a voice mail that went verbatim “Hi Jen, this is Dad, call me back.” Duh, I will do that. Didn't need a message for it. Thank. You. Molls.

  • TA

    Without voicemail, how will my regular creeper tell me that he can “smell my soiled panties” without feeling the pressure of me listening in real time on the other side?

    Also, how does someone that's so lazy they can't check their voicemail muster the energy to write a rant about their laziness?

  • http://twitter.com/paulhansonclark Paul Clark

    i love voicemail

  • Jess

    ‎”Of course none of this applies to landlines and office phones, but who even has either one of those things anymore?”

    Umm, recruitment agents? Consulting firms? And a whole host of potential clients. Long-winded messages suck, but tis far better to wade through these than be left in suspense as to whether a missed call from a private number was a job with a short deadline that you missed out on.

    • becker

      anything not done over email doesn't deserve being done at all.

  • writinginbed

    Fuck, I agree. Nothing shits me more than having to sit thru a voicemail from my mom that doesn't do anything but complain about me not answering my phone.
    Thankfully, visual voicemail transcribes and I can delete the fuck out of the rubbish.

  • LDN

    you need to calm down, it's a bloody voicemail.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=58215584 Victoria Merida

      Ever consider she wrote this while she still had an adrenaline rush from the anger towards her ex? I know I write long-winded rants when I'm hyped up.

  • azi

    not everyone has the right to text, you kind of at least have to know someone to text them, otherwise you have to leave a message to get in touch

  • Mollysucks

    lazy fuck. there are many more interesting, if not important, things to write about than how you hate voicemail. what a ridiculous thing to hate.

  • http://twitter.com/enbrown Elizabeth

    This can be solved by Google Voice. Never see that annoying voicemail icon on your phone again! Read your voicemails via email like any decent message should be recieved. Plus, the translations are fun, like when it translates your ex-boyfriend saying “car” to “cock” when he tells you he has a car if you want to go for a ride …

  • SB

    Sorry people are being dicks about your article, Molls. I'm sure most of them are part of the needy whiner population you're referencing.

    I totally agree with you though, voicemail sucks and I will always automatically delete the message and just call or text them back.

  • http://twitter.com/emmacunningham Emma Cunningham

    I don't mind voicemails if people are actually telling me something they need me to know (I can understand not wanting to type it all out in a short enough version for a text message). I do hate the “Hi it's ____, call me back!” messages, though. That's a waste of my time and airtime.

  • savagegirl

    Who is self centered here?
    Ever consider that there might be folks without cell phones out there?
    All my calls originate from my house phone, the kind with a cord that attaches to the wall and always works.
    Do I leave voicemails? Not if I can avoid it. I am familiar with the joys of caller id.
    For all of my friends, unless I must convey specific information that does not require that they call me back, they get only my # recorded.
    However there are situations where a message is required. In ANY message leaving situation, I write myself a script, including for my closest friends, to prevent being longwinded, and inconsiderate or sounding deranged.
    You might be one of those cell phone flakes without a real telephone, you know, the kind with a cord that plugs into the wall. Oh, and in general, a trend of writing essays all starting with “I HATE” is so very childish, as is giving your dog such a foolish name.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=58215584 Victoria Merida

      Were you in special education in grammar school? Because, if you rode the short bus, I'll refrain from making fun of you.

      • savagegirl

        No short bus. In fact, post high school reading level in 2nd grade, gifted programs, AP placements etc.
        If you are referring to my script writing to leave messages, the telephone call can create a little anxiety and when leaving messages. The script keeps everything cool and concise.
        If you would like to make fun of my lack of a cell phone, go ahead, but since I work out of a home goldsmithing studio and no cell provider provides a signal worth shit in my area, I have stopped paying the extra money. I don't miss the obnoxious little thing in my life, and you can't tell me not pissing money away is dumb.
        If you want to make fun of me because you can't live without your iphone and its apps and your texting, go ahead.
        I'll go back to my studio and make the work like I have for the last fifteen years, the way it's been made for the last couple of thousand years.

    • bah

      if you don't get a call back, it's not due to lack of voice mail, it's due to not wanting to.

    • Ms. Frank

      I don’t have a cell phone and I think it is a bit presumptuous to assume everyone is going to know you don’t answer your voice mail. It comes off snobbish and like what another poster said, what if it is a professional call that isn’t a number that has called you before? Then they get a message about a full mailbox…yeah unprofessional and lazy. I leave detailed voice mails when I need too, that have info on them the other person needs to hear. Yes, I could leave yet another text, but I feel it is more personal to leave a text. Especially if it is business or telling someone “Happy Birthday.”. It sure beats texting or FB.

  • DiTrapano

    Jesus. This is a tough crowd. It's like the Vice commenters went to college and then returned to Thought Catalog after graduation. Molls, you're hilarious. I never answer my voicemails either.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VWD6E2QERSG3GFPPHBS47WR24Q Nick

    Wow Molly. So many people feel the need to put you in your place.

    What was that thing you said about the most needy and annoying voicemail people needing to have their feelings felated?

    Looks like you got that one spot on, honeychild.

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