Ask Amy: Do misdialed numbers require return calls?

November 22, 2013 

Dear Amy: Recently, I misdialed my phone while attempting to call my husband.

As soon as I heard the voicemail message, I realized my mistake and hung up. Several hours later, the person I accidentally called me and said someone from this number had called him.

I told the caller that I had called his number by accident and that's why I didn't leave a message.

I have noticed friends and family doing this all the time; they will see that they missed calls on their phones and then call that number back, not even knowing who the caller is.

This seems odd to me. I don't understand why you would return a "missed call" from someone you do not know and who did not leave you a message.

What is the appropriate response to a missed call with no message left on your voicemail? Is it appropriate to call them back?

Conversely, should I have left a voicemail message to the misdialed number, saying that I called the wrong number and apologize? This has happened to me a couple of times, and I would like to know the polite way to handle it.

— Miss Dialer in Saratoga

Dear Miss Dialer: I am aware of, and also confused by, this phenomenon. The only explanation I have for the tendency to return a misdialed call (even many hours later) is sheer unadulterated curiosity. What if opportunity is not knocking but … calling?

Other (younger) members of my household report that (in their world) it is now considered obnoxious to leave a message! They say when they receive a "missed call," they consider it like a tap on the shoulder, and they always respond, even if they don't recognize the number. They return the call, and say, "Hi, I'm returning a call placed from this number."

I'll happily let readers weigh in on the reasons behind missedcallitis.

Dear Amy: I was interested in the question from "Dad," who was excessively worried about his daughter's choice to travel to Europe and stay for a week with a guy she had met on a cruise the year before.

Among Dad's worries was that his daughter (in her late 20s) was "unladylike."

I assume, therefore, that if the daughter was a son who had the exact same plans, the father would have no objection.

— Steamed

Dear Steamed: I share your assumption.

You can contact Amy Dickinson via email at askamy@tribune.com, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

The Fresno Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service