F is for Formality or Familiarity?

Oh it’s yet another one of those classic modern day dilemmas. Of course it involves the misapprehension of others (I can’t just come straight out with it and call them simple or downright stupid. It may well be a stark and uncompromising fact but it’s a little rice and I was raised to have at least slightly average manners). I’m sure I must have discussed once or twice before over the course of this grand behemoth of a blog that I don’t much like having to answer phones that don’t belong to me (it involves far too much explanation and having to dance around the truth behind my kleptomaniac ways.  Oh come on, like I would admit to such a thing on here…).

But every once in a while, the task of picking up falls to me (generally because I’m the only one in the house but admitting that has the unfortunate effect of making my life sound altogether far too dull don’t you think?). I suppose it’s hardly intensely surprising that people who call up and expect to hear a woman’s voice assume that the one that answers must belong to the person they desired conversing with (that is my rather roundabout way of saying that people reckon I must be my mum when I say hello). So once it’s been established that I’m not her, who do I say I am?

I can sink into formality and ask if I can take a message in my occasional capacity of unpaid secretarial intern for the lady in demand. But then I run the risk of alienating a dear family friend who will no doubt go on to ridicule me for such a gaffe or come to think I’m a little bit up myself (much in the same way as I would imagine someone else to be were they to talk to me in such a fashion when I’ve known them all my life. Or I’m totally overthinking this and no one really care. But do hang on, there’s another option yet). Or I reveal to a tax inspector who really isn’t interested that I’m the daughter or even worse, given someone my name when they haven’t as clue as to who I am (as if such a hopelessly uninformed person could exist). Telephone etiquette, it’s a minefield. Although, hopefully not literally.


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