Revealed: Most annoying phone habits

Business telecommunications provider, 4Com has investigated Britons’ thoughts on bad telephone manners1 and found that one in five (19%) would instantly hang up the phone if the person on the other end had annoying habits.

Monday, 15th April 2019, 3:47 pm
Annoying phones habits - texting

According to the nation, the top five annoying phone habits are:

Someone having a conversation with someone else in the background (43%) Being interrupted whilst speaking (42%) Someone not listening/clearly distracted (41%) Being put on hold (39%) Someone eating their food/having a drink whilst speaking (35%)

Annoying phone habits

When asked how they would respond to these habits, nearly a third (30%) admitted to sticking true to British politeness by not saying or doing anything at all, a reaction favoured by women (32%) over men (17%).

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Over one in four (28%) simply zone out, whist over a quarter (26%) would feel comfortable interrupting and informing them their phone habits are irritating. For one in five (19%) however, bad phone manners are so irritating, they would simply hang up the phone with no explanation.

The research also revealed the worst culprits for bad phone habits. The top five offenders are:

Professionals (e.g. sales reps, receptionists) (42%) Friends (13%) Colleagues (12%) Child/children (11%) Mum (10%)

When it comes to the bad habits Brits admit to having themselves while on the phone, over one in ten (11%) confessed to interrupting people when they desperately want to say something, despite nearly half (42%) finding being interrupted the most annoying thing to happen during a phone call.

Similarly, while someone eating their food/drinking whilst speaking ranks in the top five annoying habits, 6% of Britons admit to doing this. On the other hand, a third (33%) believe they have no annoying phone habits at all.

Commenting on the research, Mark Pearcy, Head of Marketing at 4Com, says: “Even with the rise in texting and emails, we still spend a lot of time communicating over the phone - whether it be with clients, colleagues, friends or family. It’s clear from this research that despite this, a lot of us are struggling to show good phone manners. It’s particularly interesting to see that the habits we find the most irritating are some of the same as the ones we know we do to other people. Having good manners is even more important on the phone as unlike face-to-face communication, you can’t work off the expressions that come with the other person.”

To find out more about the research and phone etiquette tips, head to: