Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Image hosting by PhotobucketAfter my triple dose of cooing and diapers this afternoon, I'm feeling a bit ranty. Here's something I've always wondered. When I answer my mobile phone, I usually say "Hello?" and then wait for the person on the other end of the line to identify themselves. This is the standard telephone greeting in the States. This seems to confuse some people here in Sweden. I've tried answering the phone by saying my name, but it just feels wrong.

I find many things in Sweden to be rational, so why is it the case in Sweden that the person answering the phone says his or her name? I would think it would be the other way around. Presumably, especially if you are calling a mobile number, you already know who you're calling, and it should be your job as the caller to introduce yourself. (Most mobile numbers seem to be personal phones anyway, i.e. used by a single individual, except of course in the case fo snoopy signficant others who are curious why your phone is ring repeatedly at 3 am.) As the callee, it cannot be assumed that I know who is making my phone ring. When I say "hello," that greeting is followed by a question mark, as well as an implicit "With whom am I speaking?". I want to know who is on the other end of the line before I give them my name.

Gotta go. It seems I have a phone call.



Blogger Engel said...

It is amazing to me how irrational the world seems outside one's native community. Like eating mayannaise with every meal in Spain, for example. Or driving on the wrong side of the road...

7:56 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Det där var så sant... från och med nu ska jag svara "hallå" i ren trots.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Cee said...

Uppfostrad med att svar antingen med
* Mitt fulla namn
* Familjens efternamn
* Vårt telefonnummer

Antar att det är en rest från de dagarna då det satt telefonister och kopplade samtalen, då var man tvungen att först få koll på att man blivit kopplad till rätt ställe.

Idag så svarar jag antingen med mitt förnamn, eller bara ett "Hallå".
de som ringer till mig får skylla sig själva =)

9:30 PM  
Blogger draksessan said...

I ALWAYS answer with hello. And it really bugs my mom *L*
She's trying to educate me (a 30-something)how to answer the phone in a polite way... but HEY it's MY phone...

9:45 PM  
Blogger Viktor said...

i've always answered with a "hello", it feels rather uncomfortable to identify myself at first without knowing who is calling, and I also feel that whoever is calling should introduce themselves at first. This is particulary true when answering an old style phone where caller-id is not available or if I'm answering with my handsfree and can't be bothered to pick up the mobile to actually see who is calling.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I don't know about Sweden, but the couple of times I've called friends in Denmark they've always answered with their name. Which was kind of weird at first since I was pretty sure who I was calling in the first place . . .

Also one time in Spain I said "No thanks" to mayonnaise with some chips and I'm sure the waiter gave me the evil eye. Hmm . . .

9:49 PM  
Blogger Sven Holmström said...

The idea is to make sure that the caller hasn't called wrong. A lot of people answer with their phone numbers instead, as cee said.

/sven (bosporen.se)

10:36 PM  
Anonymous good one said...

Funny, because it annoys me how here people throw the "Hello!" in my ear (I don't hear a questionmark), of course just because I'm taught to answer with my name.

I am getting used to it though, so I will probably go "A?" when back in Sweden.

Instead of "Pernilla?"

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Johan said...

Have started to use Hello! instead of my name, because it confuses all the Telemarketing people calling at all hours.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Francis S. said...

I use a mix these days, sometimes hallå and sometimes my name - at work it's usually the name, the rest of the time hallå.

What gets me most is when people use only their surnames. It always throws me for a loop and I wonder if I've somehow rung up the army by mistake.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Fayth Allure said...

i never knew people answered with there name, being from the states and all... but it makes me wonder.. hope life is treating you very well!

12:09 AM  
Anonymous David said...

På den gamla goda tiden när man inte hade mobiltelefoner så hatade jag verkligen folk som svarade 'Hello' eller med efternamn.

Ofta ringde man ju till kompisar som bodde hemma med sina syskon och föräldrar. Syskon kan ofta låta likadana över telefonlinjen och då blev det alltid en osäkerhet huruvida man pratade med den man ville eller med ett syskon.

Svara med förnamn är alltså bra :-)

12:22 AM  
Blogger Me said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:20 AM  
Blogger Me said...

I've got a friend here in Japan who always answers: "Yes, who is it?" Quite effective, even though
I found it a little bit rude in the beginning. I'm used to it now.
As I have both Japanese and foreign friends calling me, I usually answer the Japanese way coupled with "hello": "Moshi-moshi-hello".

3:23 AM  
Anonymous mia said...

I found it rude to just say "hello". The idea of saying your name or phone number is as someone already mentioned to make sure the caller actually called the right number.


"Hi, it's Mia. Did you hear that Anders Larsson got arrested yesterday for "pedofili" (English?)!? Who could believe that of him!"
"Sorry - Anders Larsson? You mean my neighbour? Who are you?"

It could get very awkward...

Instead of:

"Oh sorry, then I have the wrong number!"

I always answer my home phone with my last name, and my cell phone with my first name.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Mio said...

The most irritating thing is when people answers with their own number. That doesnt do anyone any good ^^ But as has been said, its probably a rest from the old times when it was telephonists connecting you. I myself always answers with my first name in the familyphone, "Hello?" in the cellphone and when I'm feeling formal both my first and last name :P

And this goodbye thing... Is americans always like the movies - never says goodbye?

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Terese said...

Min mormor svarar alltid med sitt telefonnummer, mina föräldrar svarar alltid med sitt efternamn (fast det blir lite löjligt, tycker jag, när pappa till och med svarar i sin mobil med sitt efternamn). Jag svarar med efternamnet när jag är hemma hos mina föräldrar, men annars svarar jag alltid hallå. Jag är lite misstänksam mot telefoner, vill helst veta vem jag pratar med innan jag berättar vem jag är, dessutom är det lite roligt att höra hur förvirrade en del blir. :) Hehe. Mina syskon svarar alltid antingen med förnamn eller hallå. Det känns bra med hallå helt enkelt. :)

11:45 AM  
Anonymous R said...

I always answer depending on who is calling my mobile.
If it's work-related, I answer : "hello, this is R."
If it's personal, I answer with: "Hey,___ (name of whoever is calling me)!"

If caller is unidentified either by caller-ID or by my mobile's contact list, then I let voicemail answer it. If it's important enough, they'll leave a message. Otherwise, I didn't miss anything.

Try it, it works beautifully! :-)

4:17 PM  
Blogger °ºO(Tankebubblor) said...

Hej! Din blogg finns med bland mina favoriter!

När jag bodde hos mamma och pappa så svarade alla med vårt efternamn i telefonen.
När jag flyttade så började jag med att svara med mitt förnamn. Numera, när det finns nummerpresentatör, så svarar jag med mitt förnamn. men om jag inte känner igen numret så kan jag svara hallå. och är det så att inget nummer visas, ja då säger jag definitivt bara hallå??

När jag ringer upp någonstans så brukar jag alltid presentera mig för alla.

7:52 PM  
Blogger eff said...

It's all due to the deeply rooted fear, in most Swedes, of sounding like you have no clue that is the cause of the answer-with-your-name behaviour.

If you call someone who answers "hello" and start yammering on about this or that, and then the person says "I don't know you" you've clearly made a mistake. Which is usually something Swedes have a hard time dealing with. To say "oh, I got the wrong number, sorry" is usually unacceptable, and most people just hang up if they notice they did. At least that's my experience.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous good one said...

Shortly after reading this, for the first time since I came to the US, I picked up the phone and answered with my name! And, after a confused silence: "eeehem, I mean, Hello?".

Of course it was my Internship Supervisor calling. =)

3:22 AM  
Blogger Patrik said...

To my swedish ears it sounds impolite when someone answers with hallå instead of their name. And it is good when you call someone living with their family if they answer with their name because then you know right away if you are speaking with the right person.

When I lived at my parents place I was often misstaken for my father so I had to answer with my name instead of my phonenumber which I used when I was younger.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well where I come from most people tend to say "Hi, this is ..." My parents say our family name, my sister and I both our name and family to try and make it easy for the caller I suppose. But some expect a "Hello" so they tend to not listen, which usually results in something like this:
"Hello, this is Anne Smith"
"am I speaking to Caroline?"
*annoyed frowning*
"No, this is Anne, I'll get you Caroline"
Meh :D

5:51 AM  

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