Reader Q&A – Wrong Number

Dear Etiquette By Emily – I have a question regarding receiving a call from a wrong number. I usually just hang up after I say, “wrong number.” My wife, though, said that it’s rude to do that. I guess part of my question is, what else is there to say? What else should I do?

A – Thank you for reaching out! While I don’t think your wife is expecting you to have a full-blown conversation with a stranger on the phone, I do think a little more dialogue would be appropriate. Instead of simply hanging up, saying, “No, I’m sorry. This is the wrong number,” and THEN giving them a chance to say something such as a goodbye or an apology would be more tactful.

Also, if you are the one who dials someone incorrectly, it is always appropriate to give a generic apology and to say goodbye. Kindness goes both ways, and it goes a long way, too!

Your Best vs. The Best

When I was younger, I strove to be the best in everything I did. I’m a classic Type A personality, which shouldn’t be a surprise to any reader. However, while it did drive me to become better at things I was decently good at, it also drove me to not attempt things if I wasn’t sure I had the potential to be the best.

I receive questions from readers asking if they should host an event, such as Thanksgiving, when they don’t have place settings for 20. Without a doubt, the answer is a resounding YES. You aren’t expected to have a full staff on hand and enough china to fill the White House. You aren’t any less of an entertainer than someone who has those resources.

Sure, there are certain areas, such as being welcoming or having a clean bathroom, that we should strive to attain. Don’t become deterred by not being the best that you give up and forget to be your best. This is an area I still struggle with daily. So much, in fact, that sometimes it hits me in the face.

My desire for perfection doesn’t exempt my kids. I probably have much higher expectations for them than are realistic. They humble me daily. My daughter understands the value of being her best instead of THE best. This allows her to “rejoice with those who rejoice.” At the end of last semester, her school had an awards ceremony for the students. One of her very best friends received the Student of the Month award. When she got home, I questioned her on what she could have done better. I thought that if she didn’t get it, she wasn’t going something “right.” I was so wrong, though.

I had the opportunity to speak with her teacher who commended her on being one of the only students not upset that she didn’t receive the award. Her teacher said she was elated for her friend and cheered her on as she went to receive the award. I have so much to learn from her.

I regret not attempting something for fear of failure. However, I would regret more not sharing this with my readers. I certainly don’t want to ever give the impression that your best is anything less than what is needed.

I wonder if the fall from etiquette stems with people and families feeling inadequate. We can only see others from the outside, and, even then, we only see the parts they want us to see. Life will not always be perfect. Even when we get glimpses of perfection, that perfection will elude us soon.

I enjoy hosting events. Others may not. Both are completely fine. Enjoy the parts of life that you love and give yourself grace for the rest.