Check this out (emphasis mine):
However, the older set needs to know the protocol of younger generations. Such as that calling someone without leaving a message means the other person should call back. I learned that from my sons in their 20s.
Really? So that’s why I get calls back from folks who never bother to listen to my message, including the ones that I leave when I’ve mis-dialed a number.
Given how busy everyone is, I leave very detailed messages as to why I’m calling you. That way, when you call me back, you will be prepared to answer the questions I’ve raised. (And I don’t forget, by the time you call me back, why I called you in the first place!) When you call me back without having listened to my message, you’re wasting two people’s time – yours and mine.
On the flip side, if you call me and don’t leave a message, I’m not going to call you to find out what you want. That, to me, defeats the whole purpose of answering machines, not to mention the whole time-wasting thing.
Understand – this article was written in the context of business behavior – how you handle relationships with clients, co-workers, superiors, and the like – not personal ones. What you do with your friends is a whole different matter. (This article gets to some of that.)
So, dear reader, what do you think? Phone messages or not?