Someone Hangs up on You: What Should You Do?

Here’s what you should do when someone hangs upon you:

Call them back if you think the disconnect was unintentional. If you are confident that they hung up on you on purpose, you will have to gauge whether or not a fast redial would be productive. 

If not, you can consider sending a text or leaving a voicemail to maintain dialogue without forcing immediate conversation.

So if you want to learn all about what you should do when someone hangs upon you, then you’re in the right place.

Keep reading!

Why Did They Hang Up Upon You?

The true answer to this question depends entirely on the situation. What was the call about, and why did they hang up on you? Those two questions determine everything, and they can vary completely depending on the call.

Was this a business call? If so, did they hang up because they were unhappy, or were they interrupted by other business? Parsing that information is necessary in order to make a calculated next move.

If there is no malice in their action, then it’s probably best to contact them again. If they ended the call while unhappy, further communication may prove difficult.

What if the call was with a friend or family member? That’s a completely different context. Even so, you have to try to determine the nature of the call’s ending. 

Were they mad and ducking out of an unpleasant conversation? Did they get another call and bungle call waiting? Are they teasing you with abnormal levels of commitment?

Figuring out why a person kills a phone call should always be the first step. The great challenge is when you are unsure. Below, you will find key questions to think about that can help you weigh your options and consider the best paths forward for additional communication, but none of those ideas are as valuable until you answer this first question.

When you can’t be sure of why the call ended, that is when you have to make blind decisions in order to get more information. Sometimes, that will entail recontacting the very person who just hung up on you. 

Other times, you can use mutual contacts, context clues, or other forms of communication to try to better understand the situation.

When you think you have at least some clue as to what happened, you can go through the list and likely find the best option.

Can You Wait a Moment and See After They Hung up on You?

Hanging up isn’t always intentional. If it was unintended or a dropped call, the other person will likely try to contact you right away. If you think this is the case, give them a minute or two to see what happens. If they don’t call back right away, you can decide from there what the best course of action is.

Keep in mind that they may not be immediately aware of the disconnect. Especially when features like call waiting are in play, some amount of confusion is entirely possible. When you are sure that they are not going to call you right back, then consider the next point.

When Should You Call Them Back After They Hung up on You?

Any time the conversation is left unfinished, and you have no reason to believe that they hung up on you out of malice, call them back. Naturally, you can wait if you think the disconnect was unintentional, but if they don’t call you back right away, feel free to take the initiative. You can finish the conversation, or you might find out why the call was disconnected.

If you were talking with someone who is not a friend or personal contact, calling them back makes a lot of sense. This is especially true for business calls. Even if you can only get their voicemail on a redial, you can at least leave a message and keep the avenues of communication open.

What About a Text After They Hung up on You?

If calling them back does not work or feels inappropriate for any reason, you can consider a text message. Whether the call was personal or professional, texting is still a viable alternative to a phone call.

In your text, you can clarify why the call ended. You can explain that there was an unexpected disconnect (or whatever the reason happened to be) and establish an alternative form of communication. You can apologize if appropriate.

If the disconnect was on their end, then your text message is leaving the door open for further communication. They can respond with a text or call you back according to the timing that they choose.

Maybe You Should Give it More Time?

So far, all of these ideas are built on the assumption that the hang-up was not malicious. What if it was? What if you were talking to a friend, they got angry, and they abruptly, deliberately hung up on you?

Often, the best course of action is to do nothing right away. Give yourself time to calm down and collect your thoughts. Give the other party time for the same. If you push a conversation when someone was angry enough to hang up like that, you are unlikely to find the discussion productive.

Naturally, you have to use your discretion here. Some matters are too urgent to wait, but if waiting is an option, a little bit of time can change everything.

What Do You Really Think About the Situation?

Sometimes, things are unclear. The hang-up is unexpected and disruptive. You might not be sure if it was deliberate or not. These situations can be difficult to read, especially with over-the-phone communication that takes away so many social cues.

While brooding over an event like this is not ideal, it is important to contemplate the situation. Think about what happened and why. Try to genuinely understand the other party’s point of view. If you can do that, you can probably navigate the situation and find a good way to resume communication.

Is it a Real Emergency?

If the call involved an emergency, or if you think the call ended because of a genuine emergency, then don’t take your time to cool off or think about things. Decide the best way to assist in handling the emergency.

Sometimes, the best thing will be to call the other person right back and see if you can maintain communication. You might be able to get information from them that allows you to offer some kind of remote assistance.

In other cases, getting physical help to them might be the most important thing. You can call emergency services on their behalf if you believe it is warranted.

Should You Just Move On?

Not all calls are personal. Anyone who has ever made a cold call for a business can attest to that fact. In fact, let’s assume that is the case in order to make a point.

When you cold call people, some of them will respond by hanging up. The entire conversation is a nonstarter for them. When that is the case, your best bet is to remove their number from your list and move on. 

You don’t necessarily want to give up contacts, but if no conversation is possible, then don’t waste your time.

In fact, you can even try to appreciate that their refusal to talk saved you time. Rather than running into a long-winded dead end, you were told immediately that this contact is not valuable, and you can move on to more productive endeavors.

In the case of cold calls, moving on isn’t always the right answer. If you think there is value in continuing the conversation, call them back. This would be where someone did have a conversation with you, but the call was interrupted at some point in the middle. 

You will have to use your discretion to decide if the contact is still valuable and how long you should wait to try to contact them again. Sometimes an immediate redial is warranted. Other times, finesse is essential.

Can You Afford to Avoid the Phone?

If the hang-up was particularly jarring, it might be important to reset. You can get off of the phone (at least in most cases). 

Do something else entirely and try to reset mentally and emotionally. Pressing forward with work or relationship challenges is hard to do well when you are rattled.

If you can find something that truly occupies your mind for a bit, it can prevent you from brooding on the phone call and its ending. That allows you to calm down and find a new perspective. From there, you can assess the situation and decide the best course of action.

Should You Involve Another Party?

This is actually the trickiest thing of all when it comes to a hang-up. In a professional setting, you might want to further pursue a business contact, and you can try to use a mutual third-party contact to do so. This might also risk an awkward scenario where you are dragging that third party into a bad conversation. It’s a tough judgment call.

Things are just as awkward in personal relationships. If they hung up on you because they were angry, is it fair to drag someone else into this as a go-between? 

Sometimes, that risk is worth taking. Other times, you’re just complicating an already unpleasant situation. It really boils down to the inner workings of all of the relationships.

The bottom line is that a third party is a viable option that should be entertained with discretion.