I have a flip phone that my parents use to contact me. Since only my parents contact me on it, I generally assume that if my phone dings, it's kinda important that I read it. For example, this past afternoon, my phone dinged in the middle of a conversation with my friend's parent, and I needed to check it because my parents were coming at some point to pick me up.

What's a polite way to check one's phone in such a situation?

2 Answers 2


You can just say it is a text/call you were expecting from a family member. The reason this works is due to 2 factors

  1. You bring up the fact that you are about to check your phone, this is not considered rude compared with just going for your phone and interrupting whatever you were doing.
  2. A call from a family member is a perfectly valid reason to pick up the phone, no one would hold it against you.
  • 5
    Precisely. My phone made a text noise while I was with a doctor. I said "that will be my daughter, she's in labour" then picked the phone up to read the text. The doctor didn't object at all and asked after her and such. Aug 5, 2017 at 2:14

In addition to @moonpire00's answer, I think that it would be good to frame this as a question, rather than assuming their consent.

Sorry, do you mind if I take/read this? It's _______ (valid reason why it is a particularly important message)

Pretty much everyone will consent, but it gives people a chance to voice their opinion, and shows more respect.

  • I wouldn't make a question of it if i'm not ready to accept a no for an answer, which seems to be OPs situation, instead i'd say: Sorry, i really need to check this. It's _______ (reason why it is so important)
    – Brian H.
    Sep 13, 2017 at 14:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.