Dear Blake,

My friend has this habit of phoning me while she is walking her dog or driving somewhere. To put it bluntly, she calls when she is otherwise engaged and biding her time until she finishes the walk or reaches her destination.

When she walks “Gonzo,” I have to contend with his barking, her admonishing Gonzo for pulling on the leash, or the wind, which makes it difficult to hear her. When she’s driving, the connection is often iffy. She has done this for years, but recently it has started to seriously annoy me. I wish she would call when she’s sitting in a quiet room and not preoccupied with something else. Is that too much to ask? How can I politely tell her this?

Signed, Mildred
From Topeka, Kansas

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Dear Mildred,

It is entirely possible that your friend is unaware of the compelling distractions you are forced to endure. So she can relate to the audio torture that you’re constantly being subjected to, you should feel obligated to create some distractions that you’re also completely “unaware” of. Here are some possibilities you should consider, and then get her on the phone. Since she likes dogs, go to a rescue center and talk to her while you’re near a cage that has dog barking nonstop in the most irritating tone. Or, call her while you’re at a construction site, standing next to a guy using a jack hammer. Or this idea. Call her from a party, and be standing next to a speaker that’s blasting a genre of music that you know she can’t stand. And this final suggestion. Because of her iffy connections, while on the phone, press the mute button every two seconds so you fade in an out, mute her for about 10 seconds, and then unmute her saying “It was very important that you know, so act on it at this moment because your life depends on it,” … and then immediately turn your phone off so her panicky calls a few seconds later go straight to voicemail. I hope this helps.