Have you ever had a cell phone call dropped, whether it is a Boulder to Boulder call or a Boulder to Mexico or to Iceland call? If that has not happened to you, you have never used a cell phone! Is it possible to ease any of the stress and annoyance associated with simple cell phoning? Are there things we do that make our life harder and not easier in how we use our cell phones? Specifically, can we avoid the frustration when a call is dropped, and both parties are trying to call each other back? Consider that the reality is that we do NOT know why a call was dropped. We might think we do, but we do not.                                              Why Was My Call Dropped? Can I Ever Really Know?

Although we cannot stop calls from being dropped, we CAN control what we do after the call is dropped. Even better, the best trick is simple. It saves time, and most important, it saves aggravation, duplication, and minimizes  having to bang your head against the wall (my favorite). So what is this simple way to improve our lives, reduce our stress and (I love this part) reduce wasted time? AND IS EASY?

I must give my computer-genius brother credit for this. He deserves it. Thanks Bro! I’ll share the knowledge.

Did you ever think you knew the reason the call was dropped? Blame the signal? Blame the phone? Blame anything from sunspots to a weak bluetooth battery? How do we really know why a call was dropped?

The answer and the reality is we never know why a call is dropped. Once the call is dropped, how often have you tried calling the other person back? And when you did that how often did you get their voicemail, probably because they were trying to call you back at the same time? The question is not “has that ever happened?” The question is “has that happened once today, or more”?

Of course you got their voice mail, since they are trying to call you back at the same time you are calling them back. This game of “reverse phone tag” can go on for as long as either person has any patience left. If the person at each end of the call is on the obsessive side (did I say me?), this lose-lose scenario can continue until one or both cell phones find themselves hitting the floor or the wall at great speed. And that is not good for the wall or for the cell phone. When one of the two on the call finally reaches the point of total frustration, a voice mail is left. THEN, the other end of the call must figure out that they have a message, retrieve the message, and then the problem is STILL not resolved! Both ends of the call pick up the message, call each other back, and we’re back where we started.

Is this a true conundrum? Is this a problem with no solution besides the guaranteed tried and true smashing of the cell phone? I am happy to share that the answer is “there is an EASY solution”. What if only ONE of the two people on the call is calling the other back after the dropped call? Instant re-connection! No extra attempts, no roll over to voice mail because the other person is trying to call you back at the same time? When two trains are on the same track and headed towards each other, it simply can’t end well.

Enough suspense? Yup! Here’s a great way to start your day, or to finish your day, or to improve your day anytime between start and finish. Here’s the secret. No more suspense.

Whoever initiated the call, re-initiates the call.

I’m going to repeat that, so if you already grok it in fullness (see below for translation if needed), all that remains is to spread the word. The more of us on the same page the more the solution spreads like an insider tip on a stock. That means it spreads FAST!

Whoever made the call initially is the one that will call back if or when the connection is dropped.

It is pointless to try to figure out why or where or how the call was dropped. It does not matter how sure you are that you know the reason for the call interruption. Regardless of how certain you are that you know why the call was dropped, what if the other person thinks that they know why the call was dropped? We’re back where we started, with two people trying to call each other at the same time. It did not work the first time, and will not work the 10th time either.

This is so good that I’m going to risk being annoying (for me, not much risk, since I can be annoying with very little effort) and repeat it again. If you placed the call, and the call is dropped, you are the one who makes the call again. Not the person who received the call. Not the person who is “confident” that they know the reason for the call being dropped. Not even the obsessive one who cannot wait for a minute, patiently or not, for the other person to call back. If YOU made the call, YOU re-initiate the call. If you received the call, YOU WAIT! The person who called you will call you back.

The efficacy of this approach is self-evident. All dropped calls are NOT created equal! We never really know why a call was dropped. But we ARE in control of who calls back. Whoever made the call, whoever initiated the call, re-initiates the call. If you made the call, YOU and ONLY YOU makes the call back. If you get voice mail, which will rarely happen, leave a message. Most of the time you will get right through to the person you called to begin with. Even if they had an emergency and had to drop the phone and run, this plan works. Have I EVER had this approach, this solution, fail? Perhaps once, perhaps never. Virtually all of the time the re-connection is about instant with no phones hitting the wall, no heads hitting the wall, and for most of us, no time wasted and no unnecessary frustration. And in the world we find ourselves living in, about anything that keeps our frustration level down is a wonderful thing. When the plan that that keeps our frustration down is easy, then it is really a wonderful thing.

If you’ve gotten your head around this, stop reading and skip on down to the next of our fascinating, wonderful, helpful, life-improving blogs. You have no more to learn from this one. For anyone who is still not clear, I’ll say it again for the last time.

When, not if a call is dropped, whoever initiated the call is the one to re-initiate the call.

May you have reduced stress and happier phone calls.

*”Grok it in fullness” is from Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle. It means “fully grasp the idea.”

Lenny Lensworth Frieling

Shared Knowledge is Power!


  • Senior Counsel Emeritus to the Boulder Law firm Dolan + Zimmerman LLP : (720)-610-0951
  • Former Judge
  • Photographer of the Year, AboutBoulder 2023
  • First Chair and Originator of the Colorado Bar Association’s Cannabis Law Committee, a National first.
  • Previous Chair, Boulder Criminal Defense Bar (8 years)
  • Twice chair Executive Counsel, Colorado Bar Association Criminal Law Section
  • NORML Distinguished Counsel Circle
  • Life Member, NORML Legal Committee
  • Life Member, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar
  • Board Member Emeritus, Colorado NORML
  • Chair, Colorado NORML, 7 years including during the successful effort to legalize recreational pot in Colorado
  • Media work, including episodes of Fox’s Power of Attorney, well in excess of many hundreds media interviews, appearances, articles, and podcasts, including co-hosting Time For Hemp for two years.
  • Board member, Author, and Editor for Criminal Law Articles for the Colorado Lawyer, primary publication of the Colorado Bar Assoc. 7 Years, in addition to having 2 Colorado Lawyer cover photos, and numerous articles for the Colorado Lawyer monthly publication.
  • LEAP Speaker, multi-published author, University lectures Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, Denver University Law School, Univ. of New Mexico, Las Vegas NM, and many other schools at all levels.