I have a rule: If writing an email will take longer than a few minutes, I make a phone call instead. It saves me a lot of time.
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And what happens when you make the call but no one picks up? You won't get any official notice if someone blocks your calls - but you can make an educated guess by looking for these signs:
The sound of silence
When you block a number, you no longer receive calls or text messages from that person. This step helps stop unwanted spam calls, but it's also great for personal reasons.
The first indication that something's up is the most obvious: You call and send text messages, but you get no response. There are many reasons this might be happening, of course, but a blocked number is one possibility.
For most cases, texts you send will appear to go through usually, but the person you're sending them to won't receive them. That silence is your first hint something is wrong.
What about text messages? Here are the steps to know if someone actually read your text.
Count the rings before voicemail
It's a normal call when you call a person and hear the usual number of rings before getting voicemail. But if the person has blocked you, here's the big indicator. You only hear a single ring before being diverted to voicemail.
There are a few caveats. An unusual ring pattern doesn't necessarily mean your number is blocked. It may just mean the person is talking to someone else at the same time you're calling, has the phone off, or sent the call directly to voicemail.
Try again later. If the one-ring and straight-to-voicemail pattern persists, it likely may be a case of a blocked number.
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If you make a call and receive an automated message along the lines of "the customer is unavailable," that person's wireless carrier may have blocked you. The messages can vary, but the result is the same. Your call won't go through.
Again, a blocked number isn't the only reason for a message like this. But it's a strong indication you've been blocked.
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It could be something else
Don't jump to conclusions even if you suspect your number is blocked. There may be a simple reason why your calls aren't going through. There could be a network problem, the person may have their phone turned off, the battery is dead, or they didn't pay their bill on time. It happens.
You could try to disguise your phone number. There are ways to hide your number from caller ID, either by changing your call settings or by downloading an app that will handle it for you.
Don't be a jerk. Use this power wisely. Respect that person's decision if someone doesn't want to hear from you.
We all have more photos than we know what to do with. Most are on our phones and computers, but then there are all the albums and frames full of old printed photos too. In this episode, you'll learn how the pros take care and organize photos before it's too late.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, "Komando."
Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Someone not answering? How to know if your calls have been blocked.