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If your call is going to last more than a minute or two, you need to take more drastic action. There are a couple of very practical solutions here.  Both of them will work and your line-mates will appreciate your consideration.  They may even buy you your ticket.  But, of course, don’t hold your breath on that one.


You are in line, say at the movies, and you need to take a call or make a call.  From the onset you know it’s going to be an extended call.  But you do not want to either lose your place or irritate your line-mates.  After all any one of the line-mates may be sitting in front of you.  And if you want them to remove their large floppy hats or skooch down in their seats, you’re going to have to show some courtesy.

Solution #1

Ask your line-mate to save your place as you step out of line to take the call.  This maneuver is referred to as out-stepping and has the positive benefit of being quite considerate of your line mates.  However, there is a risk of losing your place.  So, it must be done with care.


  1. When your phone rings, ask your caller for a second.  You’ll need a bit of time to negotiate with the line.
  2. Turn to your line-mate (i.e., the person behind you) and say “I think this call is going to last a bit.  I think I’ll step out of line.  But can you old my place.  I don’t want you to have to listen to my gabbing.”
  3. If your line-mate has any sense, they will immediately consent to the arrangement.  If you are on a date, of course, your partner can hold your place.  (Be careful however when you take calls from other girlfriends as this complicates the arrangement.  Many a mobo has found themselves without a place in line (or a date) after a phone call if they are having too much fun.)
  4. Step away from the line, but still at a distance where you can make eye contact with the line-mate.
  5. Get back to your caller and carry on your conversation.  But from time to time, look over to your line-mate and make sure that the line has not moved too far.  And that your line-mate understands that you will be returning to your spot.
  • Wave to the line-mate.
  • Put the caller on hold and tell the line-mate “Just one ticket, please.  I’ll pay you back.”
  • If he or she nods, then also add “And a large popcorn, hold the butter.”  Give a thumbs up and get back to your caller.

If you are still talking and you are next in line, you can try the following:

  1. In most cases, the above conversation will miss its mark, but it’s worth a try.
  2. The better solution is to get back in line when you see that you are going to be next.  Or, there are a couple of folks ahead of you.
  3. With the phone pocketed , immediately tell your line-mate :  “You are a life saver!”   This is a perfect opportunity for line bonding.
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