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People more likely to ignore mobile phone calls from loved ones than strangers

People are more likely to ignore calls from close friends and family than they are colleagues and strangers, claims a new study.

The new research has revealed that nine out of 10 people deliberately ignore their mobile phone, and then lie about the reason why.

Surprisingly, scientists at the University of Salford have discovered it is close friends who are most likely to suffer from being ignored, while calls from work colleagues or the bank are nearly always answered.

Favourite excuses include "I didn't hear it ring" and "I was driving", but more wacky responses ranged from "feeding the cat" to "losing the power of speech".

Three percent of respondents even claimed they were too busy "in the bedroom" to pick up the telephone.

The research suggests that best friends and loved ones are ignored more because they will involve more effort and a longer time to talk to.

But then people feel guilty and so make up an excuse to cover up their rudeness.

Dr Ashley Weinberg, a psychologist at the university, said: "It is natural for people to make excuses for not answering the phone, because they are actually breaching an unwritten psychological contract.

"In other words the caller expects to receive an answer and if they don't get one, whether we pick up or not, we have broken that bond.

"For the sake of our own self-image and the other person's perception of us we feel obliged to live up to that expectation. The rest is down to how plausible the excuse actually is."

The research was carried out for mobile phone recycling company Mopay.

A spokesman for the firm said: "We've all been there and told a white lie to let ourselves off the hook. Many people like the idea of being contactable all the time but can't deal with the consequences.

"Modern technology like Blackberrys and iPhones mean we are constantly in demand. This has its advantages and disadvantages and it seems that when it comes to answering a simple phone call from a friend many choose to ignore it.

"One respondent to our survey said, 'I sometimes use the excuse that I'm on a trampoline so can't pick up'.

"I'm not sure anyone can get away with that."

The Top 10 excuses for not answering a mobile phone are:

1. Didn't hear it ring

2. I was driving

3. Couldn't find my phone

4. Was in a meeting

5. Pressed the wrong button

6. Was in the bathroom when answering

7. Didn't recognise the number

8. Didn't feel like talking

9. Dislike people eavesdropping

10. Busy in the bedroom

© Telegraph.co.uk