Like most millennials, I hate phone calls. And yes, that includes video calls, FaceTime, Zoom, you name it.

You probably have a better chance of getting hold of me via smoke signal than through phone or video calls.

Admittedly, when people try to call me, I generally wait for them to stop ringing, then text them asking them what they want ‘coz I refuse to speak over the phone.

Don’t get me wrong, I mean no disrespect. Shoot me a text and ask me to come hang and I’m there in a flash and will give you 110% of my love and attention. But talk on the phone? No bueno.

Unfortunately for the many folks who share my hatred of calls, self-isolation has meant that we not only have to communicate with our mates through a device now, we’re also forced to give them a peek into our dank lair and gaze at our unkempt isolated selves.

Because this whole video chat thing is new to many of us, I thought I’d pull together a list of handy rules to abide by when you’re on a video call, whether it’s a work meeting, a catch-up with nan or digital after-work drinks with mates.

Rule #1: The mute button is your friend

With most work meetings, uni classes etc, the general formula is that your boss or lecturer will give you the tea, then ask you to chime in.

Hot tip: While they’re blabbing, be sure to keep your microphone on mute.

Why? Oh, I don’t know… so they don’t hear that you’re watching The Simpsons in the background (true story, one that may or may not have inspired this yarn).

Which leads to the next rule of thumb.

Rule #2: Don’t be watching TV or listening to music

I’ll admit, it was a dick move on my part.

Just like you shouldn’t be scrolling through social media when you’re out to dinner with mates, also don’t be watching or listening to shit when you’re in a video chat.

Rule #3: Dress appropriately

When you’re having an afterwork bev and a yarn with your mates, by all means, be your most chill and comfortable self in trackies and have your hair up in a top-knot.

But when you’re talking to your boss or a bunch of your classmates, however, dress sensibly.

One needn’t have the butler fetch your diamond tiara from the vault, but maybe pop on a casual tee instead of a crop top or wife-beater singlet.

Rule #4: If their camera is on, yours should be, too

This one is pretty case by case, but generally, if you’re on a video call with several colleagues, and their cameras are all on, it’s a pretty bad look for them to be hearing you but not seeing you like you’re the boss on Charlie’s freaking Angels.

It’ll also show your boss and colleagues that you’re up, dressed and ready to get shit done while working from home.

As for chatting with your mates, if they’ve opted to give you a gritty look into how they’re spending isolation, you oughta be a good mate and do the same.

Rule #5: Look ’em in the lens

It’s common decency to look people in the eye when you’re talking to them in person, right?

The eyes are the window to the soul, after all.

So make sure you’re looking into the camera lens when speaking to appear more connected and attentive with the person you’re chatting to.

Rule #6: Don’t all speak at once

Just like it’s rude as fuck to speak over a mate when they’re talking in real life, it’s also a shit move online.

The thing is, you actually need to be extra courteous on a video chat ‘coz with the global WFH initiative absolutely frying NBNs everywhere, video chats can be laggy and glitchy, so be v. sensitive and patient with your mates to avoid becoming video chat persona non grata.