I don't understand what is so damn complicated about returning a phone call in a timely fashion. Let me define timely fashion: within 24 hours. 24 hours is a lot of hours, really -- that should leave a person plenty of time to pick up their phone, dial my number, and acknowledge the fact that I left them a message. Even if they don't have an answer -- assuming I had a question. Just call me and say, "I got your message and I'm looking into it, but I don't have an answer for you yet." Seriously, why is this complicated?
And this isn't just a work-based issue. For the record, should any of my friends ever read this, I think you're rude and self-involved if you can't return my call within a day or two. Because I like you, you get 72 hours before I get pissy and bad-mouth you to someone else in the circle. After that, you're fair game.
And in that vein, if you're trying to avoid responding to an email that I've sent you about, oh, say, my birthday party or whatever, don't send me a Read Receipt. See, because that way I know you got the email, and probably read it, and then I just get mad when you wait until a week after the event discussed in the email to write back and tell me you can't come. If you're trying to avoid someone, please do it with a little sense. I'm not completely stupid. Maybe a bit, but not completely.