Instead of a question, give an immediate answer to the question of why the hell are you not answering my call—something that vaguely refers to you being busy or preoccupied.
- “Hey, I’m in the middle of something, can I call you back?”
- “Hey, I’m on a bus and someone next to me is sleeping, can’t talk.”
- “Yo, on the sidewalk and it’s really loud, what’s happening?”
- “Hey, sorry, I’m in the middle of something, what’s going on?”
The point is to give yourself plausibile deniability about straight-up ignoring the call. Of course you ignored the call. You both know it. But if you have even the semblance of a real reason to not pick up, society lets you off the hook. Don’t ask why it works that way—it’s just the way we’ve all been warped.