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No, You Hang Up First

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"You move on and find somebody else first."

Lizzie: [to Ronnie, on the phone] You hang up first... No, you hang up first... No, you...
Miranda: [impatient] I'll hang up first! [pulls out the phone line]
Lizzie McGuire, "First Kiss"

A comedy bit where two characters, usually lovers, have to end their telephone conversation and they end up affectionately arguing over which of them should hang up first. Usually only one half of the conversation is heard and it goes somewhat like this:

Character: No, you hang up first.
[a beat]
Character: No, you.
[a beat]
Character: Okay, on three: one, two, three...
[a beat]
Character: No, I didn't hang up, either.

Anyone else present, likely including someone wanting to actually use the phone, will be annoyed out of their minds, especially if this becomes an Overly Long Gag. Eventually they will usually grab the phone off the person and hang it up themselves with a innocent "Oh sorry. I thought you were talking to me".

Unfortunately, all too often Truth in Television, as new romances tend to make people behave in an awkward way, as each person's emotions are so heightened.

An example of how Love Makes You Crazy. Sickeningly Sweethearts are prone to this.


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  • In a TV ad for the city of Las Vegas, a man and a woman go through the routine, each at their respective house, saying "Bye" to each other two or three times without hanging up. In the next scene, the man can only say "Bye" once, because she replies and then hangs up, revealing that this time she's with friends at a Vegas hotel, and wastes no time going out to enjoy the city. The man just stares at the phone, bewildered.
  • A VISA commercial from the 2016 Olympics features athletic married couple Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisan-Eaton boasting to each other of who wakes up first, who gets their shoes tied first, and who starts crying during a movie first. The commercial ends with her telling him to hang up, but she needs only one, "No, you hang up" from him before she does so first, at which point he grins and says he should've seen that coming.
  • An ad for Foster's beer featured a man on the phone in a bar, and when the bartender gets tired of him doing this in a back-and-forth with his girlfriend/wife, the bartender cuts the cord with a pair of scissors to force him to hang up. Foster's calls this "Wireless".
  • A Very Muppet Portal Campaign has a one of these between Gonzo and Camilla that plays pretty much exactly with the formula described above.
    Gonzo: It's getting late, Camilla, we should go.
    Camilla: Buck buck buck.
    Gonzo: No, you hang up.
    Camilla: Buck, buck buck buck.
    Gonzo: Alright, alright, I have an idea. Let's hang up on three.
    Gonzo: Aaalright, on the count of four.

  • A conversation presented by Milton Jones:
    You put it down.
    No, you put it down.
    No, you put it down.
    No, you put it down.
    No, you're the vet, you put it down.

    Live-Action TV 
  • M*A*S*H did one in the episode "There is Nothing Like a Nurse" between (who else?) Frank Burns and Margaret Houlihan. This version had a surprise ending:
    Margaret: Hang up, Frank.
    Frank: You hang up first.
    Margaret: Frank, that's so high school.
    Frank: Well, let's count to three and then we'll hang up together.
    Margaret: Okay, you start.
    Frank: One.
    Margaret: Two.
    Hawkeye and Trapper: [on another line] Three!
    Margaret: Get them Frank!
Burns then chases Pierce and Trapper out, falls in a hole, then they (Pierce and Trapper) park a Jeep on top of him
  • 30 Rock did one between Jack Donaghy and (of all people) an unseen Maureen Dowd.
  • In an episode of Friends, Ross does this with Julie. Eventually Rachel (who's only recently realised she has feelings for Ross) snaps and hangs up for him... at which point Ross actually calls Julie back. "Sorry, where were we? No, YOU hang up first!"
  • Malcolm in the Middle inverted this in both common participants and what is argued over - Francis is angrily arguing with his mother, with both them claiming they'll hang up first. As Francis decided to repeat his claim, his mother succeeds which he acknowledges with an angry "Damn it!". Subverted in another episode where Malcolm tries to start a no-you-hang-up, but his girlfriend interrupts him by actually hanging up.
  • The Nanny had a variation where after a few rounds of "You Hang Up First", another character - annoyed - picked up the receiver and hung up for them.
  • British Sitcom My Family had Ben Harper's assistant go through this routine with her boyfriend, until he grabbed the phone from her, told the boyfriend "No, I'll hang up first." and promptly did.
  • Frasier has a particularly funny example of this: Niles is doing this with Maris via his cell in Frasier's living room, Frasier gets annoyed and dials a number via the house phone. Niles says "Hang on, I'm getting another call" and it turns out to be Frasier yelling "GET THE HELL OFF THE PHONE!" This, in turn, results in a damn hilarious argument over the phone from two grown men who are literally in the same room. Frasier, for his part, does come to the realization that this is ridiculous and hangs up, leading to Niles's indignant "How dare you hang up on me!"
  • How I Met Your Mother plays it straight with Barney... talking to his bookie.
    • It also happened in a season six episode with Ted and Zoey. It starts out normal and sweet, but an hour later it's evolved into a genuine argument to show how Zoey and Ted never agree on anything. Eventually, they're in the same room and still refuse to hang up, so Ted's roommate Robin finally calls him because she's annoyed and tells one of them to hang up already.
    • Also in the season eight episode, "The Over-Correction", wherein Ted briefly dates a prison inmate. The usual conversation ensues, until the violent prison inmate shouts at Ted to "hang up, you little bitch!"
  • Used bizarrely in The 4400 by, of all people Tom Baldwin and Jordan Collier.
  • In the The Big Bang Theory episode "The Large Hadron Collision", Howard says it to his girlfriend, who promptly does so.
  • Haley does this with her boyfriend on Modern Family—and then is somewhat hurt when he actually does hang up.
  • In Hannah Montana episode, "My Best Friend's Boyfriend", Miley's best friend, Lilly is on the phone with her boyfriend, Lucas and tells him to hang up first. "No you! No you!" Eventually Miley gets irritated and grabs the phone out of her hand and says "No, me!"
  • Star Trek: Enterprise. Trip and T'pol discover they're Mindlink Mates when Trip appears in T'Pol's dream.
    T'Pol: Please leave.
    Tucker: Exactly where am I supposed to go?
    T'Pol: Away.
    Tucker: This is my daydream. You go away.
  • Death in Paradise: JP and Rosie do this in "Dishing Up Murder". Dwayne gets sick of it and resolves the situation by taking the phone out of JP's hand and hanging up for him.
  • Shown to a ludicrous level in an Incredible Crew episode where this plays out normally...until the teens start loudly arguing about it. This argument continues into a basketball game, their graduation, and their entire lives. They're buried next to each other, and not even death can stop them from keeping it going as they sit up in their graves.
  • Lizzie McGuire did this with her first boyfriend. After Miranda hangs up for them, Lizzie attempts to call him back so that he knows that she didn't hang up on him.
  • In "Burial" from Yellowjackets, Misty Quigley does this when leaving a phone message for Walter Tattersall, whom she's decided is now her boyfriend after previously having ditched him. Of course, since she's leaving a message, she is forced to play both sides before herself before hanging up herself.

  • Played straight in "Mon Cœur, Mon Amour" by French singer Anaïs Croze, which is a comedic song about her hatred of Sickeningly Sweethearts reminding her that she is lonely. Just before that though she sings:
    "Hello what are you doing, sweetheart?
    (annoyed) The same thing I was doing half an hour ago..."
  • In American R&B singer Tyrese's song "How You Gonna Act Like That," he alludes to this being a regular ending to him and his woman's conversations.
    We would sit and talk for hours about anything
    "Baby, you hang up" "No, you hang up" "On three, hang up"

    Video Games 
  • This happens in Love Plus if the player chooses to date Manaka Takane. At the end of every call to ask her out on a date, they will briefly engage in this, before she decides to hang up first.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • In Sinfest, Monique and Absinthe are indulging in this routine on the phone. Unfortunately, Blue walks in on Abby and is in no mood for such silliness, slamming the receiver down.
  • TheOdd1sOut (James Rallison) made "NSA All Day", a comic inspired by this trope.
  • This xkcd comic took the trope to its extreme, in which a couple has a heated argument over who should hang up first to the point where they break up, and then some.
  • Yumi's Cells: As they try to end a video call, Yumi and Babi decide to hang up together on three. Yumi accidentally hits the "end call" button on one. After Babi's awkward reaction, the scenario is not explored further.

    Web Videos 
  • Noob gives us the MMORPG version after Arthéon and Kary get together, with them asking each other to log off the game first.

    Western Animation 
  • Played straight in Being Ian. The older brother does this with his girlfriend.
  • The Simpsons Movie:
    • Subverted: after the man tells his girlfriend to hang up first, she says "Okay!" and immediately does so. Naturally, he's shocked and heartbroken.
    • Played straight at least once in the series - Grampa is telling the story of why he hates Santa, which of course starts off on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific during World War II. In the middle of a dogfight, he yells at his radio operator (Montgomery Burns) to radio a warning to another pilot, but Monty is too busy playing "you sign off first" with his girl on the other end.
  • Family Guy used the classic routine, word for word, in a scene with Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, only, instead of hanging up first, they were arguing over who would take their Cyanide Pill first.
  • Subverted in Phineas and Ferb, since Candace's boyfriend Jeremy isn't nearly as love-crazy as she is:
    Candace: No, you hang up first! ...Hello?

    Real Life 
  • Customer service representatives are usually not allowed to hang up before the customer does, but in order to stop this kind of thing from happening, they are allowed to hang up if the customer obviously has no other issues concerning the product being serviced.
  • A transcription of a phone conversation between the Then-Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles shows them doing this for what must have been almost an hour. Less Squee-inducing with the knowledge that it was solid, irrefutable evidence he was cheating on Princess Diana, not that there wasn't plenty of infidelity to go around there...


Video Example(s):


Friends - The One With Ross' New Girlfriend

If you, like Rachel, got the short end of the stick in a love triangle (and your love interest doesn't know), this trope can be a true test of patience - or a special kind of hell.

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