When I answer the phone I say “hello.” Actually, I ask “hello?” This is a custom dating back to a time when the phone would ring and the person answering it would have no idea who was calling (unless the person answering was expecting a call, but even then there were times you’d pick up thinking you knew who it was and would end up surprised and disappointed that it wasn’t’ that person). All that has changed, of course, now that modern, with-it people have caller I.D.
Unless the caller has his number blocked, I know who is calling. But even though I see it’s my friend Tom, say, (I don’t actually have a friend Tom, but stay with me on this one), I don’t usually answer with “hello” or “hello, Tom,” but rather with “hello?” to create the quaint illusion that I don’t know who’s calling.
“Hi, it’s Tom,” Tom will say and I’ll say something like “Oh, hi Tom,” as if I didn’t know it was him calling.
I’m old fashioned that way.