The phone rings, you hold your breath. The number pops on the screen, and you wonder, “Who’s calling me?” or “Am I in trouble?”
Years ago, talking on the phone was a usual thing to do. Teenagers would call their crushes and spend hours on the phone talking about everything. It was a way to get to know the other person on the line. Nowadays, texting is the prime method of communication. The average adult American spends about 26 minutes a day texting, compared to six minutes on voice calls, says the Chicago Tribune. The cell phone serves as our accessory, our lunch date, and our security blanket. We depend on our cell phone for emergencies, and we use it for social media and gaming when we’re bored. But there’s something special about holding the device to your face, answering ,”Hello?” and spending hours listening to the other person on the line, sharing stories, and hearing their voice.
Most people have a phobia of talking on the phone. Some say that they rarely place calls because they aren’t sure if the other person wants to hear from them. Many say they are afraid of spending too much time on the call. Some of my friends will even text me and ask if it’s a good time to call. I appreciate that approach, as this allows for flexibility to decide if I want to talk at that time, or reschedule for a later time. But I also value hearing the emotion in my friends’ voices, and being able to share experiences with them on a more personal level.
Intimacy happens when you talk on the phone, but that doesn’t happen through text messaging. You have a deeper, more meaningful conversation and hear the other person’s emotions through the call. Whereas in a text, you have to assume what the intent of the message is. Someone could easily type something sarcastic, and you are left to interpret the meaning.
Making a call says something about the person you are, according to Town and Country Magazine. It’s sad enough that a call is what we consider an intimate conversation these days, but even now most chats (sadly) don’t happen over the phone anymore, so when someone sees you’re actually taking the time to call them, they’re flattered.
Phone calls allow for intimacy, whereas texting is less personal. Having a conversation on the phone, no matter how many people you may talk to about one situation or happening, etc. is unique every time. You can’t say the same for all your texts (unless you copy and paste from one conversation to another, but it’s still not the same).
Another point I’d like to make is that phone calls require your full attention. You can receive a text and wait for hours before responding. But the phone call lets you engage with the other person, share emotions, and show you are interested in what the other person has to say.
So call your friends, your mom, your dad, and your grandparents. Call those people who mean so much to you in person, and show them that you value hearing their voice, rather than seeing their words on the screen.
(Photo of Audrey Hepburn, 1954.)