How many friends do you have on Facebook?
How many followers on Instagram and Twitter?
How many contacts in your cell phone?
Chances are, those numbers are big. We’re skilled at mobile communication and social media, which is nothing that should make us feel ashamed. Though there are definitely cons, Facebook and other social platforms have been helpful for maintaining connections and discovering old ones. They’ve made it easier for us to know what’s going on in each other’s lives, which is pretty cool.
Unfortunately, the convenience of this kind of communication has compromised other, traditional forms of interpersonal communication. Sure, it feels nice when someone takes the time to text you, or comment on something you’ve posted — it’s definitely a nice gesture, but it’s definitely not equivalent to a face-to-face or voice-to-voice encounter.
Face-to-face visits aren’t always easy to plan given the busy schedules that need to coordinate, which makes them all the more awesome when they can occur. But, voice-to-voice interactions are easy, so why not make them happen more often?
1. A phone call packs more of a punch.
The written word can evoke emotion, but having a verbal conversation with another person can give you greater insight into how they may be feeling. How many times have you thought about responding to someone’s text with something like, “I feel really depressed and hopeless,” or “I’m speechless and scared,” but thought twice and replaced it with a quick “I’m fine!:)”? Maybe your friends are doing the same thing.
On the phone, there’s less time to hesitate. You can also hear the tone of speech, which can communicate a lot. Regardless, in times of need, just hearing a familiar voice can be really beneficial and powerful.
2. You can get a response right away.
Your message was “Seen at 3:25 pm” but now it’s 5:30 pm, and you still haven’t gotten a response to your very important question. Perhaps a perfect response is being crafted, or perhaps you’re being ignored. For some reason, phone calls and voicemails are more difficult to ignore — probably because they’re more annoying, but also probably because people feel a little more guilty not returning phone calls than they do not returning a text message.
Whatever it is, quit torturing yourself by staring at your phone or your computer — you'll give yourself a migraine. Instead, try picking up the phone.
3. Learn to think on your feet.
Ah, the art of the perfectly crafted response. But, here’s the thing — texting and messaging has made it very easy for all of us to sound like witty, intelligent super-humans. Even though plenty of us spend a lot of time consulting other friends and various Wikipedia pages, we have convinced ourselves (and the receivers of our poetic words) that we are on top of our stuff.
When you speak on the phone, you can’t dilly-dally. And while this may sound like a horrible thing, it’s actually beautiful. At first, it may feel disastrous, full of awkward jokes, laughter and foot-in-mouth moments.
This awkward stage is great for learning how you and the person with whom you are speaking actually feel, as neither of you have time to check if what you're saying makes you sound like a douchebag or a hopeless romantic. Eventually however, you will learn to think quickly and speak clearly. Regardless of what it is you’re saying, learning how to say it without delay is a skill from which we all could benefit. Though texting has let us avoid it, it’s time we get some practice. No excuses.
4. There won’t be any need to read between the lines.
Wait, is he mad? What’s with the period? Oh my god, why did he put a period? Is he mad because I don't want Chinese food? Why did he just say ok and why didn’t he spell it “okay”? He usually uses smiley faces. There wasn’t one. Oh my God what did I do. My life is over. *Cue crying*
Perhaps that was a bit extreme, but let's be real: situations like this have happened to everyone. Messaging and texting are some of the worst things that have happened to budding relationships. Every statement can be dangerously twisted and analyzed a million times — it creates mayhem. How do we solve this? Phone calls. Seriously, phone calls are great for hearing the tone of another person’s voice. You can read much more into what a person is says when reading isn’t involved.
5. It means you’ve taken the time out of your day to have an actual conversation.
And that means a whole lot. You’re taking the initiative to have a real back and forth with another person. A text conversation or a Facebook chat can end on either person’s whim.
A phone conversation isn’t as easy to abandon, and hopefully, you’ll be so engaged you won’t want to. The person you are calling will appreciate your initiative and positive intentions. Chances are, he or she will remember the things you spoke about on the phone more clearly than the things you chatted about on the Internet or your phones.
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