TELEPHONE PEOPLE – BY ELLIN CURLEY

The world can be divided in many ways – Republicans V. Democrats, religious people V. non religious people, cat people V. dog people. Here’s another way – people who love the phone V. people who hate it.

I love talking on the phone. I have many close friends who live far away now and it’s the next best thing to spending time with them in person. You can have real conversations that drift from one topic to the next. You can even interrupt each other! You don’t get the subtleties of body language that you get in person, but you’re actually engaging with the real person. You can remember why you loved this person in the first place.

Another important advantage of phones is laughter. We can hear our friends laugh at our jokes and our friends can hear us laugh at theirs. We get to laugh TOGETHER, which is huge. Laughter is a powerful bond. Most women list a sense of humor as one of the things they most value in a man. Sharing laughter is one of the great joys in life. You can’t get it in a text. Typing LOL is not the same thing!

When I was dating online, I discovered that liking someone’s emails was NOT a good indicator that I would like them in person. But liking someone on the phone gave me a pretty good chance that I would like them in person. That’s when I fully realized that writing and talking are on two separate planes. Talking is personal. It reveals personality and connects people on an emotional, visceral level. You get most of what you get when you are physically with someone.

Emailing may tell you the writing style of the person but not their speaking style or their personal “je ne sais quoi”. In texting, people tend to write shortened sentences with abbreviations and even Emojis. So you don’t even get the “voice” or writing style of the person. The time lag with texts also annoys me. Write then wait. Read then write. Rinse and repeat.

Try watching a movie or TV show and hit pause for twenty seconds after each person speaks. Not very gratifying. In fact, it will probably drive you crazy.

To me, texting is great for short, immediate communications. Like: “In traffic. Running 15 minutes late.” OR “What time do you want us for dinner?” Otherwise, not really communications.

Nevertheless, I understand that some people are just not phone people. My daughter is a phonophobe. She would rather talk for an hour every few weeks and text in between to stay in touch. My mother hated the phone. When I was growing up, she would have me call people to change or cancel appointments for her so she would not get “stuck” talking on the phone.

My husband, Tom, is also not a phone person. When we were dating, it didn’t even occur to him to talk on the phone the nights we weren’t seeing each other. Once I started the pattern, he was fine with it. But he wouldn’t have done it on his own.

I think the younger generations are growing up totally immersed in texting and internet communications. They may never learn the pleasure you can get from a long phone conversation with a friend. They may not even have long conversations in person anymore either. From what I hear, kids spend time online even when they are physically with other people. The art of the conversation may be dying out altogether.

I guess I shouldn’t be worrying about fewer people talking on the phone. I should be worrying about fewer people talking to each other — at all!

16 thoughts on “TELEPHONE PEOPLE – BY ELLIN CURLEY

  1. Garry has hated the phone since work. They were ALWAYS calling him. He never got a breather. Now, it’s just a terrible hassle. He can’t hear it properly and the caption phone is slow, so he only uses the phone when he can’t talk me into making the call. I’m okay with the phone, but a lot less enthusiastic about it than I was years ago. Once I start talking, I’m okay, but it takes me some considerable effort to get started. I’m so used to writing and commenting and other tactile communications, talking seems a bit strange.

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    • I can understand that someone with hearing issues would not like the phone. I can also understand that someone who is glued to their computer 24/7 would get used to writing instead of talking. So it’s all about our own experiences and where we are at a given moment in time.

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  2. I am also not a phone person. I have never felt comfortable with it. I suppose for me it is because I always worry that I am calling someone at a bad time and I don’t always want to talk when people call me. Sometimes it is because I’m busy but sometimes I just don’t want to get “Stuck on the phone”. I tend to use it the way you use texts, to communicate information except for a very few people who I will chat with.

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    • The problem with phones is that if you get a phone person talking to a non phone person, the non phone person will not be happy. I guess two phone haters would talk for enough time to communicate the essential information and then get off. The phone lovers will happily chat on for hours. So it’s just the mixed phone conversation that presents a problem.

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  3. I love getting calls, but hate making them. It may be that same thing, interrupting someone at a bad time.

    I also have (and have always had) a problem with voice-to-ear communication. I hear well, but what goes in doesn’t always process properly, and when someone a week later says, “but I TOLD you last week…” I almost remember. Used to drive my husband nuts, I’d be on the phone with someone for a half hour, hang up, and he’d say, “What was that all about?” And I would honestly have no idea. Finally I realized that it does come back, in bits, and by the end of a half hour I could tell him what it WAS all about.

    Yet when I go shopping, the list is on the kitchen table, because I now have it in my head.

    The funny (and irritating) thing is, I know two people who will email me, “Are you still up?” “Oh, bother.” and when you ask them about it the next day, they say, in all sincerity, “Well, I didnt want to wake you up…”. They seem to think that email (which they just used) will wake me up…

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    • Everyone learns differently. It sounds like you process written information better than verbal information. That said, you could still enjoy the social aspect of talking with someone on the phone even if you won’t remember every detail of the conversation.

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  4. I spend a lot of time on the phone at work so when 5:00 hits, the phone is totally off limits. I am not a phone person–I love to text! With everything so automated now, my doctors and even the vet, text me reminders of appointments or to pick up prescriptions. Yay–no phone!

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    • Good for you! Today’s technology has freed many phone haters from ever having to use the phone. That’s wonderful. Now there’s a way to communicate for everyone!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the vocal contact too. I hate all the calls I get from people who want to clean my air ducts and the others who want to sell my house. (Once a day)
    Leslie

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  6. Never had a phone for the first 12 years of my life and never really got the bug any time after. I have a landline for the convenience of not having to drive miles to talk to a business or my friends, who largely live long distances away these days. I have a smart phone just to see what the fuss is about, it does not ever need to be afraid of wearing out! 😉

    I’m definitely a better textual communicator than a verbal one – i need longer to more accurately express the thoughts that zoom in and out of my head.

    I don’t believe the world needs to be divided into two groups but i agree 100% with you that it frequently is and this is definitely one of the ways! (We might be two groups with two opinions but we are all one people first, people!)

    I also agree with your other points regarding the individual communication type problems and their lack of the personal touch. I found that on-line chat text was a reasonable compromise for me – although there could be frequent misinterpretations of what was said versus what was actually meant owing to an inability to correctly intonate things like sarcasm or irony. lols and rofls did not have quite the same effect as a cheeky smile or sly look (which is also a little hard to replicate over a phone!) 😉

    It’s not the lack of talking to each other that worries me – it’s the increasing levels of anger when they do and the aggressiveness and certainty of the opinions they hold – the lack of respect for the other person or their point of view that troubles me!

    love.

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    • I think that the impersonality of texting and emailing makes it easier for people to be horrible to each other. I don’t think most people would say some of the things that get tweeted or texted if they had to say them directly to the person they were talking to – either in person or on the phone. The new technology seems to loosen the social rules that used to govern interpersonal communication.

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