TALKING ON THE PHONE – BY ELLIN CURLEY

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

12 thoughts on “TALKING ON THE PHONE – BY ELLIN CURLEY”

  1. I liked this so much, I put it with my piece which was originally on a different day. Garry hates the phone. First, he can’t hear anything … but he hated it before he couldn’t hear it. It was ALWAYS someone from work, so when the phone rang, he would jump. He still jumps. So I make pretty much ALL the phone calls. Sometimes, it’s tiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have always loved talking on the phone. It’s the next best thing to talking in person. I don’t understand why anyone would hate talking to a friend or relative in the comfort of their own home. These phone haters have no problem sitting and talking in person to someone for hours. To me, there isn’t that much difference. I don’t even use Skype or Face Time. I don’t need to see a grainy picture of the person I’m talking to. I know what they look like. It’s what they have to say that I’m interested in!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, I HATE talking on the phone. I still, 17 years into retirement, think it’s the TV news department calling me to go cover a triple homocide, a towering inferno or a psychopath who’s requested my personal intervention. I notice Ellin fields most of Tommy’s calls. He probably knows the same psychopath.

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      1. You’re right, Garry. Tom doesn’t like the phone much either. But he will have long chats with friends who have moved away and he can’t see regularly any more. He also talks regularly with his brother in upstate New York. So he has mixed feelings about the telephone.

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        1. Garry calls his brothers. But for everyone else, talking on the phone for him is really difficult. I don’t know if he will change his mind when he can hear, but for now, he legitimately doesn’t want to do it. He can — with the caption phone — but it’s slow and rather clumsy.

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        2. Ellin, I only initiate calls to talk to my two brothers. Both now live in Northfield, Minnesota. The captions phone helps but it is still awkward with my deteriorating hearing. I usually read the captions to understand what they are saying. Ironically, the captions often say “unintelligble” referring to the other party. It’s not just my lousy hearing.E-mail is easier for me.

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  2. I’m with you Ellin. I have a good friend who was also my neighbour for many years and we have a long chat every couple of months. We live in different cities now but we still share and update about any news we have.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think talking on the phone is so much more gratifying and personal than texting or emailing. You can’t have the same give and take when writing. And you don’t get the subtle voice cues that make up much of our communications with each other. You also tend to go from topic to topic when you’re talking, which is the more natural way to converse.

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  3. I don’t know how this post has bypassed me….. I agree with most of it, especially the ‘laughter part’. I do not agree with the Skype bit, simply because when one of the spouses works abroad and the only communication is by cellphone, it’s getting too expensive. But I don’t put the ‘camera’ on – because I hate to ‘have to look as if it were an interview’ and mostly the picture a skype call is giving is everything but flattering.
    My mum is blind and yet we can have hour-long phone discussions with either me describing everything in my garden at this time of the year or her interrogating me on anything she’s interested in. I read to her interesting articles she can’t access, etc. On the other hand, I confess with shame, that I’m pretty awkward calling one of my siblings, simply because it’s always more of the same on her side and no interest whatsoever for my life. I do it anyway but far too seldom. For others I would love to have a fix-line to call them but they don’t. If they are on WhatsApp that’s alright but if not we cannot correspond by talking and need to resort to mails, cards, letters.
    It’s a well observed and beautifully written article, as they are all, coming from your ‘feather’. 🙂
    PS: My husband also NEVER phones – from anywhere – be it the other end of the globe or coming home from a nearby event…. He maybe sends a msg which I mostly only see a day later. He also doesn’t read HIS messages, doesn’t reply mails, in fact I ask him about 10 times per week why on earth I’m still bothering sending him notes/links/interesting stuff….. ;(

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    1. It’s a guy thing. Garry didn’t, but now that the phone is essentially useless to him, suddenly, email matter. But he NEVER called me. Sometimes I worried that he was in an accident or for that matter, dead. He had a cell. He NEVER called. Never.

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