WOULD YOU PLEASE ANSWER THAT 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 really 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!

28 thoughts on “WOULD YOU PLEASE ANSWER THAT PHONE? – BY ELLIN CURLEY

  1. Pingback: Hi There! | sparksfromacombustiblemind

  2. I don’t like calling people. I always worry that I’ve interrupted them from something. Mainly because people always seem to call me when I’m cooking dinner or eating it or about to watch the only TV show I was really interested in all week. I do enjoy a chat but I don’t like having to drop what I was doing to answer it. If a phone is ringing I feel I must answer it so it will stop making a noise. Several calls in a row, especially when most of them are charities or people selling solar panels will put me in a very bad mood.

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    • It’s the people who tell me I responded to them online. I did NOT respond to them online. I NEVER tell anyone to call me except the doctor or BlueCross, but it’s always something medical. otherwise, if it’s business, email is just fine. Yes, the phone ALWAYS rings when I’m cooking. Why don’t I bring the phone with me? NO idea. I always think of that when it’s ringing and I’m in the middle of something I can’t easily stop — like frying onions — and inevitably, ring, ring, ring.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. And yet I can say things when I write that I can never say when just talking. There’s a poetry to the written word that is lost in conversation. I think we need all our levels of communication especially now when it seems that so little of it “gets through” to anyone.

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    • Long texts or emails can be like writing a letter – your personality and writing style come through. But writing short texts in shortened sentences might as well be smoke signals or morse code.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ellin, I don’t know about Tommy and the phone. When we visit, it seems like you usually take the calls first. Same here with Marilyn.
        NINETEEN — 19 – Years into retirement and I still HATE the sound of the bloody telephone. 19 years into private life and I still have fearful flashes that the TV station is calling me to go out on some awful, bloody “breaking news” story. Visions of fires, multiple homicide victims, exploding buildings and preverts running amok steal across my sense memory. Oh, yes and the damn blizzards from hell that beg for predawn liveshots.
        My cochlear implant steals my excuse of being hearing impaired and not wanting to answer the phone. Now, I can hear the incoming call and still don’t want to answer.
        Yes, it’s selfish! Lock me up!

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  4. I love getting phone calls, but I have a strong dislike of actually making a call to anyone, anywhere, for any reason. And yet if you wanted to torture me to insanity, lock me in one room and let the phone ring in the other.
    In thinking it over, I can still hear my mother telling me not to ‘tie up the line” in case she got an ‘important’ call. It was the same with visiting other people. “what do you want to waste their time for?” she’d ask. And after awhile I stopped visiting. I also love to be visited.

    I guess that sort of stays with you.

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    • I am very bad at making calls, but to be fair, I’m not a lot better at taking them. I talk so little these days, I’ve sort of forgotten what I’m supposed to say. That’s pretty alarming for someone who used to be a real chatterbox.

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    • My husband is like that. He rarely will pick up a phone and call a friend, but he’s happy to chatter with them when they call him. Maybe he just doesn’t think about initiating calls, but when they come to him, he’s happy to reconnect with the person on the other end of the phone.

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    • I often wonder what makes one person a ‘phone’ person and another hate talking on the phone. It can’t be genetic. It must have to do with our sociability quotients or how the phone was used in our childhoods. My son and I talk on the phone several times a day. We tend to pick up the phone rather than texting to see how the other’s day is going. But I have to text with my daughter most of the time and only think about talking on the phone every week or so, even though we always enjoy our phone conversations.

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      • For Garry — and possibly Tom, too — it was because every time it rang it was the office telling you to drop everything and come to work. Garry still jumps in his seat when the phone rings. 40 years of being called into work. I think it must be because his last name started with A and he was always at the top of the list. Ditto Curley — very near the top. I didn’t have that kind of job.

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  5. This is so true and yet the actual picking up the phone is what stops me. If you send an email or message on any of the electronic airways you don’t have to worry if the person is home, eating dinner, going to bed etc. The same with answering – oh bother, phone ringing just when I’m cooking/eating/writing… once I’m actually on the phone I enjoy having a chat and I also love doing FaceTime because we have already arranged when and I’m psyched up for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So far I haven’t gotten into FaceTime. It’s mainly because it’s a pain to keep the phone in a position that transmits a full face image of you through the lines. I also don’t like the way most people look in ‘selfie’ mode on the phone. When a phone is placed on a stand and aimed at the room, it works better and I’ve done this for meetings many times. But trying to talk and keep your face on the phone at a flattering angle is too much work for too little reward.

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  6. the art of conversation, the gift of language, and to imagine many try to short all that, busy lives, too many choices, and under used imaginations I guess, you say it well, thanks

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    • I really hope that the art of conversation is not dying in the younger generations. I read that people talk less and less face to face and even spend face to face time looking at their phones. That is tragic and I think will affect people’s ability to have intimate, connected relationships.We’ll se when the marriage and divorce statistics come out on people who have grown up with texting and Instagram.

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    • I think the division between people about the phone boils down to the fact that some people, like me, see talking on the phone as a viable and enjoyable substitute for talking in person. Many people don’t seem to see the phone as similar to talking in person at all. They seem to see it as an artificial form of communication. But it’s no different than talking to someone in person with your eyes shut – you hear everything but can’t see the person’s facial expressions or body language.

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