Yes–Why Not Call Your Friends on the Telephone?

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With the rise of social media and texting, we’ve lost something, and that something is telephone calls. We no longer have access to the sound of the human voice, at least not in an interactive way. We love texting because we can “cut to the chase,” right? And now, very few of us use the phone the way we used to. Remember sitting on the floor, talking to friends until all hours of the night? Who does that anymore? This topic reminds me of a couple of posts I wrote awhile back about Baby Boomers.  Here’s one: The Best Reasons Baby Boomers Must Start Using Social Media.

Talk to People on the Telephone

By the way, the inspiration for this post came from the following tweet from Robinson Meyer, staff writer at the Atlantic. Robinson refers to an article by fellow writer Amanda Mull: Talk to People on the Telephone. And that really rang a bell for me.

Phone Calls and Messy Reality

Amanda Mull’s words in her article (link above) about pestering her editor with phone calls made me laugh–the person I usually pester is also an editor and my best friend. When I text my editor friend, she says “Let’s talk on the phone.” Or she just calls me. Personally, I hope that millennials do not murder the phone call, as Mull suggests could happen. “Phone calls force you to contend with the messy reality of living in a world where other people might need your attention without warning you through a calendar invite two weeks in advance.” That’s really it, isn’t it? We need to make play dates just to talk. And at the same time, we’re all lonely, sitting at our desks trying to figure out how to make friends.

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Complex Interactions Call for Real Conversations

And also, real conversations–phone calls or in-person conversations–are more satisfying than a million text messages. Despite having emojis, videos, and photos that we can add to our texts, they’re still not as fun as a phone call. You can’t hear the person on the other end laugh, or hear their cat meowing in the background. Or hear said cat break a plate and then the ensuing barrage of cursing.

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Nuances in Language Are Better on the Phone

When you talk on the phone, you get to hear the weird ups and downs in a person’s voice, the question mark where you wouldn’t ordinarly put one, or the sarcastic tone. And you don’t get the long silences, usually. The other thing you get on the phone is the greeting. The hello! how are you? and the Good Morning. Greetings are important because they say to the other person I see you and you are important to me. As Sam Sommers says in The Power of Hello “little things make a big difference when it comes to social interaction.”

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So Say Hello!

When you say hello, people usually say hello back. You might like to know more ways to be social: Ten Ways to Be Social. Saying hello, welcoming people, and noticing them are all good ways.





  1. What’s interesting to me is we often add voice nuances such as inflection to SM, text, and email correspondences we receive without having any idea if we have it right. Communication is much more than words, and don’t get me started on how important face to face communication is!

    • Hi Randy,
      There are so many nuances that we miss in texts and email, and we’re usually guessing at what the other person is thinking. Hence, emojis to clarify. Then in person there are many more layers including body language. We get many cues from microexpressions, too. Thanks for commenting!

    • Michael Swinford says

      100% agree! I’ve had disagreements and actual arguments because of misinterpreted Texts.
      Talking on the phone may be “old school” and in person is nearly impossible, but an actual voice is so much better than any emoji.

      • We’re all missing out by not making phone calls more often. It’s great to move forward in the name of progress, but phone calls need to make a comeback! Thanks for stopping by, Michael.


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