It’s no secret that texting is all the rage these days. Nearly everyone texts, and sadly, phone calls seem to be a thing of the past. But why are we so resistant to speaking to someone on the phone, exchanging information with our actual voices? Experiencing the instant gratification of sending and receiving a text is definitely a part of the way we communicate, but maybe there is a chance that it’s about creating distance and lessening vulnerability. We can protect ourselves from disappointment or rejection (remember those good old junior high days??). We don’t have to be so close, there’s not as much of a risk of awkwardness, and we can start and stop the conversation whenever is convenient for us. While texting isn’t always bad (I’d be lost without it!), I think we’d do well to examine how dependent we are on it. There are some great reasons to give our typing fingers a break and actually call our friends and family! Here are five reasons to call people (instead of always texting):
1) Texting Often Takes The Same Amount of Time As Calling
Many seem to think they’ll save time by texting, but all the back and forth can really counteract any efficiency that comes from using our fingers instead of our voices. Depending on the topic of the conversation, it might be better for you to go ahead and call the other person. I know a young woman who rarely texts at all; in her experience, phone calls are almost always superior than texting (and also take far less time)! Texting is great if it is used for a quick message- “I love you” or “Just thinking about you” or “Honey, please pick up eggs” but trying to have a long conversation or a complicated conversation through texting is just never a quick and easy task.
2) Calling Humanizes Our Relationships
There’s something really special about hearing your friend’s voice in real time, especially if he/she calls you first. The intonation, the emotion, and the expression you can experience through calling are lost in the world of texting (emojis don’t count!). We often project our own feelings onto the words or make assumptions about how the other person must be feeling when we read a text. It is very common to ask someone out via text messaging, however, the journey of highs and lows of dating sometimes gets lost in a text. This is actually an important part of the dance of getting to know somebody, let alone falling in love and learning how to make a relationship work! Recently, a spiritual leader counseled young men to ask out young women on the phone. He said that hearing a voice (instead of receiving a text) may shock them into saying yes!
3) Phone Calls are More Professional
Whereas the “older” generation (and by older, I mean 25+) didn’t grow up texting and had to adapt to it, our kids have never known life without it; calling may even be somewhat foreign to them. There is something inherently informal about texting, and as they grow into adults, we need to help them learn that it’s usually more appropriate to call instead of text in their careers. For example, if they venture into the world of business, they won’t text clients-they’ll call them! Similarly, they probably won’t shoot off a text message to their boss, so let’s teach them some phone etiquette and help them understand that calling is often more professional.
4) Calling Gives Us Practice Having Uncomfortable Conversations
Similarly to how phone calls are more professional, they are also the better way to have tough conversations (face-to-face interactions are best, but phone calls are a close second). Maybe you’re having a problem in a relationship, maybe your employee is struggling and needs some guidance, or maybe a family tragedy strikes. There’s a common saying in the therapy field: “lean toward the discomfort.” Gather the courage, resist any urge to text, and have that conversation on the phone
5) We Can Better Decipher True Meaning On The Phone
Sure, emojis are cute and fun, but they can never fully replace the natural expressions that come from a human voice. Think about how many times have you had a misunderstanding through a text- this happens to most humans because we are projecting and making assumptions of someone else’s emotions and thoughts and feelings through the words we are reading. Emotions can be hard to read through a text alone, so consider calling instead.
Friends, please don’t misunderstand me. Text messaging is great (and it’s definitely here to stay, so that’s important!). We’re busy people, and sometimes texting works better for both parties. Still, I encourage you to avoid doing all of your communication this way. Next time you’re about to send a text message, think for a minute and ask yourself if perhaps you should call instead.