Picking up the phone and having an actual conversation goes so much further today.
“We live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.” – Sherry Turkle
“Your lips were ashy on your last Instagram post.”
This was the gist of a text from someone with whom I hadn’t spoken to in about six months.
Not that I didn’t appreciate the attempt to try to make sure I realized this (even though I truly couldn’t have cared less), the thing that somewhat annoyed me about this text was the question why didn’t this person call me instead?
I thought this person would consider me a friend, and I hadn’t spoken to them for about six months, so why wouldn’t they just hit the call button and talk to me about this?
I honestly didn’t take offense to it, however, as this seems to be the normal way many people choose to stay in contact with their “friends” today.
In today’s world of TikTok and Instagram reels, spending more than two minutes on something seems like a gargantuan effort, and fewer people are willing to do it.
People now resort to sharing Instagram reels and TikTok’s or simply texting someone to keep friendships “alive” instead of calling someone to see how they are doing.
For this reason, the value of a call means so much more today, and there are a few reasons that you should look to make them more when possible.
The art of the conversation is disappearing
You hear so many people talk about how teenagers growing up these days are challenged in certain social situations because they are so used to texting everything.
Teenagers aren’t the only ones suffering from this change in the communication standards of the world, as many adults have fallen victim to responding to calls with “In a meeting…can you text” to avoid having a difficult or uncomfortable conversation.
As we have gotten so used to being able to post our feelings online or live behind keyboard courage, fewer and fewer people have developed their ability to navigate a challenging or complex conversation.
It seems today when someone is faced with a potentially tricky or challenging conversation, they either just put it off entirely or text/email someone a passive-aggressive follow-up message after the fact, saying the things that they didn’t have the courage to say in person or over the phone.
This has translated into a number of situations that get worse with time because of the lack of clear communication that could have been prevented or fixed much earlier.
If you have this skill today and are brave enough to actually say what you mean and mean what you say in real-time, you will put yourself in the driver’s seat in a lot of different situations.
Being in control or able to resolve issues better relates to the second major benefit of why calls are also so helpful today.
Calls are a form of self-therapy and help us work out what we’re thinking/feeling
The great thing about talking with someone instead of just typing out our feelings and emotions is that we truly get a chance to fully explore all we think and feel.
Through a text message, there is only so much that can be said and relayed because of the physical restraint and weariness of typing all the different ideas and emotions that one can experience.
Let’s also be real.
Sometimes, we can feel a certain type of way but don’t have the ability to truly communicate it through text appropriately.
This results in us consistently typing and deleting various passages trying to write just the perfect thing to convey our feelings in a manner that we feel will be the most effective.
After numerous attempts, often this eventually leads to us deleting everything and responding with either a thumbs-up emoji or just“like” their message. Not the true way we were feeling based on the whirlwind of emotion the text created in us.
By talking to someone who you have a problem with or with a friend with whom you can bounce ideas and feelings, you can find your voice and uncover the true crux of what is bothering you about a situation.
In the past for people who didn’t have the money or weren’t in a place in which working with a psychiatrist was a possibility, people had “best friends” who would listen as they worked through situations and tried to figure out the best way to go.
Sometimes just saying things out loud and having someone on the other line listening is exactly what you need to work through confusing feelings and come to an answer you didn’t realize before.
Text messages don’t even come close to allowing you to do this.
And those individuals who respond to your calls with texts rob you of this opportunity. This brings us to our third and final benefit of calls in today’s age.
They help you identify who your true friends are
As I’ve matured, I’ve noticed that my “friends” primarily fall into two categories in my life.
There are those whom I can rely on to ALWAYS return my phone calls in a timely manner and are “there” when I need them, and then there are those who are only available when it is the most convenient for them.
These people are so busy living their own lives that when I take an assessment of our “friendship,” I now recognize that I’m always the person who is reaching out to them. They rarely, if ever, are the ones who call first, and when they do return my phone call, it is often days later, if ever.
Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with this from a behavioral standpoint for individuals who decide to do it, and maybe I found myself falling into this type of practice when I was younger.
However, as I’ve matured, I’ve realized that I need more from my friends than this passive “if I’m free, I’ll hit you back” type of behavior. For this reason, there are a number of people that I don’t bother investing any more time into based on their inability to return a phone call with a call or to only do so with a text.
We’re all busy, but you make time for those things that are important to you. And if you can’t make the time to call someone back to make sure they are okay, then it doesn’t appear that person means that much to you.
So the next time you want to text a friend or share an Instagram post to say “hey,” how about you calling them instead to truly check in?
I’m sure their emotional spirit and your friendship will greatly appreciate it.