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I recently read a blog that discussed how some people text significantly more than they talk on the phone each day. Yes, we all have phones, err - cell phones (but who calls them that anymore?), but how often do we use them as phones?

This blog really got me thinking and noticing the same thing about myself. I’m a texter. I text…a lot. I would much rather text someone than pick up the phone and call them. I email from my phone more than I ever do from a computer. (I honestly don’t even remember how to use my personal email service when on the computer anymore.) I go on my social media sites solely on my phone, search the internet, map places out, research – all from my phone. My PHONE! Ten years ago, people would have thought I was crazy.

I use my phone to do everything except use it as a phone 90% of the time. Maybe even 95%. In fact, if I have to pick up the phone and call someone, I get nervous. When I see someone calling, more times than not, I sigh out loud because I’m uninterested in answering. I feel like I don’t exactly know what or how to say things. It’s horrible. I’m embarrassed to even admit that. With an email or a text, I can plan what I say and fix something if it doesn’t sound right. I can write something out and then completely delete or change it. When on the phone, once it is said, it’s said; no taking it back. And the awkward silences. Oh, my. The WORST. I find myself asking random questions or bringing up something that has nothing to do with the original call just to make it go away.

Now, here’s the kicker: I am a total people-person. I minored in Communications in college, practiced public-speaking often, I love chatting with people face-to-face, I train my company’s customers, in-person, on their new products, and I am genuinely interested in other people’s life stories. Why does talking to them on the phone make me nervous? Does that even make sense? What’s the difference? Maybe it is because I can’t see the expressions of the other person. Maybe I’m nervous that I’m on speaker phone and four other people are silently listening in. Maybe I dislike the fact that I am constantly interrupting someone, having to repeat what I said, and having the other person talk over me. Ugh, who knows?

I truly believe that this “fear” is present because I never really had to talk on the phone. My parents made the play date calls when I was little. My best friend lived next door, so if I wanted to talk to him, I would just go to his house. No need for the phone at all then. When I first got a cell phone in middle school, it was “for emergencies only,” so I never even had it turned on. When I got my second cell phone going into high school, it was the start of the texting craze. Talking on the phone with anyone was “weird” and “awkward” for us back then. That continued through college. It was so much easier to text because the conversation didn’t have to end, ever. I had to practice my interpersonal skills for school and became very comfortable with that, but the act of picking up the phone and trying to speak with someone, get a point across, or express feelings made me so uncomfortable. We relied on texting and/or messaging through social media sites (Should I even use past tense for that? This is still current. Many people [myself included] are more comfortable typing their conversations than speaking them).

Does anyone else have the same issue? Can you relate? I see it with many peers from my generation and certainly with teenagers these days. I think it may be growing in the other age-direction as well. Many men and women who have been in the workforce for years are conducting business solely through [cell] phones and tablets, without ever really needing to pick up the phone to dial.

The phrase “if you don’t use it, you lose it” comes to mind now. If we don’t practice those phone skills, will they be gone? Is it important to have and use them? Will the use of the phone, cellular and/or desk phones, become a thing of the past? Will kids (who seem to have phones at the age of seven now) ever learn the importance of knowing how to speak to someone else, whether that is on the phone or face-to-face conversations. Will interpersonal relationships suffer?

I have seriously started to take note of my texting to phone call ratio each day. It’s not good. I am going to try to make a change. I’m going to force myself to learn and be comfortable with my phone skills.

Let’s bring the telephone back.  Who is with me? Instead of texting someone today, call them.

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