The Dying Art of the Phone Call

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When was the last time you phoned someone – yesterday, a week ago, a month ago?

I remember as a teenager, squirreling away in my room on the landline phone for hours with friends, chatting about trivial things. It seems like a distant memory now: something from a previous life. Why is it that though? We all have phones that we use relentlessly, alas not to actually phone people!

I put this simple question out to a group of my friends and was met with quizzical faces as they tried to think of the last person they called. This proved my point that phone calls are a dying art form – nobody phones anyone anymore! Texting, messaging, tweeting or commenting on someone’s Instagram or Facebook is second nature to our generation; even though, it’s so impersonal and fake. I agree that it’s defiantly much easier to send a quick text or Facebook message or a snappy ‘like’ of a photo that a friend has posted. I know that I am sometimes guilty of liking a friend’s photo /post without taking the time to actually ask them about what they’re doing. I wonder whether it’s because I feel I have ticked that box, as such, because I’ve acknowledged our friendship by liking their photo and so there is no need to phone them.

This starts to question whether a phone call is a dying art form; as there are so many other ways to connect with people and keep track of what goes on in people’s lives. We used to phone friends to catch-up with them, check-in or organise something; but that can be done so easily via text now. In essence a phone call is becoming extinct, like a dinosaur, purely because there are multiple other ways to communicate. A text can be sent in a matter of seconds; whereas a phone always requires exchanging pleasantries and then you can get to the point of the phone call.  Although, I wouldn’t say I facetime or skype people that often – probably the same amount of times that I phone people. A phone call can be perceived as intrusive, old fashioned and time consuming; but is this because we are so used to the written word instead of the spoken word?

Often, when I send a text I’ve thought out what I’m going to write or at least read over it. It’s not the natural me. It’s the edit version of myself. A phone call, however, is natural and the real roots of a person. It requires you to put aside what you are doing in that moment and focus on that person. It’s so easy to send that quick text with ‘how are you’, instead of taking the time out of your day to call someone. A text initiates a brief response; as seriously who can be bothered to type out their whole life story? It makes you feel like you have connected with that person and put effort into that friendship.  With imessage and Facebook messenger you can talk in real time; so some would perceived it similar to a phone call. I beg to differ. Anyway, if you’re talking to someone in real time, why not just pick up the phone?

It’s since coming to university that I have realised the true power of a phone call. I left behind all my friends who I had grown up with, ready to embark on the next chapter of my life. I could have a text conversation with a friend from home; but it only scraped the surface of the intricacies of these new lives that we were being thrust into. When we found the time to pick up the phone, it allowed us to catch up properly, build on our friendship by laughing at stupid things and just the comfort of hearing my friend’s voice. There’s something special about a phone call.

Habitually, I put off calling people as I’m worried that they’ll be busy or not able to talk. But, actually if I saw my friend’s caller ID come up on my phone, my face would break into a smile; as it would be a lovely surprise. And who doesn’t love surprises?

Once you get in the habit of something – it sticks. I feel that, nowadays, we are all in the habit of texting. So, this month instead of sending that text, pick up the phone and ask how someone really is. It will, defiantly, bring a smile to their face.

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Deputy Editor 2016 -2017. I'm a Geography student here at Southampton. Also, an avid adventurer; who is always up for discovering somewhere whether it's new or old.

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