Remember when getting a phone call and having a long chat with a friend was something to cherish? Well, I do. I used to love getting calls and even remember (30-odd years ago in Toronto) staying on the phone with friends while we watched TV “together”. It was something that brought us closer.
These days a telephone call mostly feels like an intrusion. Is it just me? It could be because mobile phones are just not comfy for talking into for any length of time. But in general it’s more that our ways of communicating have changed. With social media text messaging and platforms like WhatsApp (which I LOVE) you can contact someone, share information, even have a chat, without suddenly disrupting whatever the other person happened to be doing. I know that when I see a message come in that someone wants to say something to me, but I also know that I can get to it when I have time to actually pay attention. And sometimes I have quite long WhatsApp text chats with friends lasting up to an hour, but strangely or otherwise, it wouldn’t feel as comfortable if that friend had called me.
Okay, there are times when only a direct phone call will do. Like in case of some sort of emergency. Also, I sometimes get phone calls from possible clients looking for a last minute food tour. And of course when the hospital calls to book appointments – no problem with that. But in general, most things can wait. When I am in the middle of working at home, or out in the street running errands, I really don’t want to stop and switch gears to have a “friendly chat” with someone.
For me the best use of phones these days (other than being my online office when away from home) is to connect with people, send information, make arrangements, even have a friendly text chat. But if you actually want to talk, it is far better to send a quick text message saying… “would love to talk, when would be a good time to call?”.
What do you think? Has phone call etiquette changed over the years or is it just me being a cranky old lady?