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between a roux and a bechamel

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yakety Yak

I largely agree with Ezra's take on phone calls. As I stated in his comments. It shouldn't feel awkward when you talk on the phone to somebody that you talk to via other outlets. It should be pretty easy, actually. And a preferable way to maintain relationships with people. But after thinking about it all day, I have a couple of additional thoughts:
  • I mainly use phone calls to keep up with people I don't see in person very often. If I am on my way to see you in a bar, I'm not going to call you to tell you that. I'm going to send a text saying I'll be there in 10 minutes. But if you're, say, my best friend who lives in Boston, I want phone calls to be the crux of our relationships. Emails are for planning trips and confirming details. Phone calls are for making sure you're still connected to each other's lives. And I still have phone dates with people that live around here and I do see, like Jenna and Sam. Because they're my friends and I like to talk to them.
  • Because I do think of conversations as more involved, attention-requiring things than emails or texts, I won't answer my phone if I'm busy or not in the mood to talk. I've been asked before, "why do you even have a cell phone if you never answer it?"
  • All the better to call you back with, my dear. Like Ezra, I let my voicemail box fill up pretty badly. I'll see that you called, and call you back. Voicemails are good if real information is being relayed. But I know that if something were actually urgent, the people that call me to inform me of these things (my dad, Meagan) wouldn't just leave one voicemail. They'd call every possible phone number they could think of for me, 4 times each. And everyone outside of those two people would probably just send me a follow up text.
  • One thing I think a lot about in this age of constant communication, is that I don't like being always available. That's another reason I don't answer my phone very often. It's ok to be out of touch for a few hours while you go interact with people in real life. Or take a nap. Or whatever. I don't like that cell phones have driven people to think that if you don't pick up/write back immediately, you're bleeding to death on the bathroom floor. But I guess that's a separate topic.
  • All this isn't to say that I don't appreciate texting/twittering/IMing/emailing. I do. I love them all. Dearly. And do them all. All day long. I wouldn't have been able to retain half of my relationships the way that I have if IMing during college and now, work, weren't an option. And it certainly makes communicating across great distances a lot easier (for cost and time zone reasons).
  • But, phone calls should not be a thing of the past. One of the most important lessons by boss taught me is that while efficient and good for a lot of things, email isn't personal. Things can escalate into jabbing and being terse really easily over email. 9 times out of 10, if you just pick up the phone to talk about that document you just sent, rather than sending 20 emails back and forth over why the font at the top is green and why you chose the word "quick," the whole thing will get cleared up with more good will, and in a hell of a lot less time.
  • Not to mention that there's a lot more to communication than just words. Voices, pauses, breath, inflection. Hearing my friend say she's "fine" in a certain tone could have a whole different meaning than if she just wrote it in am email.
  • I'm babbling now. Call me if you want to discuss.


Blogger Jenna said...

Amen, sister. I don't even look at my phone if I'm engaged in human interaction, have plans, or just want to be alone and that should be ok with everyone. And hey, I like to talk to you too! Let's get together and talk this weekend?!

10:01 AM  

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