On Texting and Talking

Why I think we should have more phone calls.

A girl and boy texting on their phones
Source: p0815sr3.jpg (640×360) (bbci.co.uk)

Nowadays, I spend more time talking with my loved ones. My mom, my brothers and the girl I Like. It’s refreshing. In some ways, I feel a closer connection when I get to hear their voices. In contrast, reading blocks of texts with the extra emojis and stickers don’t convey that. I knew it was convenient and asynchronous. But, somehow, I realized that there must be something better. I was right and there is something better. Talking rather than Texting.

How it started.

I am a sucker for Podcast. I listen to a wide variety of them. One that influenced this article was a BBC 6minute English episode on text and talk which you can find here. It then led me to this BBC why factor episode which you can find here that also led me to this YouTube video which you can find here.

I wanted to go into the research and what not but I thought an anecdotal approach would be better. So, here is what I’ve figured out about talking with regards to building meaningful relationships. If you do wanna get into the nitty-gritty of research, check out the BBC why factor episode.

The podcasts and video got me thinking. I’m not too attached to material things because I’ve always held to the notion that they are ephemeral in regards to the happiness they give. But even with that, it’s not as if I prioritized anything else. After listening to the podcast and watching Gary’s video, there was a crack. A crack in my banal rote daily activities. I needed to make connections with my loved ones. Genuine connections that wouldn’t just be restricted to texting but actually hearing their voices and maybe sometimes even seeing their faces. It was unchartered territory because I didn’t know where to start. This was way outside of my comfort zone and unlike anything I’d ever done. There was also the fact that I’m naturally introverted. It didn’t seem possible.

But, I was willing to give it a shot. I acknowledged the fact that having intimate human connections was key to a happy life. This was essential but it felt like something my head knew and my heart didn’t agree with. It made me coin this:

the head knows, the heart doesn’t act

As the popular maxim goes: Action speak louder than words. The first step had to be taken and yes, I attempted.

I am not an on-the-spot kind of person. I prefer to schedule things in advance as that helps me remain focused and productive. It’s kinda mechanical but well, it works. With that in mind, I leveraged those time management — thank you Ali Abdaal — and planning skills to do just that. I used the task planner and my calendar to keep track of calls with my Loved ones. It was a bit unusual, it’s still a bit unusual but it has been worth it.

Slowly, things started to change. I have come to realize that talking helps build closer relationships. It’s one reason I now like sending voice notes when I can and enjoy listening to people’s voices — albeit this does sound weird after saying it aloud. There is a Connection, a special kind when you got to hear the excitement, anger, exasperation, tiredness, anxiety, and other myriads of feelings from the words out of someone’s mouth. It’s something …precious. I think that’s the magic texting sucks out of our everyday conversations. I’m not blaming anyone and certainly not blaming technology. The easier and faster approach looks the most intuitive. With texts we can respond in our own time, sometimes even turn off our status — you can choose to remain offline. This gives us a sense of control of our space but, at a cost. It’s either we develop intimate connections over talking with someone or sacrifice that with texting. I don’t hate texting, I still do it a lot, I’ve recognized the importance of talking with people. Every benefit from it far outweighs the gains from the other guy. I can now meaningfully connect with people dear to my heart.

You might be thinking: am I supposed to call all my friends now? Well, if you want to lol. I can’t really tell you what to do but I can give you a nudge. I certainly don’t call everyone I know even though I certainly would want to get there someday. You can take baby steps though, one call per week. Maybe two, it depends on how meaningfully you want to connect with another human being. Authenticity, yes, that’s the word. Being authentic and expressing how and what you really feel in the moment.

That, I think, is what human communication should be about.

Are you gonna consider talking more? Let me know in the comments below. I’d respond as soon as I can.

I’m gonna be writing on, On Kindness and Human relationships next. Keep your eyes peeled for that.

I write about stuff I like which includes tech, philosophy and the human experience.

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