In Defense Of Talking On The Phone (And Other Confrontations)

BuzzFeed - Latest 2014-09-08


Why it’s worth using your phone for the thing it was made to do.

Getty Images / Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

I don't mind talking on the phone, and I'm not even that friendly. Everyone who is my age, plus or minus 10 years, loves to talk about how much they hate their phones. Or, well, everyone who is around my age loves to talk about hating to use their phones for the first thing their phones were made to do: talking on them.

Here is some proof in the form of links: In the past few years, we young-ish internet people have not been able to stop confessing just how much we hate talking on the phone. Or having to listen to voicemail. (Some of my colleagues have taken part, too.)

Everyone has reasons. Usually they are 1) shyness, 2) being "introverted," a label broadly and eagerly claimed, 3) the perceived waste of time involved, and, relatedly, 4) the superior efficiency of text messaging.

Reasons that also apply — maybe more than any of those willingly given — but are infrequently stated are: 5) laziness, which may be insurmountable, and 6) a fear of confrontation, which isn't.

Via Twitter: @DavidAGoodman

There is a growing subset of vocabulary built to accommodate our communication evasions, many of them phone-based: It's the cutesification of misanthropy. There are "slow fade" and "ghosting," zingy slang that makes these things sound more like legitimate techniques than what they actually are, which is indifference expressed through avoidance. To consider oneself "friend-zoned" is not just an expression of misogynist entitlement, but often a passive refusal to be frank about one's feelings. "I can't even" and an all-capped "NOPE" are concise and funny GIF-and-link accompaniers, but they've also become shorthand for "I can't or don't want to express my discomfort with this situation or person more thoroughly."

Which is fine, sometimes. But it's rarely as difficult to say a little more, to be a little more honest, to have the talk and get it over with as even the least afraid among us fear. And if there's one thing I've learned from being scared of almost everything, not doing those things I'm scared of has never once made them less scary.

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Date tagged:

09/08/2014, 17:22

Date published:

09/08/2014, 17:00