5 Reasons Why Talking On The Phone Is The Absolute Worst
The Debrief: Alexander Graham Bell. My own personal nemesis
According to a new report, we’re not talking on the phone very much any more. Three years ago, 96% of smartphone users spoke on their smartphone at least once a week; now that number is more like 75%.
I bloody hate talking on the phone. Always have done. Even when I was little and Mum used to put me on the phone to my Nan, I’d do a twisty awkward neck thing to avoid the receiver and run away to the other end of the house. As I’ve gotten older, there’s nothing worse than a terrifying amount of things that remain undone in my personal admin list because sorting them out involves ringing up a fellow human being and having a chat about it.
Here’s why it’s the worst.
1. Can you ever really know who’s at the other end of the line?
I mean, yes. Obviously. If you’re on the phone to your mum, then you probably know it’s just your mum listening, but what if there’s a whole bunch of other people that are sitting there on speakerphone or something? How the hell are you meant to know how to act if you don’t know the audience that’s receiving you?
As it is, I become a bit of a ‘something for everything’ kind of gal; a few jokes for the potential comedian in the room, a serious point on politics in case Obama has happened to pop by, a self-chastising monologue for the whole group, who are obviously rolling their eyes at each other over what a knob I am. It’s hard out there.
2. The awkward ‘no, sorry you go’ bit
Because without seeing someone when they’re speaking how on earth are you meant to figure out whether they’re done telling you their story on how Snuffles the cat from next door got into their back garden and did a massive poo AGAIN?
For all you know, there might be a whole other addendum to the tale about how Snuffles came into their house, demanded money at gunpoint and let himself casually out the front door. But you’ll never know. Because you thought they were done speaking and so jumped in to fill the oncoming awkward silence. Now that person hates you for being an insensitive prick.
3. Are they even listening?
The last thing you want to do is pour your heart out to the person on the other end of the line because midway through you telling them all about Sarah at work and her personal war of hate against you, you’re going to realise that they’ve been quiet for a while.
Does that mean they’re just listening intently and trying to gather their thoughts sensibly to present you with a carefully constructed piece of advice? Or does it mean they’ve got their hands down their pants and are idly flicking through pictures of Richard Hammond on holiday in the Daily Mail? Literally no way to tell.
4. You’re caught off guard
Our generation never had to learn how to make up real excuses on the spot. As soon as people started asking us to do real things, there were emails and texts involved that meant we could spend an hour, cultivate an excellent rebuttal (‘Sorry Mother, I would like to come to Aunty Sharon’s with you but I’ve got a pre-planned study group with my peers at my place of education’) and get out of any situation scott free.
Put a favour to us on the phone though, and we’re screwed. We haven’t had to think that fast since Wannabe was on the radio. This is probably exactly how you ended up at your colleague’s house ‘party’ (sole other attendee: Kevin the perv from accounts) while your best friends went on holiday.
5. How do you get off the phone
Because there’s never been a successful end to a phone conversation, ever. Not one person in the history of the world has brought a chat to a tidy end, hung up the phone and gone on with their day without another thought about it. No.
Instead, you spend seven minutes unnecessarily planning the next time you’ll see that person, telling them you’ll see them soon, realising you haven’t asked them about their boyfriend, saying goodbye, clashing your goodbye with their goodbye, apologising, laughing awkwardly, trying again before accidentally hanging up on them and crying into a pillow for seven hours about your inability to perform normal human social tasks.
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