Throughout this year, several bloggers will engage in a conversation here and on their blogs — asking questions of each other and responding. Others are absolutely welcome to join the conversation, as well. Learn more about the ladies of Blogversation 2012.
Today’s question comes from your Blogversation hostess, Colleen: @cnewvine on Twitter.
How do you prefer to communicate? Does it depend on the person, your goal, your mood?
My husband, John, recently declared that he’s had it with email. He gets too much of it, he’s overwhelmed trying to keep up with it, and he’d rather just quit it entirely.
Coincidentally, I’d been thinking that morning how irritating I find the phone.
Somehow my phone always rings at the most inopportune time — I’m dashing out the door, we’re sitting down to dinner, I’m in the middle of something I’d really like to keep my focus on. As a result, I often keep the ringer on my phone off and check for messages now and again.
I wasn’t always this way. Like most American teenage girls, I probably spent half my waking hours talking about absolutely nothing on the phone – so much so that my mom bought me my own phone line in my bedroom as a gift one Christmas.
Moving to New York played a part in my change in attitude.
We live in a one-bedroom apartment, which means if I’m on the phone and John’s home, I can either yammer away near him, which feels rude, or go occupy some chunk of the apartment, which feels like shutting him off from our already limited square footage. Talking outside is an option, if you don’t mind sirens, horns, the rumble of trucks and any number of other noisy distractions.
Back when we had a Midwestern house, he’d sometimes chat with a friend downstairs in his man cave and I’d have no idea he’d even been on the phone until he hung up and told me someone said hello.
Plus we don’t have a landline here and the sketchy AT&T service on my cell means managing delays and drops, sometimes having to stand near a bedroom window for clear reception. I know cellphones are new technology, but it’s annoying and distracting.
John and I agree on one thing: we prefer in-person conversation. There’s no substitute for the intimacy of being in each other’s space, making eye contact, reading each other’s body language and not having technology between you.
But he prefers the phone as his second choice, because he likes hearing voice inflections and especially likes sharing a real-time laugh.
My Plan B is email — his nemesis.
I’m a writer. I think intuitively in writing, and (I like to think) my vocabulary is better with a little time to compose.
My friends are busy, and have schedules all over the map. If I send an email, they can reply whenever and wherever they have time. Ditto for messages I receive. I have friends who are nutty morning people, and they can send me notes hours before I get up, allowing me to respond at a more civilized hour.
I like that if I have one little thought to share, like passing along a link to an article or a YouTube video, I can do that with just a few sentences.With a phone call, it would feel awkward to call a friend and just say, “Hey, did you see that band you like is going to be on Letterman Thursday?” then hang up.
Related, if I’m sharing something, the recipient can click right through, instead of saying “Did you see that article in New York magazine? Yup, you should make a note to yourself to look that up later.”
My plan C: social media. It has the same benefits of sharing links, photos and such, with a more social, interactive aspect with a fun X factor. I love when I post something to Facebook and get a response from some long-lost person I’d nearly forgotten was a Facebook friend.
That’s not to say I’m totally against the phone. I think I just treat it more like making a date. I want to have the time and be logistically in a place that allows me to focus on the person on the other end instead of my watch or my whereabouts.
Does that make me more “Call Me Maybe” than “I Just Called to Say I Love You?”