phoneI experienced it again. A colleague sent me an email to ask: “Can I call you this morning?” I wondered why he didn’t just pick up the phone right then.

But later in the day I was sitting in my office when I thought of calling my daughter. “No,” I said to myself, “she’s probably busy. I’ll send her a text tomorrow.”

Has it come to this? Do we need to make appointments to use the telephone to talk to people? Why do we not hesitate at all to text or email them? Or even to tweet or send a Facebook message?

Telephone use seems to be on the wane. My unscientific study (which consists of asking my friends) confirms this. I have no statistics to back this up.

In the business world today, you can differentiate yourself just by using the phone instead of email. Imagine!

Heck, there’s even an app that lets you text companies instead of phoning them. You can ask: “Do you have any Nintendo wii nunchuck controllers available and how much are they?” Or “How much are your macaroons and which flavours do you carry?” These are very important questions! (I’m not making these up.)

In my own household, I gave up my home landline more than three years ago. Since my kids and I owned individual mobile phones, and I had a landline in my home office, the only calls that came through on the home phone were telemarketers. I got tired of taking silly calls from people selling duct cleaning while I was cooking dinner.

But even if we abandon the home phone, why the hesitation to use the phone at all? If you’re dating someone, he feels he needs to make an appointment to call you. You text your kids instead of calling. Your friend sends an e-card on your birthday but doesn’t phone. If you dial someone out of the blue, they wonder who died.

When I was a teenager, of course, I lived on the phone. My mom would complain that no one could get through because I was constantly yakking to Mary Ellen or Nellie or one of my other friends from school. During this era, long-distance calls were ridiculously expensive. If I could have imagined what life would be like in 2014 with free long distance (on my office phone), I would have been over the moon. So why don’t I use this free long distance to chat frequently with my friends? Good question!

I think I’ll freak some people out and make some calls this week.

What’s your phone habit these days?


  1. Face-to-face communication seems even more rare than phone calls, at work and home. At home, I text my husband when dinner’s ready, and at work, people seated in the next office or down the hall exchange emails rather than speak in person. In the latter case, it may be a matter of wanting to have a “paper trail” or record of the discussion. Chalk up the former to incredible laziness on my part.

  2. As the parent of teenagers, I find I really don’t have a sense of who my kids are in contact with regularly, since they have their own phones and use social media, rather than our landline.

  3. Hi, Donna — I’m a big fan of Miss Manners and she wrote a few years ago that she welcomes the email/texting age because she ALWAYS felt the phone was an impolite intrusion. As in, “I want to speak with you now and it’s a convenient time for me but I’m not particularly concerned if it’s convenient or welcome for you.”

    I totally agree — I’ve never been a big fan, and these days especially I am always shocked when someone just phones me out of the blue. I love email!


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