Why don't we talk on the phone anymore? (2023)

Almost 80% of young people feel anxious and anxious when they have to call, although several studies highlight that this is good for improving bonds with our family members.

Just as we are about to stop, science is discovering the benefits of using the phone.

Hearing a friendly voice creates stronger bonds than sending a text message, says this University of Texas study.

The same researchers acknowledge that most of us would rather send an audio or text than call, but the connection we seek would be made through talking rather than compulsively typing monosyllables on WhatsApp.

At least some generations have made it a habit to use the phone.

Pretty synchronous communication, because we already send as many audio and voice notes as texts.

Synchronous communication is the one that takes place in real time, forcing us to have an immediate and precise answer ready, while the other listens to our hesitations or imitates our silences.

In asynchronous communication systems such as WhatsApp audios or text messages, it is possible to edit and delete them.

In short, being in control of the version of ourselves we want to show, but in real-time conversations tells us everything.

It is recommended that telemarketers who engage in telephone marketing speak with a smile.

"You can even guess if you smile on the phone," they are taught in training courses.

And who wants that level of transparency and vulnerability in their lives?

You can't let anyone in


in a phone conversation.

The Telephone Foundation report

Digital society in Spain

ensures that among young people between the ages of 14 and 24, the daily use of instant messages is almost twice as high as that of calls.

In this age group, they interact daily and very frequently, but through Telegram and WhatsApp, the preferred channel for almost 97% of young people in Spain.

The report, conducted using data from 2018, also finds that 40% of teens between the ages of 14 and 19 communicate via video calls from their bedroom, but not with everyone, only with those closest to them And that doesn't include parents. who, if they dared to make a video call with their children, would probably receive a laconic WhatsApp in response: "What do you want?"

somewhat intergenerational

“I'm Generation X [between 40 and 50 years old] and I fully understand the benefits of synchronous communication,” says Cristóbal Fernández, vice-rector of the Faculty of Information Sciences at Complutense University of Madrid, adding: “Calls are synchronous paradigm of communication, but they are quite disruptive, they don't necessarily occur at the right time.

Instead, the asynchronous communication can be better prepared.

The synchronous can create anxiety, even panic, in the youngest who hesitate to answer a call the moment it occurs.

Therefore, it is becoming more and more common to always charge the cell phone in silence.

According to survey 2022

Millennials “mute” call stats.

conducted by BankMyCell, 75% of young people (20-year-olds and teens) avoid calls because they “take too much time” and 64% say they avoid dealing with “aggressive and demanding people.”

Almost 80% feel anxious and anxious when they have to call and need a few minutes to prepare.

The poll lists the tactics implemented to avoid responding.

From always making silent calls (63%) to never being reachable (12%).

There are also those who will let the phone ring while looking at the screen and when the caller finally hangs up, send a strategic message: "Did you call me?"

An overwhelming 88% prefer having unlimited data on their phone plans over making calls, which they consider "intrusive, disruptive and high risk of verbal confrontation".

The eight minute rule

However, another study was published in the journal in 2021


showed that adults who received a quick phone call were able to rapidly reduce anxiety, depression and feelings of loneliness during the pandemic.

And to be a little happier in 2023

The New York Times newspaper

published a list of challenges including making phone calls.

Therapy would work if and only if the length of the talk was predetermined: eight minutes.

No more no less.

According to the New Yorker newspaper, the pact is essential to settling uncertainties and minimizing tensions.

“Calling again at that moment when we managed to limit the time of communication and gain effectiveness?

It seems to me that it means wanting to open doors to the field,” says psychologist Isabel Larraburu.

For her it was "a very positive and practical development" to now have to ask permission to call.

“Chat calls are stale and scary.

It's not known how long they will last, unlike an audio you know before you hear it," he adds.

The idea of ​​agreeing to the eight minutes came from a 2021 study by Harvard University's Department of Psychology that showed calls were rarely ended when both participants wanted to.

After analyzing 932 phone calls, the research team concluded that there was always one person who went missing, while to another the call seemed like an eternity.

Accordingly, the discrepancy between the actual and desired conversation corresponded to half of the conversation.

The study's authors say that ending a call is "a classic coordination problem" that people used to making many endings in their lives couldn't solve because, they say, to do it they would need information for them usually hide from each other. .

Requesting permission to call is 'a very positive and practical development'

Isabel Larraburu, Psychologist

“In order to have a conversation, people must produce and understand speech in real time, take turns in quick succession, infer what their interlocutors know and want to know, and remember what has been said and what has not been said.

Conversation is a complex set of seemingly simple tasks,” the study authors write.

Closing a lecture is one of the most complex tasks of a lecture, the researchers confirm.

In their experiments, they found that many conversations end due to external circumstances: a person arriving, an elevator to take, or a bus leaving... In most cases, the person who initiates the conversation is also the person who ends it .

Psychologists, linguists and communication scientists have described these closing rituals.

From polite phrases like "A pleasure as always" or "I loved talking to you" to more or less subtle transitions like "Well...", "Let's go..." or "Let's see if you see each other". , but they don't know when people will decide to start them.

never improvise

The formula for agreeing to a brief but real connection is to square the circle: eliminate friction and enjoy the benefits of the phone.

Of course you would have to let us know beforehand.

Telephone conversations in the post-digital age are never improvised.

Just hearing the voice of someone you love is "emotionally regulating," Harvard researchers say, and that would be the first benefit of getting back on the phone.

Eight minutes would be enough if there was an affective bond beforehand that triggers the hormonal responses that produce well-being.

Researchers wonder how many people feel lonely because they can't hang up on a call in time.

“Social interaction is not a luxury, it is critical to mental well-being, physical health and longevity, and conversation is its sustenance.

Mastering the art of conversation—when it starts, when it ends, how it works, when it tires and when it disappoints—will allow us to maximize its benefits,” they add.

"Only 7% of communicative effectiveness lies in words, the rest lies in paraverbal and non-verbal communication, including postures, gestures, looks and even smells, and it is true that certain social skills are lost in asynchronous communication, such as spontaneity or naturalness." , explains Fernandez.

Those who are not properly trained feel uncomfortable and vulnerable, and most importantly, ineffective in conversation.

Between WhatsApp and audios, we forget what it was like to reply without filters and in real time, without causing much drama.

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