This past Sunday, with all the Purim craziness going on, I still managed to read an interesting article in the NY Times whose headline caught my eye.In Don't Call Me, I Won't Call You, the writer posits that telephones are slowly becoming obsolete.
While everyone has a cell phone, they are mostly used for texting and emails. Nowadays we make plans, catch up and communicate via facebook, twitter or email, but rarely over the phone. People interviewed in the article claim that phones are obtrusive, a person calls and expects to be responded to right away, whether or not you are busy. Email, on the other hand, can be answered at your leisure.
I will definitely agree that often, a quick email can be a lot more efficient than playing phone tag with someone or finding a time that works for everyone. But that is only true for business issues or other areas that require lots of planning and hammering out details.
If you really want to have a relationship with someone, you need to speak. Ideally, face to face, but if not then definitely over the phone.
Living far away from family, the phone is a great way to keep up with my them. I speak to some of them on a weekly basis, while others sometimes forget to call for months on end (um...you know who you are), but the bottom line is that in order to maintain a relationship, you need to talk!
One of my closest friends lives an hour drive away. Sometimes it feels like she might as well be living in a different country because we never see each other. We do make a point of checking in with each other by phone almost daily, to have serious talks or just vent about our childrens' newest shenanigans. It's our way of connecting and sharing.
Most importantly, though, I use the phone to speak with my husband. When we first met, we lived in different countries, actually on different continents. We dated long distance and tried to see each other as often as possible, but the phone was really what kept our relationship going. This was in the pre-historic days before skype, when you actually still had to buy phone cards and punch in access codes. We spoke for hours on end, minimally for two hours every other day. We also set some records, like the night we spent over five hours speaking. Do not ask me, what we discussed for so long, but it was just one of the many conversations that brought us closer.
Now that we have been married for seven years (Happy Anniversary to us by the way) and live in the same house, communication is obviously a lot easier :) But I still like to speak on the phone at least once, because he is often out for a large part of the day and especially when he is traveling. A quick "Hello/ I am thinking about you/ how was your day so far?" What some psychologists like to call "mindfulness".
That is really what speaking to someone on the phone is about on some level. I am thinking about you and wondering how you are, so I pick up the phone to reach out and connect with you. And last I checked, genuine connection is not becoming obsolete, hopefully not for a long time.