Do People Call Anymore?

All right, real talk: what exactly is the current situation with phone calls?

I really, really don’t mean to sound needy, or whiny, or anything like that with this post, but I don’t think I can talk about this without coming off that way. The only people that call me are my bosses, my mother, and my grandparents. My bosses just want to know if I can cover for someone, my mother just needs one more thing to distract her while she’s driving, and my grandparents… well, they’re old, and don’t really communicate any other way. But my friends? Nope. Never get calls anymore. For that matter, I only regularly talk to one of my friends on the phone, but I’m always the one that needs to call him.

And I’m not gonna lie, it’s very frustrating. Very, very frustrating. And after doing some research and looking at other articles exploring this topic, I’m not the only one distraught over this. To tell the truth, I’m actually pretty scared to call people. And not just girls I like, but actual friends. I always feel like if they wanted to chat on the phone, they would call. I feel like no one really calls just to say hi or talk for a while anymore. 

And… I dunno. It makes me sad. Because even though I personally never get calls anymore, I do see other people talking on the phone. I see people talking on the phone in stores, while driving, and at restaurants, even though they’re with other people or even on dates. Hell, even when I’m hanging out with friends, they’ll take calls. And I’m not gonna lie, I find it really rude. If I was back in high school, and we saw each other a lot and were kind of just hanging out for the sake of hanging out, I don’t think I would have minded so much. But now, when I have to drive a while to see people, plan get-togethers ahead of time, and match up schedules to even get something to work out, I just find it really rude for someone to interrupt a conversation with me to go have one with someone else.

And I really don’t want to make a big deal about it, especially because I know they’re not intentionally trying to make me feel bad. I know shit comes up. Sometimes they have to take a call because of work. Sometimes they were expecting a call before I even arrived. Sometimes it’s someone they haven’t spoken to in a while and they don’t want to be rude (ha). And to that, fine. Talk for a couple minutes.

But it’s when a few minutes have gone by and they’re not saying Can I call you back? I’m with a friend right now that I’m trying to find a polite way to say Can you call them back? You’re with a friend right now. One time I was at a friend’s house and we were in the middle of talking about some heavy things that were bothering me at the time, and no joke, she answers her phone in the middle of it and just goes on to talk to another one of her girlfriends for at least a good, solid fifteen minutes (and no, it wasn’t anything important; they were just gossiping).

In addition to being rude, it hurts to be ignored like that. I’m just sitting there, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for whoever I’m with to wrap up a separate conversation. And the whole time I’m thinking how it’s kind of strange that I never get phone calls/never get called back when I do call these people, yet they have no problem dropping everything to answer if I’m with them.

So I’m honestly at a bit of a loss, here. On the one hand, I never get phone calls anymore. People don’t tend to answer when I call them, either (or call back), so I’m kind of assuming people are either too busy or just don’t like having conversations on the phone anymore. But on the other hand… yeah, they still do. And at really stupid times.

Sometimes I think maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m boring. Maybe the fact that I’m even talking about phone calls at all make me sound needy, or like a loser. Writing a blog post about it probably isn’t helping. Although when I’m hanging out with my good friends, they are enjoying my company, the conversations I bring to the table, and just generally enjoy my presence, so I can’t be that bad.

Other times I think maybe different forms of communication spoiled people. Concentrating on a phone call takes more effort and time than texting, and texting takes more effort and time than commenting through Facebook, Twitter, etc., and commenting takes more effort and time than leaving a like (although this is a topic in and of itself, one that I’ll tackle sometime in the future).

There’s also the factor of growing up. I don’t want to repeat old habits of spending a couple of hours on the phone every other day, and I can’t imagine anyone else does, either. But we had a lot of free time to do that as high schoolers. As adults, we got busy and preoccupied with other responsibilities. I often look at social media as a primary reason for why people don’t talk to each other as much anymore, but social media started to really emerge around the same time I was growing out of my teenage years, and I often look past the fact that maybe phone calls are being ignored because talking on the phone can be viewed as a little juvenile.

Maybe it’s a cell phone thing. In a time where landlines are becoming obsolete, cell phones dominate any type of phone call. And honestly, I’ve never been in a cell phone conversation where the sound quality was better than a landline call. Not even on an iPhone. And since people use cell phones everywhere, all the wind and other background noises make people really hard to understand at all. And since most people have their phones on them at all times, they’re usually hanging out with someone or doing something else while talking to you, never really giving you their full attention. Not hard to see why most people prefer texting if this was the case. Plus, you have to pay money to use your cell phone as a phone. And with different social media sites that let you talk for free, why would anyone want to pay for a phone call anyway?

Maybe people really just don’t like phone calls anymore. One of the articles I was reading went so far as to say that phone calls are intrusive, inconsiderate, and a waste of time. And I won’t lie, when I call someone, and they’re not really saying much or seeming like they’re into the conversation, I freeze up and wonder if calling was even a good idea. I said before I was scared to call people, and this is one of the reasons why. If they’ve never called me, and they don’t show much effort into holding up a conversation, I have to assume they don’t want to be called.

Or maybe everyone feels like I do. Maybe everyone’s so self-conscious about calling each other they just don’t do it. Maybe they see everyone communicating through social media and just adapted to that because it’s socially acceptable. Maybe we all have a few numbers we really want to call but don’t. Maybe we all have some people that we want to say I wish you called more but don’t because it sounds too needy or offensive.

I don’t know. I feel like a needy loser just from sharing this anonymously. Imagine how I would feel if I ever told anyone I knew all this. But I’m not alone, far from it. Look at articles about this and it’s clear that it’s a decent issue enough people struggle with. All I know is, I’d feel a lot better if I spent ten or twenty minutes a week having an actual conversation with each of my friends. Not over chat, or through text, but conversations where I can get undivided attention and hear a voice. Conversations that don’t always have to be initiated by me.

Because it’s hard to keep up friendships when you get older, you know? If you’re not in their immediate vicinity, like at work or in school, it gets hard to keep up with people. And when it’s hard to sync up schedules to meet up and when people don’t show much of an interest in calling, well then… what is there, you know? Can’t keep good friendships if all people do is text and leave likes on Facebook. And sometimes they can’t even do that.

Again, I really don’t mean to come off as needy, whiny, or anything like that. But this is a subject that my mind has drifted to more than once, and I’m really curious to see who legitimately wants phone calls anymore.

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