HOLD THE PHONE
Like the technology we use, millennial anxiety is complex and always changing – and with telephonophobia ( fear of speaking on the phone) a hot topic, we ask: is ignoring phone calls a fair move, or just plain rude?
FAIR MOVE LYNETTE BOTHA
@Ms_Lynetteb I’m an anxious person by nature. I always feel like I’m on the back foot and su er from social anxiety. This is not always apparent on the surface. I’m one of those strange ‘extroverted-introvert’ types of people. And a ringing phone puts the fear of God in me.
I used to think that this was an extremely irrational fear – that I was the only one su ering with this a iction. Not so. A willy-nilly poll around the o ce shows that out of around 15 of us, only three people don’t feel the same way. Add to that the countless articles – from Forbes to The Guardian – that try to elucidate why millennials are so afraid of speaking on the phone, and I think it’s fair to surmise that this is a generational issue.
An article on Businessinsider.com con rms my feelings: social psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson, says that millennials aren’t wrong – there is something intimidating about the phone. ‘It’s true that millennials are less practiced, having grown up with email and text and instant messaging . If your dominant form of communication with people hasn’t been the phone, then naturally you’ll be more anxious using that form of communication,’ she says. ‘Without the option of editing yourself, you’re more vulnerable. In other words, if the phone feels high-pressure, that’s because it is. You have to respond immediately, so there’s a greater likelihood you’ll choke.’ Does this reaction stem from a lack of con dence in ourselves – and our on-the-spot decisions Possibly. As a generation, millennials are proclaimed to be entitled, opinionated and whiny, and also very sensitive to criticism and feedback. But the decision to avoid the phone is surely linked to the fact that we’ve been born in a time where we are connected 24/7. Not answering the phone is our de ance against something we had no choice in creating.
As Arianna Hu ngton so eloquently put it, phones should be there to help and not to hinder – it’s our right to answer (and reply) when it suits us, and not the other way around.
So please, don’t call me; I’ll call you (maybe).
JUST PLAIN RUDE NONKULULEKO KHUMALO
I recently rang a friend who, a er missing my call, didn’t think to call back but rather texted asking if ‘I needed anything’. I didn’t; I only wanted to catch up. When I told another friend just how infuriated I was, he dismissed it as overreacting on my part.
Millennials increasingly seem to have something against the physical act of picking up or making phone calls, and always gravitate towards sending a text instead, which is not only rude, but also tricky.
There is something unnerving about texting, like the expectation that you should be near your phone for long periods of time in order to have a decent conversation. Real-time conversations, which eventually come to an end, sit a little better with me. We o en nd ourselves glued to our phones and chatting to many di erent people, while in the company of others. Our attention is so divided; it seems we’ve become incapable of having satisfactory individual conversations.
My recent and very brief online dating stint failed dismally because the constant texting and agging of endless questions for weeks became stale and exhausting. Even when we exchanged numbers, these guys made no e ort to call but happily texted, so much so that I was turned o from actually meeting them when the time came.
My greatest peeve with texting though, is the insincerity. On so many occasions I have expressed fake concern, forged a laugh when in actual fact I wasn’t in the least invested in the conversation. Over and above, texting leaves too much room for confusion. Everything is le up to interpretation, and things can fester quite quickly if not clari ed. The truthfulness of phone calls is underrated; you can pick up nuances in the person’s voice, and you can tell what they are thinking without them taking minutes to cra the ‘perfect’ response.
There is a level of respect that comes with phone calls, which I appreciate. Simply put, phone calls say that I value your time and I want to have a genuine conversation. @NonkuKhumalo