I was talking with a friend of mine a couple days ago about communication in today’s generation. Specifically, methods of communication and the inherent psychology behind it. It applies to initial courting between people, but also to relationships. Today’s generation has access to a variety of electronic communication: email, texting, FB, Twitter, etc. As a result, we’ve come to rely heavily on these means. The main benefit to them is their safety. They’re low pressure, you can think about your response and take as long as you like to reply. So they’re not scary. The downside to this safety is that electronic communications are often fraught with miscommunication. The person on the other end can’t read your emotion through your words, and so we’re forced to pepper our texts and emails with “lol”, “haha”, and smiley faces. Think of how much implied meaning a winky face can carry. It can completely change the meaning of an entire sentence! It’s all massively stupid to me, but sadly necessary so that people don’t think that you’re a sociopath or an asshole.
As a result of texting, actual conversation has fallen by the wayside. Phone calls have become an anachronism. In fact, phone calls have become downright terrifying. I think that, psychologically speaking, calling someone has always been terrifying. The difference between our generation and our parents’ generation is that they didn’t have a choice. If you wanted to talk to a girl, you had to either call her, or send a letter and wait. Personally, I think letter writing is actually super romantic, but I digress. Personal anecdote: I had been dating my ex for at least 3 weeks before we spoke on the phone for the first time. I remember calling her for the first time. I was in the parking lot of a movie theater, nervous as all hell, called her and she didn’t pick up. Later that night, she told me the reason she didn’t pick up was that she thought I was calling to break up with her. So clearly phone calls are terrifying for everyone.
Something about phone calls is scarier even than face to face communication. You still have that pressuring obligation to maintain the flow of a face to face conversation, but you now have a wall between you that prevents you from seeing a person’s facial emotions. Still, I vastly prefer a phone call if just for the personal touch of hearing someone’s laugh. That’s just something that a “LOL” simply can’t translate.