Week 19 : The Death of the Phone Call

Wait, Week 19? But you haven’t even recapped Weeks 1-18 yet? I know. I wish I had known when I started doing Five Day Discipline back in March that it was going to be something I was going to want to write about and document because then I wouldn’t have 18 weeks of content to try and catch up on for the internet. But I didn’t know. And if I had a time machine I probably wouldn’t be using it for anything related to the internet (Okay, maybe some well timed investments Biff style but that’s it). So here we are. Some stories start in the middle. I promise I will write about the earlier weeks of this experiment in detail. Just not today. Today is about Week 19, 10 minute conversations and The Death of the Phone Call.Phone

Remember pay phones? Once everybody owned cell phones they became obsolete. And do you remember phone calls? Well, those were snuffed out when everybody started texting. I’m not claiming that nobody actually talks on the phone anymore. I witness my parents speaking on the phone regularly. But it’s probably a generational thing. Most of the people I know are actually annoyed when they receive phone calls. “Like, what do you want?” and ” Why can’t you just text it to me?” A phone call is putting people on the spot. You don’t have all the time you want to ponder your response to a question like you do in a text message. It’s immediate. My first reaction when my phone starts ringing is usually “Okay, what does this person want from me?” If I don’t have a good guess at the answer I hesitate to pick up.

And so I thought it might be fun to make ten minute phone calls each day for my Five Day Discipline this week, with no agenda but to talk. I chose a 10 minute duration (minimum) because that amount of time would require me to exercise my communication skills (or lack thereof). In short, I couldn’t just say “Hi” and “Bye” and pat myself on the back for a job well done.

Five Day Discipline: Talk on the phone to somebody each day for at least 10 minutes

Who I called: My parents, a cousin I’m close with and friends that I’ve known for seven years or much longer. I didn’t plot this out ahead of time I just decided each day who I wanted to call. I ended up talking to seven people over the five days because I found out that I actually enjoy being on the phone.

What we talked about: Everything. Nothing. Grandparents. Medication. School. Writing. Future jobs. New ideas. Neighbors. Energy drink contests. Things we did that day. One friend even got to tell me how his mom had burned me by saying a good Five Day Discipline would be “Not talking about Five Day Discipline for five days.” It was funny (but I’m crying inside).

What I learned: Perhaps the greatest lesson I learned this week is that there is value in talking to somebody even when there is no obvious reason to be talking. Major life events like weddings or new jobs or health scares are important but there is so much more to life than the peaks and valleys. Life is built by a thousand tiny inconsequential moments as much as it is built by events that make the yearbook.

Did this week change my life? I wouldn’t go so far as to say that, but it did change my perspective on relationships a little bit. I love the people in my life. I care deeply for my parents and my cousins and my friends. They are worth my time. Nurturing those relationships is important to me and a quick text of “Hey, how’s it going?” isn’t as powerful as calling someone. A phone call in today’s environment tells somebody that they are worth your time and that you care about what is going on in their life.

After this week I realized that a phone call is more than two people talking to each other. There is value in the personal connection a phone call creates that a text message just can’t provide.  So please pick up the phone if my name pops up on your screen in the future, because I might have nothing to talk about.

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