Young working adults in S’pore dread work calls, please text us instead?

For your consideration please.

Mandy How | February 26, 05:44 pm


It is not a quirk (to put it kindly) that my mother understands.

“Why can’t you just call???” she would lament. “It’s so much easier than going back and forth over text!”

She has since given up on me.

But I see her point.

On some occasions, a phone call is efficient enough to justify itself.

If you’re lucky, the entire thing may just end under 30 seconds. A dismal attitude even outside of a matrimonial context, we know.

Anxiety-inducing experience

In our defence, it comes with a host of downsides that are not often elucidated.

This is especially so if you’re calling a stranger or an acquaintance for work-related purposes.

You’ve probably been through it, if you’re a young working adult — calling someone for the first time, wondering what they’ll sound like, how they’ll react to your call, etc. etc.

The anxiety is probably compounded by the fact that there are no physical cues or body language to pick up on, as both parties are not interacting in person (admittedly, a real life meeting presents a whole other set of challenges for the socially awkward).

Before dialling the number, you would have already rehearsed your opening line — a greeting in a faux cheery tone that makes you want to throw up in your mouth — and how you’ll respond to the person after that, and after that, and after that.

After you’ve punched in the numbers, every ring dials your your stress levels up a notch, until you realise that no one is picking up the call and you think, “Heng ah, now can message.”

More cons

Upon examining the above closely, one might realise that it is somewhat about the act of calling, and not so much about speaking on the phone itself.

We’re getting to that in a bit.

1. An unreachable itch

For one, as frivolous as it seems, talking over the phone assaults just one side of your hearing, sometimes producing an itch that you can never quite reach.

It’s akin to having someone constantly whispering at you, except louder. Eugh.

2. Hygiene

For another, if you’re using the office phone, it’s a matter of hygiene.

Imagine your least favourite colleague. Now imagine their face pressing against yours.

That is exactly what the communal phone does for me.

3. Calling can sometimes be more inefficient

In matters of practicality, any phone call longer than 30 seconds is no longer considered efficient.

With one hand holding the phone (yes, I do live in a world with airpods — airpods that cost about S$200), less dexterous callers might find themselves limited in the number of tasks they can carry out in the meantime.

Why go through all that trouble when you can spend anywhere between three to 10 seconds on a text?

4. Texting is clearly preferable if you wish to dissect every word in the conversation

Lastly, texting, instead of phoning, provides a mine of resources for the insufferable overthinkers among us.

Messages, unlike spoken dialogue, are not subject to the fallibility of memory, and are therefore faultlessly present for those who wish to sift through and examine it.

For instance, you might need receipts that a certain conversation did take place.

Maybe, while on the verge of falling asleep, you realise that you’ve said something that could be interpreted as inappropriate. Or rude.

… But it’s not just work calls.

Although we are significantly less averse to calls from families and close friends, it is still not something that we do often, if at all.

It is notable that friends around my age text more often than they call, even when it comes to deeply personal matters.

After making my case, I should probably confess that I am so averse to talking over the phone that I have never once called my significant other for a chat, despite having been together for two years.

Not that I’ve heard any complaints over it.

Top image via Stare Cat

About Mandy How

Mandy is a pantry rat. She eats everything in the pantry (except other people's food).

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