Chaturday Listen/Watch/Read Nice Life Reminders

Chaturday: The Way We Talk

Lily Brett Only In New York

Chaturday is a new thing I’m doing. It’s partly to record the scribbles on the little post-it note flags I keep putting in the books I’m reading. And it’s partly because I love hearing what other people think about stuff.

Today, I was reading my (much beloved) Lily Brett book, and an essay about how we talk to each other now really got me thinking.

One of the things I love about some writers and commentators is the way they pepper their work with seemingly small details and observations. And Lily’s essay is partly about the fact that modern communication may not be terribly encouraging of that peppering.

Here’s part of what she wrote – the context of this bit is that people hardly ever TALK on the phone anymore, because we can text (which she loves too) and use online communication (she also loves that.)

To be clear, Lily’s not being critical. She’s just noticing important stuff.

 

Phone conversations don’t stay on a straight course. They can career straight into unexpected moments. Even for those of us who write relatively long emails, there is still little chance of wandering off on an inadvertently revealing tangent.

If you look at the transcript of a thirty-minute phone call, you would be shocked at how much gets said, how much is revealed, is understood and becomes evident. You can’t remove and delete an expression or a tone when you are talking on the phone. It is very hard to see behind a tidy line in an email or a message.

– Lily Brett : Talking : Only In New York

 

So what do you think about that?

How do you see over the tidy line of the people you care about, if they are being careful about what they ‘publish’?

And are we publishing rather than just expressing, a lot of the time?

And when we DO rantily or gingerly express, is it in such a public way (hello Facebook) that it’s sanctioned or critiqued, and thus discouraging and possibly even invalidating?

Do you miss the tangents, tone, twists and turns?

Are we missing out on the peppery little details, much of the time?

Do you talk on the phone, or avoid it? (I avoid it!)

23 Comments

  • Reply
    Jessie
    February 22, 2017 at 9:40 PM

    I’m the same, I always put off making an actual phone call, but when I do, it’s like, ‘how easy was that?’ I often start sending a text to my mum, but then end up calling, or she’ll send an essay instead of a text (!) so it’s easier to reply in person rather than address/respond to multiple points. I talked to a close friend yesterday and it was great, we covered a ridiculous amount of ground. When you have things you want to talk over, for me a real chat is definitely the way to go. I booked up to talk to a friend & colleague tomorrow rather than email or text because I need to make sure she understands the subtleties of what I need to ask her.
    But I miss the landline, hate talking on mobiles! Following up on Lily Brett, thanks Pip 🙂

  • Reply
    kim
    February 20, 2017 at 8:19 AM

    I used to be a talk for hours on the phone person but now I think I’ve almost got a phobia about having to talk on the phone. I hate it. I think it started when I got rid of my cordless phone for a corded one when i was going through my paranoid-of-electromagnetic radiation phase and I couldn’t stand having to sit in the one spot for so long. Now I’ve gone back to a cordless phone but pretty much avoid it like the plague – and I’m over my brain tumour fears.

    I agree though, I reckon we are probably losing an element of conversation with all the editing etc. It’s so much quicker and easier though. Agh, what to do in this frantic, techno-filled era???? xx

  • Reply
    Kate
    February 19, 2017 at 3:09 PM

    I really don’t like talking on the phone. I don’t like to interrupt people by randomly calling them and I don’t do anything worthy of telling others. For that reason I like texts short, don’t have to say much and if it’s inconvenient they can just ignore it until a better time.

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 19, 2017 at 5:55 PM

      I wonder if most people don’t like talking on the phone… Or if it’s just US?!

      • Reply
        Kate
        February 19, 2017 at 7:15 PM

        I don’t know Pip. My husband and sister prefer to ring than text or email, they both get annoyed with me because I don’t like to phone. I can also not answer the phone if it doesn’t suit me, we have an answering machine they will leave a message. It drives him crazy. But it drives me crazy if I am talking to him and he answers or responds to a notification on his phone. To me that is really rude and bad manners. It leaves me feeling like second choice.

  • Reply
    Miss Oodles
    February 18, 2017 at 11:41 PM

    I always go off on tangents in my texts! I feel much more able to express myself and talk freely in texts/emails/letters than I do in person or on the phone. My communications would be a lot less if it all had to be by phone. I wish text was more prevalent when I was a teenager and speaking to boys! You had to sit by the landline waiting for a boy to ring so you could get it before your mum!

    I have always been a fan of handwritten letters but they take a long time and hurt my hand in the end ? so email and text are great!

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 19, 2017 at 5:58 AM

      You must be a GOOD phone typist, too, Miss Oodles. Typing on the phone hurts my brain! (And that is so right about the boy-landline thing!)

  • Reply
    Kim
    February 18, 2017 at 9:18 PM

    Because my mum and best friend live interstate I really enjoy a good one hour chat to both when we get a chance. Mum does not like mobile phones so there is no other option.

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 19, 2017 at 5:59 AM

      Oh that is NICE. It’s so good that you prioritise that, because it’s easy to let phone calls slide. Good one!

  • Reply
    renae
    February 18, 2017 at 8:17 PM

    I’m not really a phone person because I have to psych myself up to make the call, however when I’m on the phone you really do say so much more, and as your article says, so much less filtered. I love talking to my sister and mum on the phone but somewhere along the way I stopped calling friends. Mum said only recently she liked long letters as they would go off on tangents in ways email doesn’t, (possibly because they were handwritten and harder to edit?), and misses those newsy ramblings from relatives and friends.

    In short, I do think we miss out a bit by relying on text these days 🙂

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 19, 2017 at 5:59 AM

      I feel a bit the same about phone calls – you sort of have to dive in quickly, before you lose your nerve!

  • Reply
    Elaine Emmerson
    February 18, 2017 at 8:01 PM

    Someone said to me this week that’s they don’t like talking on the phone as you just end up talking over each other. This doesn’t really happen to me but I chat on the phone everyday. I do think we could all be out of practice in phone skills and etiquette. During a 30min chat I could say goodbye then chat more 2 or 3 times!!!!

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 19, 2017 at 6:00 AM

      That is an interesting point! Perhaps we are losing the fine art of phone chat technique!

  • Reply
    Amy
    February 18, 2017 at 5:45 PM

    I have always been someone who preferred emails (and now texting) to the phone, but you/Lily make a good point! Sometimes lately I do want to chat on the phone, but most topics would end up heavily edited due to the fact that I spend much of my time with a very inquisitive 5yo and a repeats-everything 3yo and a yelping 1yo – ha! In those situations texting is much more private and suitable to constant interruptions. I’m glad for texting for that reason but the odd phone call would be good to work in.

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 18, 2017 at 6:09 PM

      I am so inclined to agree with everything you just said! I am a bit anti-phone, so I need to get my act together and try a bit harder with that…!

  • Reply
    Ally
    February 18, 2017 at 4:30 PM

    I think that’s why I like letters and postcards…they ALWAYS go in funny directions

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 18, 2017 at 6:08 PM

      Something about the medium, maybe? Invites chatter?

  • Reply
    Megan
    February 18, 2017 at 1:54 PM

    Oh I love and adore Lily Brett! Hmmmm. I avoid phone conversations like the plague, which is so silly because sometimes my text conversations go for much longer sometimes!

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 18, 2017 at 6:03 PM

      I think you are my twin, Megan! <3

  • Reply
    Annette
    February 18, 2017 at 12:54 PM

    I definitely think the ways we chat has become new and different. I used to pick up the phone for good chats and I very rarely do it anymore.

    I remember watching the 1500 metres swim of the 2000 Olympics with a friend of mine – over the phone! A good 15 minutes of Oooh, yes, go Aussie and snippets of chat between laps.

    The thing I find most discouraging about online chat is the defensive posture we seen to fall into so quickly. It’s really yuk. I say we need to combine curiosity and questions into our chats again. It’s not a dog fight, it’s just a chat. Hopefully!

    Great topic Pip. And I definitely agree with the quote too. Phone chats, like face to face chats go everywhere in ways we might be losing online.

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 18, 2017 at 6:08 PM

      I think a lot of what happens online is that someone posts an observation or personal experience, and suddenly it’s a debate. Especially on Facebook. Ugh.

      I used to lie in the hallway talking on the phone to my bestie for HOURS. Making people step over me. SUCH a brat!

  • Reply
    Reannon
    February 18, 2017 at 12:11 PM

    I still talk on the phone. Everyday to my husband & often with my sister & best friend. Not as often as I should with my mum. I also send talking messages via whatsapp to people. I LOVE them because they can hear all my feelings, my laughter, my excitement & then I get it all back in their messages. It’s a super fun way to keep in touch, especially for people like me who live in different time zones from those we love, which can make phone calls tricky to time.
    I’ve also started writing letters to a friend. It’s so fun. Makes us feel like teenagers again 🙂

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      February 18, 2017 at 6:02 PM

      You are all over it, Reannon! I never thought of using WhatsApp like that. GOOD CALL!

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