Talking on the phone is a lost art. No one's really doing it anymore.
If you're under 40, you probably text, email, tweet, Skype, Facetime, "Yo"...anything but phone. If you're under 18, you probably don't even use actual words to communicate -- just tiny cute pictures, emoji, to get your point across.
Even Jeff Bezos, the 50-year-old CEO of Amazon -- which just launched a phone! -- recently admitted he doesn't use a phone. "I haven't made a phone call on my phone in a long time," Bezos told a New York Times reporter.
Still not convinced? Eighty-seven percent of high school seniors surveyed by school review site Niche said they text every day (it's far and away the most popular thing for them to do on their phones) while only 37 percent talk on the phone daily.
Still, sometimes people want to TALK to you. Like, maybe your grandmother or your dad? Or someone who wants to give you a job and pay you "money."
If you don't remember how to speak out loud to humans on the phone, these situations may become overwhelming.
"I don't pick up the phone when people call me because I'm anxious someone has died or is terminally ill," Maxwell Strachan, 26, told me via Gchat -- he declined to be interviewed by phone. Strachan, a HuffPost Business editor, said the only reason anyone uses the phone anymore is to break really bad news. "I don't want to have to react to that news in front of people, so I let it ring and hope to get the bad news in a room on my own via text or email."
I want to help Maxwell and others like him. I'm here to offer guidance on Phone Talking 101.
So what makes me, a 24-year-old who works on the Internet and spends her time writing about how to text people GIFs, qualified for this task? I, dear reader, am an only child. I speak to both of my parents on the phone every single day. Every. Single. Day. If you just count my conversations with my parents, I spend -- by a conservative estimate -- 30 minutes a day on the phone. That's 182.5 hours a year. I spend at least one week of the year on the phone.
Here are some things you need to remember when talking on the phone. For those of you uncomfortable with written language we offer a helpful emoji translation:
It's hard to know what to do while talking on the phone since you don't have your phone to look at. You may have a computer or iPad, however, and be tempted. Don't do it!
Don't check your email. Don't look at Facebook. Don't go on Twitter. Don't look at your computer at all.
This isn't Skype. When you're talking on the phone, you're not looking at the person you're talking to. Actually, let's be real...when you're on the phone, you're not looking at the video of yourself in the corner of a screen the way you do on Skype.
Odds are, you won't know what to do with your eyes when you're on the phone. Consider looking into a mirror while you talk if it makes you more comfortable. The mirror is the original front-facing camera.
It's easy to let your mind wander when you're talking on the phone. When you're texting, you can respond whenever you like. When you're talking on the phone, though, you're expected to reply the moment the other person stops talking. If you're unsure of what to say, you can choose one of these generic phrases:
"Tell me more!"
"And then what?"
These phrases should work in most situations.
There are no emoji to use while you're speaking out loud. If your friend has a crying kitty face, you'll have to imagine it. One way to determine someone's mood without emoji, video or Snapchat, is to listen to their tone of voice.
Listen to their voice. Does it sound especially high? Are they short of breath? Is their voice cracking? Wimpering? That might mean your friend is crying. Try to pay special attention to a friend who is crying.
Is he or she saying outrageous things in a calm, serious voice? That might be sarcasm! The list of emotions goes on and on. Try to make sure you can identify different emotions before you take a lot of phone calls.