How many phone calls have you made this week? For me, the answer is close to none. I often find myself sending a text rather than taking time to chat on the phone.
I decided to see if I could go without my phone for a week, partly out of curiosity and partly because my cracked screen was making it difficult to text.
[Related: How to Ace Your Next Phone Interview]
This challenge initially seemed impossible and highly impractical. Texting has become such a regular part of my life that the concept of giving it up was already causing me anxiety. However, I enjoy a good challenge and decided to put my own sanity at risk in order to help others break their texting addiction. Here are some of the world-changing discoveries I made along the way.
- I overcame my telephone anxiety.
Did you know that I hate talking on the phone? It’s true. In addition to taking up too much time, it also makes me anxious. So naturally, I avoid it whenever possible. However, there have been times when apologizing for calling has been necessary because my “phone is broken so it’s hard to text and this was easier and….”
[Related: 8 Tips for Beating Your Anxiety]
I use to think that taking my call would be an inconvenience for the other person, but I soon realized that wasn’t the case. If someone didn’t want to talk to me, they wouldn’t answer the phone. Most of my friends are cool people who like me (most days), so there was no need for me to stress about calling them. Now that I realize this, it’s a lot less stressful for me to pick up the phone and make a call.
- I might depend on texting too much.
I was astonished at how frequently I would absentmindedly text my friends without even consciously realizing it. This challenge really made me aware of my dependency on texting as a means of communication. I promptly resolved to do better and not text so impulsively, but an hour later I found myself texting again. It’s clear that I have some work to do in terms of curbing my dependence on this technology!
- Texting can be useful in certain situations.
Calling became my only option, and I quickly realized how inconvenient it is. There were plenty of times I looked at a text from someone asking me a question, promised myself I would call this person later and then forgot. This was especially difficult with my friends and me having various class/life schedules. In a way, it was hard to stay connected because sometimes people are just unavailable to talk on the phone. This became especially painful when trying to respond to a group text – which we all already know is the worst.
- Staying in touch is much better over the phone.
I used to think that it was hard to give people quick, convenient answers, but I found that calling people who had texted me was much more satisfying. When one of my friends from home needed help with something, I decided to call her instead of simply texting back. We ended up talking for half an hour, and it was really great catching up with her. I realized that texting is no substitute for actually hearing someone’s voice.
As long as there are still people in my life, I don’t plan on giving up texting anytime soon. On days when I have a lot going on, it’s really handy to be able to quickly get in touch with someone or make plans. Also, if I don’t text then I’ll never be able to send my friends links to hilarious vines– and that’s one of my favorite things to do!
In other words, I will be picking up the phone more often to call my friends. Especially after moving away for college, it’s been really important to me to stay in touch with the friends I made in high school. Before this week, though, I hadn’t spoken on the phone with a lot of them very much, mostly just texting and Snap Chatting. Even though we were still staying connected that way, it felt so much better to take a break from my day and focus on our conversation. Making that call didn’t just make me feel closer to them–it brightened up my entire day.
Now I challenge you: If you’re feeling brave, try going an entire day without texting. If that’s too difficult, aim to limit it if you’re addicted. I promise not being able to text will help you stay present and focused at the moment. And if calling your friends and family is daunting because of how busy you are, just remember that even leaving a voicemail message can be beneficial for your sanity–and their day!
This article was originally published in The Lala.