Those Of You Who Call, Text and E-Mail All The Time..What Are You Saying?

This is an honest question and one that leads me to believe I truly don’t have the same mentality of many of my fellow humans. I often see ads for an absurd amount of cell phone minutes, unlimited text messages, and long distance services fighting for people’s business. My highest long distance phone bill in my life has been less than $10 and usually a fraction of that. I used to love to point that out to long distance telemarketers when they called to tell me about the great savings I could have with them. Then there is text messaging. I have worked hard to understand it and I think I understand the appeal in a limited number of circumstances. However, throw constant e-mails on to of all that I start to get really confused.

I am not anti-social although I tend to be a “I’ll call you if I die” type of person. My job requires constant communication in many forms however but I can’t for the life of me understand how that would apply in my private life.

My question is what are people doing when they communicate so much? Keep it basic because I have no idea why people would need to make private calls for more than 3 hours total a month and I live almost 2000 miles away from my family. I lead a pretty exciting life but frankly there just isn’t that much new content to go around to go around. I have a feeling this will lead to some type of revelation about a deeply embedded flaw that I have but I have to ask because I can’t comprehend the whole thing.

I didn’t really appreciate the free long-distance calling until I went to college. From that point onwards, I have found it a strange coincidence when I share an area code with someone I wish to call for social purposes. I’m somewhat under the impression that most people between 20 and 30 no longer rely on landlines, and dislike changing phone numbers and area codes, even when changing addresses. All of the local calls you make then would then become long distance to someone in my position.

As far as texting goes, I have less of a good answer for the reason that some people will use 500 of them in a month but I have often found that it is much simpler and less obtrusive to send a short message saying “Meet me at Salty’s for happy hour” to a friend or colleague, than try to make contact with them on their cell phone and go through the necessary pleasantries an actual phone call requires (while sending the exact same message). While it might be that the two minutes saved by sending text messages in these cases may not mean much, it certainly feels like I’m beating the system. However, these things do tend to add up.

Teens like to tell their friends EVERYTHING.
Parrents like to know where their children are.
Adults like to make sure you are showing up for the pick up soccer match tonight.
Young adults want to make sure you are going to happy hour for the 4th time ever after turning 21.
Sicko’s want to text pics of porn to their friends.
Johhny wants to tell his friends about getting laid for the first time in no less than 30 texts to each friend.
Cynthia wants to tell her BFF that she just got the best highlights and she’s ready to go clubbing tonight.
Nicky wants to tell her Greek father that she’s not bringing the Baklava to dinner tonight because she had to work.
Mikey wants to email his friend Jeb that there is a stock about to tank so he should sell, sell, sell.
Shall I continue?
Basically the answer to your question is deeply personal and really has no real answer…

I wonder that too, but if I had to guess, I’d guess that the people you’re talking about are extroverts: the type who are bothered by being alone, and for whom not talking requires more effort than talking. With the cell phone constantly on, they don’t ever have to be out of contact, even when they’re physically alone.

Not too long ago there was a thread (in the Pit?) about people who simply cannot STFU, whose interior monologue isn’t interior, who have no filter between their brains and their mouths. Even though I don’t “get” such people, I understand why, given that they are this way, they might very well use an awful lot of phone minutes.

I joke around more with friends on email and text. I text my grandmother I love her and I hope her day goes better than yesterday. I call my boss to see if he wants anything from Dunkin Donuts.

If I didn’t have a cell phone, I wouldn’t be able to. It’s just a nice way to fill the time waiting in line, nice way to send Mammy a “I’m thinking about you” that won’t interfere with her busy day, nice way to keep up with my friends.

I’ll be interested to read the responses to this thread, too, because I don’t spend thirty minutes a month on the phone. I only have a land line, and don’t even know how to operate a cell phone. If I were to have one, I couldn’t possibly use the minimum number of minutes on the cheapest plan they offer. It’d be a giant waste of money.

Also, and I KNOW I’m going to get flamed for this, texting is really, really, really fun and convenient to do in class, particularly if the lecture hall is crowded, and you sit in the back, and hold your phone under the desk.
Yes, yes, yes, if I wanted to text all day I shouldn’t go to class. I know. However

  1. Some classes have an attendance policy, even if attendance isn’t necessarily required to get a good grade in the class

  2. I genuinely do want to hear the lecture, it’s just that I’m ADD.

I guess I can understand that in an intellectual way but what are you SAYING and why do need to say it right then?

An ex-girlfriend of mine used to drive me up a wall with her addiction to communication. She was constantly on the phone with the most inane chatter imaginable. Generally, her end consisted of stuff like:

“Well, what are you doing later?”
“Who else is going?”
“Nothing, we’re just on our way to dinner.”
“I don’t know. We might go to a movie later.”
“Have you seen that?”
“Is that the one with Russell Crowe?”
“I don’t know. Probably the theater at Phipps.”
“Are you still getting your car fixed tomorrow?”
“Where are you going?”
“Is Mom going to give you a ride?”
“What time are you going? Maybe we could get lunch.”
“I don’t know. There’s that new Vietnamese place.”
“I didn’t know you didn’t like Vietnamese! But you like Chinese, right?”

…and on and on and on and on…

And when it wasn’t the phone, she was completely absorbed with her Blackberry.

Gaaah. I’m about to pop an artery just thinking about it.

I don’t call and email a lot. I use email more at work than at home, most of my home emails are various newsletters, contests and the like while talking on the phone I just don’t do much.

I used to text a lot though. So much that I have a text plan of 2500 a month (not that I used that many, ever, but it was cheaper by $15 to pay for that than to pay for the original plan plus what I went over). Mostly I text on the bus so I don’t have others listening to my conversation, or during work hours so if I’m busy I can stop. I text long distance, which is cheaper than calling.

What am I saying? Sometimes I’m excited about something that just happened (getting my learner’s finally) or asking if someone wants to get together for coffee… I have whole random conversations with friends, or plot ideas with people I write with. Or if I’m meeting a friend somewhere and I don’t see them, I’ll text asking where they are (and they usually say something like ‘on the train’ or ‘by the bush’ and I can find them or wait depending.

More convenient for me than the phone.

I’m an introvert. I often go for days (weeks) without texting but have spurts of it. Much easier to ignore, and I’ve finally convinced my friend that if I don’t answer her asap it’s not because I’m mad at her.

Most of the time I’d rather be alone, but it’s nice to know that I can reach out anytime I need to. (It’s annoying when the other person is an extrovert though… see friend who thinks I’m mad if I don’t answer.)

For some people having an unlimited amount of minutes frees them from having to worry about it. I don’t talk on the phone much and have a cell plan with a relatively small number of minutes. It is a small source of stress in my life to have to think about that all the time. For example, if I’m put on hold for a long time I’m thinking about if this will put me over my free minutes and into expensive-land. I can see where one would decide to bump up to the unlimited level just so they can call/text whenever they want without worrying about it.

Most of my text messages are to my husband while we were commuting together - early part of the day at my school, and late part of the day at his. I’d be in class and get let out early, or remember that I have to run an errand and would be late. Knowing he was possibly in the library, a text message would be more unobtrusive than calling - he’s forgetful about turning his cell down and the last thing I want to do is cause him to be “that guy” at the library.

A lot of the time I’d have to clarify where he was - gym, coffee house, library, *which *library, etc. Very handy on a huge campus, especially at finals when our scheduling goes all to hell.

And we text each other stuff when we’re bored, too. Inside jokes, usually.

What are you asking for? Someone’s Modus Operandi for when, what and why they text?

Isn’t it amazing? When I was in ninth grade I had one, maybe two friends, and we went home and sat around the house all evening. Yet we still found a way to talk for an hour every night?!?

I used to think people were silly who called friends every step of their journey
“The plane just landed; I’ll call you from baggage claim” (and you can tell from the rest of the conversation that they aren’t talking to the person who is picking them up) but then my father got a trackphone to use while travelling.

“we’re back at the hotel”
“we’re at the airport, just got through security”
“we just landed and will be getting the limo and getting home at 10 pm”

He loves it!

I guess so. It is really a mystery to me. For instance, let’s say I get called into the big bosses office this afternoon and get a huge raise and a promotion. Plenty of similar things have happened before. I would certainly discuss it with my coworkers as it came up. However, when it comes to personal stuff, I would call my wife and tell her at work. That might take 3 - 5 minutes and I would tell my young daughters when I picked them up this afternoon. I would also mention it to other family as I talked to them over the next month or so. That is for a pretty big life event but it would never occur to me to spend more than 10 minutes total telling everyone that I felt like. There just isn’t that much content.

As you can see, I am truly lost on this stuff and the question is more about interpersonal communication styles rather than some specific technology.

My husband and I are working on a theory that it is a function of the generation you were raised in. We are both Gen X’s (born in 1966 adnd 1969) and while very comfortable with technology, we feel absolutely no need to be constantly plugged-in and connected to everyone we know. I feel the same way you do, Shagnasty - what do these people have to say that requires talking to someone the entire time you’re getting groceries? I’m comfortable with silence or music; I don’t need to be distracted 24/7. If I was raised to be over-stimulated, I might not feel the same way.

Is it just “I’ve had a thought and someone must know or my heart will fail?”

Some of us just aren’t big chatters. If there’s always something to say, what is it? If it’s inane and repetitive, like others have mentioned, how does the other person put up with you?

I wonder the exact same thing as the OP every time I see someone on the phone while driving. I’m sure some of the ones I catch are making a once-in-a-blue-moon call. but I’m sure most of them can be seen with the goddamned cell phone in their ear any time, any place.

I can never deduce what could be so important or engaging. And I’m fairly extraverted…but I can force myself to shut up when I should.

I text a lot because I consider it a non-invasive way to impart some tidbit of information I want to give right then. It doesn’t mean I want to call and have a big conversation about something, it’s usually just an FYI of some sort. Sometimes it’s because I’m bored and want to see if the other person feels like talking/texting. I use texting for things not important enough to call and interrupt the person but that I still want to communicate.

As for calling, I pretty much only call my closest friend in PA on a regular basis. We talk about her pregnancy, her firstborn, her crazy in laws, my recent adventures, her husband, my husband, work, play, old times, current times- whatever comes to mind!