Remember when people owned black and white TVs? Bought soda for a nickel? Went for Sunday drives? Who would have thought face-to-face conversations would one day share the label “old school”? Here are 10 reasons you should keep practicing this largely abandoned art.
1. You’ll avoid accidental insults.
It’s hard to communicate clearly in writing. Body language and tone are valuable pieces to the puzzle. Face-to-face conversations make it easier for the listener to tell when you’re being sincere, or sarcastic, or cracking a joke.
2. You’ll feel more validated and understood.
Minimal encouragers are one way listeners can show they’re paying attention. These shorts sounds such as “hmm” and “I see” politely interrupt the person speaking and show we’re listening. That’s basically impossible in a text.
Facial expressions are another way we validate people’s feelings. Some of this can be accomplished with emojis, but what about feelings like sympathy or attraction? The human face can express these better than a tiny cartoon.
3. You’ll connect more deeply by being more focused.
Meaningful conversations take time, thought, and complete sentences – all of which are rarely found in texting. By taking the time to focus on an in-person conversation, you’re giving a relationship the attention it deserves. You’re also more likely to venture into complex subjects you wouldn’t try to cover in a text. These subjects are often the ones where input is valuable, and talking about them builds trust.
4. You’ll get to hear laughter.
Laughter is contagious. And laughter is healthy. A study shows that “humor, with its associated mirthful laughter, can reduce stress and cortisol, a stress hormone.” Replacing a few LOLs with an old-fashioned chuckle is good for your body and your relationships.
5. You’ll get to keep your conversations private.
Some people like to voice harsh opinions via text, but this is a big mistake because it creates a written record of your conversation. That may sound paranoid, but successful people know that putting criticism in writing is a recipe for disaster. Forwards and screenshots snatch your thoughts from their proper context, damaging your reputation and your relationships. Avoid unnecessary drama by talking in-person or at least making a phone call.
6. You’ll engage multiple senses, making conversations more memorable.
Text is visual, but talking is audible. Face-to-face conversations use more of your senses. And a study shows multisensory input “can stimulate and activate multiple sites in the brain, thereby increasing attention, processing, and retention of information.”
7. You’ll avoid getting sucked into the bottomless phone void.
Phones are giant attention traps. Check one text and you’ll soon be checking the rest. Then your emails, your push notifications, Facebook, and Instagram. By the time you’re done, you’ll have more texts to respond to.
A 2014 study at Baylor University found that “women college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cellphones and men college students spend nearly eight…”
8. You’ll experience life more fully.
Texting makes you miss out on two moments – the moment in which you’re physically present and the moment you’re having with the person you’re texting. Give each moment the attention it deserves. When you try to do too much, you miss what’s happening right in front of you.
9. You’ll get immediate responses.
Texts can go unanswered for hours, even days. Face-to-face conversations offer much quicker responses. So when you’re talking about something meaningful, where you need answers, take the time to sit down face-to-face.
10. You’ll be treated more fairly.
We’ve all heard the classic challenge, “Say that to my face.” It’s hard to disrespect someone who’s looking you in the eye. While some people rant and rave in a thoughtless text, they’re more likely to tone it down when talking to you in person, which means you might actually work out the conflict instead of trading verbal blows.
Bonus Reason: You’ll meet new people.
You don’t have to know someone to talk to them. In fact, this article suggests “people are happier after a conversation with a stranger.” Food for thought!
Featured photo credit: Beautiful young hipster woman using smart phone via shutterstock.com