Why Millennials Have A Fear Of The Phone Call
If you’re a millennial, you have no idea.
While 75% of millennials say they’re avoiding phone calls because they’re too time-consuming, there’s an even bigger reason they don’t like to talk on the phone.
It turns out that, according to BankMyCell, 81% of millennials get apprehension anxiety “before summoning the courage to make a call.”
So whether the calls are coming in or going out, millennials are none too excited about those devices they have with them every waking second of their lives.
(And this is after puberty, that magical time when some of us went from answering the phones and being mistaken for our moms to answering the phones and being mistaken for our dads.)
Speaking on behalf of our generation, those numbers are 100% accurate. But it’s time to put away our Millennial Security Blanket (dear sweet Snuggie) and put on our Adulting Pants.
Let’s figure out just what we find so bothersome about making and taking phone calls.
Why Millennials Don’t Like Making Phone Calls
There are plenty of reasons a normal person might not want to make a phone call. Here are a few that grabbed our attention:
Phone Calls Are Actually… A Little Rude - Before email, phone calls were a handy way to get a hold of people. We’ll give you that. But just like every stand-up comedian in the 90s did a joke about telemarketers calling right at dinner time, there’s a kernel of truth there about the core ways phones work: they interrupt. As University of Auckland sociology associate professor Steve Matthewman says, “they [break] into what you were doing. They demanded attention.”
- I’m Leaving That Conflict Over There - When you open up a conversation, you open up yourself to possibilities. To potential agreements. And, ultimately, to inevitable disagreements. Whether that’s the old-fashion calling-someone-up-for-a-date move or convincing a lead to become a client, a call means conflict. Explains why millennials feel like they’re summoning courage, doesn’t it?
- Equal Parts Fear and Frustration - For all the modern conveniences of apps and online help, it can feel antiquated to have to call a company to get a relatively routine problem resolved. So while conflict avoidance is surely an issue, there’s also a feeling of reluctance that comes with taking on this old system, navigating through number trees, and dealing with long wait times.
But it goes both ways. It’s not just our hesitation to make calls. Getting calls can be equally frustrating.
The Reason Why Millennials Don’t Like Getting Called On The Phone
For a generation that came of age amidst tech bubbles and financial collapses, the phone call is a throwback that we may not necessarily love. Here are a few reasons why:
Always On, But Not Always Accessible - As Brianna Wiest writes, millennials grew up in the digital age. While we may be more connected than ever through social media, the ability to check email constantly, and our handy, portable phones, the majority of that change has given us control over how we respond. An email? We can wait a week. A DM? Well, they may see that we read it, but we don’t have to write back just yet. A phone call? If I answer, that means I’m available to respond… now.
Who Knows How Long A Call Will Last - A text is a text. You read it and it’s done. But a sales call? An informational interview? A long-lost cousin with a million-dollar idea? Those calls might have their time and place, but having them come in randomly throughout the day isn’t ideal for anyone trying to stick to a schedule. For a generation that likes to communicate faster, a phone call is not going to cut it.
- Do You Have A Second? - As goDeskless points out, calling without trying to get in touch first is inconsiderate. How many of us have had to answer a phone call, interrupt what we’re doing, just to say we’re not available? All that could be saved with a quick message about a good time to talk. Peace of mind, clear schedule, and a productive conversation.
It’s true that millennials do get their share of grief. And while we personally believe millennials should be proud of making it to brunch, others think this group deserves an amount of blame (just leave our avocado toast alone, man).
Still, declining phone calls could be up there among our best qualities. What do you think? And when was the last time you picked up the phone on the first ring?