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Communication Today – Are Phone Calls Almost Obsolete?


Has picking up the phone and making an actual call become a lost art? With the proliferation of texting and emailing — have we forgotten how important, courteous and powerful the actual spoken word can be?

Recently I had a class scheduled and one of my students had to cancel out last minute — except she forgot to call and tell me! It was not much before the start of class, and I just happened to take a quick look at my email, discovering a brief, but apologetic, message from her. Normally, I check my email once in the morning the day of a class. If I hadn’t done a quick check again later, I suppose I would have been sitting there with my other students,  just waiting for her…

I strongly believe it is still common courtesy to make that phone call when appropriate. Maybe the younger generation is far more immersed in keyboarding their communication via text messages or emails. But some of the more mature generation has become lax with connecting via the phone too.

I’m not going to deny that texting is a significant convenience. For me personally, it helps keep me in quick touch with my children when we need just a brief communication. When they are going on a long trip and I get their asked-for text “I’m here” just to let me know all is well, that is so reassuring. I understand that many parents of teenagers maintain a close line of communication through texting. Anything that keeps that connection strong during the teenage years is a beautiful thing!

My children are now beyond their teen years, but do we still email? Yes. Do we still text – yes. But we also talk. And I am always joyful to hear their voices. And we talk regularly.

There is something very powerful about speaking on the phone — sharing that close sense of live connection. It is a tangible feeling of real interaction, as opposed to a sentence popping up across a cell phone screen.

When I was a child, there were no computers or cellphones and I was lucky if my parents “allowed” me to use the telephone because they felt it was for adult use only. (I recall times I had to nearly BEG my parents to have the phone for a few minutes.) In my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined a world filled with this moment-to-moment real-time communication via small pocket-sized technological devices. These devices have revolutionized communication but it is still essential to apply some courtesy to modern connectivity.

But the bottom line is — stay in touch in whatever way works for you. Just don’t shy away from making that phone call!

And keeping with that thought — does anyone ever send a letter via the old “snail mail” — and I don’t mean paying bills or sending birthday cards. Think back — when was the last time you wrote and mailed a letter to someone?


  • I enjoy connecting with others regularly — it brings joy into my reality!
  • Communicating clearly with others helps me build healthy relationships.
  • I offer compassion, encouragement and support in my close and genuine communication with others.


  1. Brian says:

    Hi Sheryl, i enjoy reading your weekly affirmations and newsletter very much — they are part of my Monday morning ritual.
    My answer is, i communicate almost exclusively by email and avoid phone calls whenever i can. One is a “must” with my sister once a week.
    I don’t like phone calls and refuse to use a cell phone at all. The day one gives me one i remove the batteries and put the device in a drawer. Until today there are four. There is no need for me to be available and i enjoy this fact as a luxury and part of my personal freedom.
    Moreover, i generally don’t answer the phone if i can’t identify the number of the caller — and/or wish to talk to them as well. That’s what answering machines are made for.
    Writing has many benefits because, if we exclude such superfluous releases people seem to emit all the time like “i am going to eat lunch now… ” — How important! Indispensable to communicate! — people seem to organize their thoughts before they write them down. And finally, if they dare boring me with gossip it’s much easier to skip the written words and delete an email than to stop them from blathering on the phone.

    • Sheryl Schlameuss Berger says:

      Brian – thank you for your kind words about my weekly emails. And also thanks for sharing so candidly about your preferences for email above phone contact.
      I appreciate your discussing your own point of view, but I’m glad to hear you do speak to your sister once a week via the phone. It’s good to stay in touch with immediate family.
      Yes, I do see that emails would be more to the point and if not, we can just skim or even delete them. Though many people take advantage of the convenience of cell phones, not everyone wants to be available all the time or is interested in that kind if connectivity. I do respect your choice. Thank you again for taking the time to comment.

  2. Rachel says:

    That IS(texting) the mod of communication on campus here.The student workers I have working for me need to be taught how to answer the phone and even make phone calls for events! They just don’t know how to do it. A lost art.

    • Sheryl Schlameuss Berger says:

      Rachel – thanks for sharing about your experience at work. I am quite surprised to hear that you have to teach the student workers the fine points of making phone calls for events. I would guess that on a campus, texting WOULD be the most common form of communication.

  3. David says:

    Hello Sheryl,

    I come the age of rotary phones and no computers also. I use text messaging, email, and regular phone these days. There are times however when I am out and about I miss the days of not having the cell phone. It was always an adventure when you went out because in a sense unless we were near a pay phone we weren’t connected. I appreciate talking more though because it can accomplish so much more. Text messaging seems to take forever, well that could be just me since I am in the over 40 crowd. I enjoy your blogs. Thank you.

    • Sheryl Schlameuss Berger says:

      David – I appreciate that you took the time to write a comment here. Obviously, both our backgrounds are rooted in the non-cell phone age. But it’s great that you are keeping up with the current technology and using all forms. These days if I happen to forget my cell phone (and it’s not often) I feel like I’ve almost forgotten my right arm 🙂 But my thought is more to have it not just for connectivity — both business and social — but also for safety. I travel by car, and should there be a problem, I can always make a call. Or if I happen upon an accident or some person in need, I can always call for help.

      Talking via phone today is sometimes just easier, as opposed to trying to text a long or detailed message. And if you don’t have a smartphone, texting can absolutely be more of a challenge.

      Back in our youthful days, I agree with you that life was more of an adventure without any mobile phones, and one’s parents could not keep such close tabs on us! Peace to you too… ~Sheryl

  4. Ginny says:

    Hi Sheryl,
    Thank you for your affirmations and newsletter. I truly enjoy them.
    In response to your question, when I have the time, I talk on the phone, but rely on texting and email at times it might not be convenient to talk on the phone. I truly appreciate the convenience of instant access (most times). I also greatly appreciate caller id. I am more apt to answer a number I don’t recognize on my cell rather than on my home phone. I’ve registered both phones on the NYS Do Not Call Registry. Thanks again for all of the positivity you send out, it makes a difference!

    • Sheryl Schlameuss Berger says:

      Hi Ginny – I’m so glad you enjoy my affirmations and newsletter! Thank you for sharing your preferences for instant access and connectivity. Caller ID is a very helpful technology and we are all so used to it, and rely upon it to make a decision whether or not to answer out phones. Sometimes even if you are on the Do Not Call Registry, solicitation calls can still come through, but hopefully not as many. … And you are welcome for the positivity — it warms my heart to know that it helps make a difference! Warm regards to you… ~Sheryl

  5. Anne says:

    Hi Sheryl,

    I love to communicate with others, and would be lost without my phone time with my friends. That being said, I am guilty of too much multi-tasking. Gone are the days when I sit down and have a phone conversation; I talk while driving to work (yes, with an earpiece!) and home from work; I talk while preparing dinner.

    However, I refuse to talk on my cell phone while in a public place, i.e., restaurant, store, etc. You will not ever hear me say “mocha latte grande please” while on the phone with me.

    My second mode of communication is Facebook. That’s probably a sad commentary, but it’s just so convenient for quick messages and stay-in-touch snippets.

    I love emailing because it allows long, well thought-out messages at a time of my convenience; unfortunately none of my friends are e-mailers, so I rarely use it for personal communication.

    Texting is my least favorite mode of communication, but I did get a phone with a full keyboard to make it an easier task.


    • Sheryl Schlameuss Berger says:

      Anne – many thanks for sharing your communication preferences — and with interesting details! It’s good that you stay in touch with friends through phone calls — because obviously today, many prefer to go the email route. But your friends do not seem to enjoy the email mode!

      I am with you in terms of the multi-tasking challenges — because I’m incredibly guilty of that too. But it’s just the way of life now. Facebook is great tool today too, and if it works well for you — that’s excellent! I use it quite a bit more than I ever thought I would myself.

      So you don’t prefer to text at all, but yet you are prepared (with full keyboard) just in case. At some point, I’m sure you WILL end up using it, even a little 🙂 Again, thanks for taking the time to write here. Namasté… ~Sheryl

  6. Barbara says:

    Hi Sheryl:

    Always a treat to read your newsletters. Thanks for keeping me on your email list!

    Re: communication…First Place: it’s email for me. I’m a night owl and think of my friends usually after the 11:00 news…Unfortunately, I have only few people that I can call at that hour–who appreciate getting a call at that hour!:) I have over 1550 emails right now, having a ton of “buddies” — but the notes I get from friends, I try to answer the day they’re received. Many of these people are out of state – -Georgia, Florida, Texas, California, etc.

    Of course, I make and receive a lot of phone calls too…and it’s special hearing the voice of a loved one. Some days I get so many calls, that I almost want to pull the phone from the wall!!! But i don’t, because it’s nice that so many people are thinking about me!

    I’d never text. Never ever. Even took that feature off my cell phone (that I use mainly to be connected to my 93 year old mother — so she can ALWAYS reach me). I don’t feel that cell phones are safe to use, and only use mine on the speaker mode. Cell phones are good and bad. In an emergency, they’re a Godsend. However, when they ring and you’re driving, or in a public place – they’re a nusense.

    Have a great weekend.


    • Sheryl Schlameuss Berger says:

      Barbara – thanks so much for your comment and sharing your preferences regarding email and phone. Sounds like you spend time with many emails — and quite a few phone calls as well. In that way you obviously stay very connected to both family and friends! I agree that cell phones are not always safe to use (important to use either speaker phone or a good hands-free headset) but ARE a necessity in terms of safety. Have a great weekend yourself… ~Sheryl

  7. Alexandra Converse says:

    What an interesting subject!

    I prefer phone calls, then email. I often make appointments with friends for a phone call.

    You know I don’t text, don’t have a smart phone. I had lunch with a friend who spent most of the time telling me why I should be on Facebook. I’ll get some advice from you on this.

    I was surprised to see that so many of your people don’t want cell phones apart from emergency use. I thought I was a member of a very small group of subversive dinosaurs who don’t admit in public how they feel.

    • Sheryl Schlameuss Berger says:

      Alexandra – thanks for much for sharing your own views on this. This was just an informal survey and interaction on the subject as I was curious as to the opinions and practices of others. Everyone’s preferences are certainly a bit unique. And yes, some people still prefer basic cell phones — or none at all, except maybe for emergency use.
      Facebook is a completely different mode of communication. Personally, I enjoy the interaction, and have friends from all over the country and even the world. It is a fascinating way to socially network and share ideas and views. I will be happy to give you any guidance about Facebook if you are interested…