Text vs Call: Why you should pick up the phone more often

Texts are convenient. But can you properly connect with loved ones through instant message and emojis? Here’s what the science says about calling vs texting for human connection and relationships.

Text vs Call: Why you should pick up the phone more often
Before technology evolved, we didn't have the choice between calling, texting, or sending voice notes It was a postcard, a landline call, or IRL meet up. But over 75% of millennials and Gen Z (nicknamed “Generation Mute”) would prefer to text than call, for its convenience and limited disruption. But can you really connect with someone over text or direct message?
There’s definitely a place for texting. It’s convenient, it allows us to reply in our own time and makes our conversations more predictable. But science tells us that voice calls will remain supreme when it comes to human connection and empathy.

Call for Connection

For friends, family or new connections - calling reigns supreme. Voice calls will always win when it comes to boosting human connection, in more ways than one.

Voice calls release oxytocin. Texts don’t.

When you call a friend or loved one, hearing their familiar voice can trigger the release of oxytocin in the brain, the “love hormone” known for its role in bonding, trust, and relationship-building. One study found that when you speak to a loved one on the phone, your brain releases oxytocin which makes you feel more relaxed. However, when you text the same loved one, your brain doesn’t release this hormone. This effect is attributed to the intimate and direct nature of voice communication, which fosters a sense of closeness and trust not easily replicated through text.

Voice calls reduce stress and enhance empathy

Phone calls with loved ones significantly reduce stress and enhance emotional well-being compared to text-based communication. The sound of a human voice can soothe anxiety and lower cortisol levels, the body's main stress hormone. This auditory connection can make individuals feel understood and supported, thereby enhancing empathy and emotional resilience. Moreover, voice calls allow for instant feedback and the conveyance of empathy, making complex or emotional conversations more meaningful and effective.

When to call:

  • Catching up with friends and family Opt for a call or FaceTime with your friends and family if you can’t see them IRL. Calls stimulate oxytocin release, fostering trust and empathy - which texts do not.
  • When you’re efeling stressed or need emotional support In times of stress or when needing emotional support, calling a loved one can be more therapeutic than texting. Talking it through aloud, with instant responses, can help alleviate stress, creating a calming and reassuring environment.
  • Discussing sensitive topics If there’s a tricky situation or a sensitive topic, talking it through is better than text. Voice calls help you convey emotion and empathy, whereas tone can be harder to convey through text (and a limited emoji library).

Text for Convenience

While calling shines for connection, texting has its firm place in our routine. It’s the most convenient tool for quick updates, reminders, or large group chats. Whether it's confirming meeting times, sharing links, or addressing simple queries, texts cut through the noise and save time. In 2024, a significant majority of people prefer texting for efficiency. It’s less invasive and time consuming than a phone call. Plus, it doesn’t disrupt your day as it allows allows you to respond at their convenience.

When Texting Wins

  • For efficiency and clarity Ideal for quick updates, scheduling, or sharing links. If you have updates, announcements or questions, texting will always be more efficient.
  • Preference of others Many prefer the non-intrusive nature of texts, valuing their control over when they can reply.

The Best of Both: The Rise of Voice Notes

The middle ground medium could be a voice note. Voice notes combine the personal touch of voice calls with the convenience of texting. They allow senders to express tone, nuance, and emotion without demanding immediate attention from the recipient. This hybrid form of communication is gaining traction for its ability to convey warmth and personality, bridging the gap between the immediacy of a call and the flexibility of a text.

When to pick up the phone

Let's face it, building strong relationships requires connection beyond emojis and quick texts. Calling allows you to express yourself more fully, cultivate empathy, and strengthen bonds through the power of oxytocin. So if you’re craving some human connection, or think your loved ones are too, then picking up the phone will always reign supreme to dropping them a quick text.

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