Since most of us communicate with even our closest friends solely via text message these days (or even just by tagging each other in Instagram memes), it’s easy to forget that sometimes you need to pick up the phone and call to connect. For some people, picking up the phone is a source of major anxiety (*raises hand*), but there are times when you should always call instead of texting. It’s not that texting is rude. If anything, texting can be a life saver when you just need to get a simple message across, or tell your BFF a joke you just thought of that no one else would think is funny.
Texting is great, but sometimes a conversation deserves a call.
Don’t go crazy, of course: You don’t have to go all the way and FaceTime every time you’re due for a catch up session. A phone call means enough on its own. It’s sort of like getting a handwritten letter or thank you note from a friend: It shows that you’re actually thinking about the other person and are putting in just a little more effort than you usually would. That means a lot.
Here are a few times when a phone call is better than a text.
1 When you’re canceling on something huge.
We all cancel plans, all the time. When you’re just opting out of happy hour drinks with your friends, it’s one thing. But if you can’t make your friends huge birthday bash, bridal or baby shower, or something that’s a *big deal*, you should pick up the phone. Especially if it’s last minute or you’ve already RSVP’d. It’s just polite.
2 When your friend says they’re not doing so great.
You know your relationships better than we do, but if a member of your squad just texted you that they broke up with someone, lost a job, or is feeling so low they can barely get out of bed for their beloved brunch special, maybe you should call them. This way, they don’t have to put on any eyeliner and go out in public, but you can hash through whatever it is together. It will feel better for everyone.
3When sh*t hits the fan.
Break bad news over the phone. Maybe a family member is sick, there’s been an accident, or you have to tell your sibling that the family dog is being put under. DO NOT TEXT IN THESE CASES. These are obviously phone call situations, since the person on the other end is going to want answers, information, and to be totally looped in. Sending a text means they have to wait for a response and go back and forth. It’s a hassle, to say the least, at a moment when no one needs the extra stress.
4When you want to say you’re sorry.
We all mess up big time sometimes. These are generally tricky situations, but if there’s anything we’ve learned from binge-watching Real Housewives shows, it’s that apologies are better over the phone. Maybe your friend (or whoever) is still steaming and doesn’t pick up. Leave a voicemail. It can be hard to swallow your pride, and to know that your friend doesn’t have to forgive you, but call and say you’re sorry. Whoever you pissed off will probably appreciate the fact that you went the extra mile. (Just don’t blow up their phone if they aren’t ready to talk yet.)
5When you want to keep things private.
Sometimes you need to talk about things you don’t want the whole world to know. If you don’t want to risk a screenshot being taken of your conversation, pick up the phone. Maybe you’re disclosing a health issue or an STI to a partner, or talking about something really sensitive at work with a coworker. Hopefully, everyone involved would respect your privacy anyway, but one never knows. Be savvy so you can avoid an awkward situation later.
6When you want to romance someone.
Phone calls are sacred territory, so use your best judgement on this one. Sometimes when you’re still in the flirty, exciting period of starting to date someone, it can be nice to pick up the phone. Gauge their comfort with the phone, of course, especially if you’re calling when they’re working or doing something they love. Chances are that you’re just sitting in bed going back and forth over text for hours anyway. Interrupt the texting marathon and see if they want to bring the witty banter to the phone. Bonus points if you get some phone sex out of it, too.
7 When it’s just been too long.
It can be so easy to fall into patterns with our very best friends or close family members that involve just sending random GIFs to each other. A lot of times, that’s the beauty of a close friendship — you don’t have to always be in each other’s faces. But relationships take work and when you get to a certain time of life where jobs, new marriages, babies, and all those grown-up things start to get in the way of a friendship: Call! Maybe text first to set up a good time to talk, but make it a priority to hear your loved ones’ voices.