Calling to communicate

Exploring how the MVHS community stays connected through voice

“It feels more personal.”

English teacher Megan Choate finds calling to be a more connected method of communication because it allows her to hear the responder’s voice. She especially enjoyed this during the pandemic, due to the lack of physical presence, because calling allowed her friends and family to check in and catch up. In addition to that, there are many different reasons for which people call. For sophomore Jeffrey Sheh, what he talks about depends on who he talks to. 

“For school friends, [the calls] mainly pertain to school activities, especially when there’s a test,” Sheh said. “For online friends, I actually knew [a lot of them] before, and they moved away so now I talk with them online because they aren’t specifically in my life anymore.”

When comparing texting to calling, Choate finds some benefits for texting that calling doesn’t necessarily have. 

“I feel like texting is more casual and leisurely, and if someone responds quickly, it can be an efficient way to [communicate],” Choate said. “You can respond at your own pace and keep a dialogue going, so that’s nice.”

Despite these upsides, Sheh says that if he had to choose between calling and texting, calling would be the obvious choice. 

“Texting doesn’t feel as involved, [and] you don’t feel connected with the other person you are talking to,” Sheh said. “Whenever you have time, you’ll send a message, and you can get your point across, but it’s not like calling in which you can express tone [and] emotion.” 

While these benefits make calling more desirable for Sheh, junior Maha Kaushik has found some unavoidable downsides to calling. 

“I have more than a hundred numbers blocked on my phone,” Kaushik said. “I get at least five [spam calls] a day, and sometimes I answer them, and my friends and I prank them, so it’s fun. One of my friends kept getting a spam call, so we answered and talked to them for 90 minutes. It was so funny. That person was a lawyer, and he was asking for our SSN, and then he got mad at us because we were lying about it but he was spam calling.”

Sheh adds that another downside is that calling can’t quite replace talking face-to-face, despite the flow of conversation that it allows. 

“If you want a close relationship with someone, then actually meeting them in real life is a lot better,” Sheh said. “Calling still has its flaws — you can’t see each other, and there are still things that you can’t convey, but especially during the pandemic, in times where you can’t see other people, calling is the best option. You still have that sense of conversation that texting doesn’t really have.”

Yet calling still allows for immediate communication to relay any good or bad news. In Kaushik’s case, it was bad news. This happened when she and her family were on a trip a few years ago. 

“We left our dog at a boarding place because we were traveling for a few days,” Kaushik said. “On the day that we returned, we got a call that he passed away, and that was really upsetting and sad. I was in the backseat, and my mom was in the front. My mom was on the phone and then she started crying, so I knew that something bad had happened, but I didn’t expect that. I was really sad in that moment.”

For those who are separated by distance, calling is convenient and allows for a more intimate connection that other methods of communication don’t have. Choate likes how it has recently allowed her to connect with a friend, which is something that she doesn’t get to do often. 

“I have a friend from college who I hadn’t chatted with in a long time, and we set up a time to talk on Sunday, which was really cute and exciting, so we had the chance to catch up,” Choate said. “It was great to hear her voice and that was important because we’ll text here and there, but having set aside time, especially with someone who doesn’t live in the area, to talk with them and have that conversation and dialogue and flow that we only really get when you are live-talking with someone was important.”

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