My sister calls me. Generally leaves a voice mail telling me to call her back, because my cell phone is usually off. Sometimes I will call her back. But typically I get her voicemail, because she spends most of her working/waking hours in a hospital. More often, I will email her. Of course, I frequently don’t know what she wanted in the first place, so I tell her to email me back. To which she has a 50/50 chance of either calling or emailing me back. You get the picture.
I know I’m not a phone person. There are only two people in the world who I can really talk to on the phone without watching my watch … because a) I only talk to them once or twice a year, and b) they are so entertaining that they can gab for hours on end by themselves. For everyone else, no matter how much I love them, I generally close the call as soon as I can, or wait until they surrender to the inevitable and meet me for a face to face discussion.
I prefer talking in person. Actually, my number one preference is to either be occupied doing something else (like walking or crafting, etc) while spilling my guts out, or sitting in semi-darkness. Sometimes it’s hard to get the words out, and these distraction make it easier. There’s just something about being in the physical presence of a person … the facial expressions, the hand motions, the body language … that cements their words in way that I can’t understand over the phone.
And of course, I love letters. Back before my first email account (in college, when long, cross-country phone calls were impossible), I would send long letters to my closest friends. I still have copies of the best ones in a folder in my closet. There was something about peeling the thoughts and feelings from my neurons and committing them to paper that helped to clarify and refine them. And then there was the eager anticipation of waiting for the response. Today, email generally takes the place of handwritten letters. And I enjoy email immensely. My social life would be a shambles without the facility of email to gather a group of friends for dinner, movies, games, or any other type of outing we can think up. But I still count the best letters as the ones that come with a stamp.
So, what about you? How do you like to communicate with those you want to keep in touch with? Do you find that your preferred modes of communication are similar or disparate? How do you reconcile style differences?