Communications – Part 2: Mobile Phones

Do you remember the movie Phone Booth? In the beginning of the movie Kiefer Sutherland says, “Isn’t it funny? You hear a phone ring and it could be anybody. But, a ringing phone has to be answered doesn’t it?” Do you feel that way? I know I feel the pressure of a ringing phone up and down my spine at times.

I’m sure this is related to my need for instant communication. In fact I project this uneasiness on to others as well. What I mean by that is when I send a txt or leave a message, I expect to get a returned message quickly. If I don’t I can feel the frustration levels rising. Is this an unfair expectation? Of course it is. But I know they have there phone on them at all times so why wouldn’t they answer me immediately?

I assume people think the same was towards me and so I feel great pressure to reply almost instantly. Why am I like this? It’s not because these calls or texts are urgent. It’s simply because I can. I’m available. 15 years ago if you wanted to get in touch with me you would have had to leave a message on my answering machine and wait until I remembered to check it. I think I want that back. At least to some degree.

The first part of my phone boundaries is not making it so much a part of my everyday existence. Here are some things that I’m going to try.

  • Keep my phone on silent unless I’m waiting for a specific call.
  • Allow most calls to go to voice mail.

I know that’s a short list but those two little items are just the foundation. It’s the next few items that will be hard and possibly cause people to think that I’m avoiding them. But here it is, posted publicly, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  • If someone doesn’t leave a message, don’t return their call. This may seem harsh but if they cared enough to call they should leave a message.
  • Unless it’s really is an emergency, return calls when convenient and can fill dead time. The drive home from work is a great time for this.
  • The same is true for text messages.

That’s my plan. Am I missing something? Is it to harsh? What suggestions do you have to avoid mobile phone madness?