3 Golden Rules For Phone Calls
We get it — if you learned the ins-and-outs of dating decades ago, before you got married, getting back into the swing of modern swiping and digital connections presents a steep learning curve. But if your post-divorce goals include meeting a partner to share your life with — a relationship that goes the distance, investing in the new rules of dating should be your next priority. One key area where most men fail to hit the mark is with the phone. While previous generations might have looked forward to (and, ahem, waited for) a nightly dial to catch up or have meaningful conversations, texting via blue one-liners and many clever emojis is quickly becoming the new normal.
Why Are Phone Calls Becoming Outdated?
Psychotherapist and author of The Relationship Fix, Dr. Jenn Mann says that, just as norms in business shift over the years, so do the aspects of dating. Considering more and more people are becoming more comfortable with emerging technology, good ‘ole fashioned telephones are considered, well, an ancient practice that’s meant for only very specific situations. It all has to do with the message and tone women might perceive a ring radiates into a could-be relationship. “If you meet someone at a party, event or restaurant, most people, in this day and age, text before they call. Calling can sometimes appear aggressive or catch people off guard. Even just a text, asking when might be a good time to call, can make for a gentler introduction on the phone,” she explains.
Relationship expert Elena Burnett also warns that making a phone call too early into the flirting — or courting — period can put you at risk of expressing more vulnerability than your potential mate has earned. That’s why text messages are designed to be more impersonal, she notes, because they give you a sense of control over when and for how long you want to carry a conversation, allowing the relationship to move slower. “To call a woman indicates you are willing to give her your total attention, an act of sacrifice that takes you away from accomplishing other things during that time,” she says.
Rule No. 1: Use It As A Gut-Check Before A First Date
If communicating and taking note of a woman’s laugh, the way her voice rises and falls with conversation, how she hesitates at certain topics or leans into others, is important to you — well, Dr. Mann says that’s a great way to approach a relationship. But the first time you should have that deep discussion is in person, not on the phone. The exception to this rule is when you’ve met someone on one of the many popular dating apps, from Tinder and Bumble to OkCupid, Hinge and beyond. That’s because talking on the phone can serve as a gut-check, giving you a blind glimpse into her personality before wasting your time, money, spirit or heart on a date that is bound to go sour. “If you have met someone on a dating app, the usual protocol is to first text and then talk on the phone before asking someone on a date. It is important to see if there is good talking chemistry before meeting in person. Most women feel safer after talking on the phone first,” she explains.
Rule No. 2: Early in a Relationship, Only Use Phone Calls to Make Plans
After that introductory call and first date, though? Burnett echoes Dr. Mann, adding that calls, FaceTimes or any type of vocal communication over the phone should be reserved for emergencies and for getting down to the business of planning your next meet-up. “Never ask a woman if you can call her, but find out when she has free time. Take the initiative and don’t use the phone call to chit-chat too much. Phones should be thought of as for emergencies only. Call to invite her out and leave the small talk for when you meet up,” she explains.
This lets her know that not only are you serious about seeing her again, but you’re confident in your abilities to pursue her, without dabbling too much in aimless — and ahem, often useless — conversation that won’t connect you together. Because spending time face-to-face is way more impactful, letting her know that you intend to keep seeing her will go much further than long-winded phone calls that exhaust any sort of mystery.
Rule No. 3: Ask Her How She Feels About The Phone
Believe it or not, your best friend from home, the Internet, or even this article doesn’t have the end-all and be-all advice for when and how to use the phone or FaceTime in your budding relationship. But one sure-fire way to understand whether the lady you’ve got eyes for is a phone-talker or a texter is to ask her. Especially after you’ve had a few great dates and can see flirting becoming more intense, sincere and long-lasting, consider discussing how comfortable she feels with phone calls when you are going through a period where seeing one another might not be an option. “Connecting on the phone is a really important part of seeing if you have chemistry together. Phone allows you to connect in a way that is very different than text messaging. It allows for humor, nuance and subtlety. So much can be missed in a text. This is especially true when you don’t know someone very well. You can misinterpret things, miss a joke, or get offended more easily. The phone is a really important tool in getting to know someone,” Dr. Mann says.
Burnett points out that, as a relationship matures, making phone calls, FaceTiming or any other digital way of expressing your voice become less of a delicate topic and more commonplace. After all, if you forgot to pick up some toilet paper at the grocery store and you know your partner won’t check her phone before she commutes home, calling her might be your only option. Or, in better news, when you receive a promotion or get unexpected great news, you probably want to express that right away — and not through text. These moments call for a quick pick-up of your ringer. As Burnett says, phone calls can carry the intention of seeing the other person to tell them about a fun day planned, to let them know how you’re doing, to make them feel special or to share excitement when you simply can’t wait.
The bottom line? Proceed with caution — and wait until you have something before you memorize those digits.