The Good Life
with a Southern Drawl

6 Ways To Bring Back The Voice

By Amy Bailey — September 03, 2014

My mother raised me not to call boys. This was ingrained in my head since I was a little girl. I also experienced during my dating life and married life, men who not only call but were willing to call several times in order to talk to me. Their confidence trumped any possibility of this seeming annoying. Now we live in an era in which serial texting has replaced the human voice and phone calls seem to be as infrequent as receiving a handwritten note. I frequently hear complaints from both men and women on this topic – “He asks me out over text” or “She won’t pick up the phone, in fact she responds to voicemails with a text?!”

In this present day world in which smartphones have given us certain advantages, we have also become so reliant on these handheld genies that they have in fact dehumanized us from actual human interaction. For example, we’ve all seen couples out to dinner who never make eye contact because they are both furiously browsing their phones. Or we’ve been at parties with friends where everyone plays on their phones instead of talking. We have all been guilty at some point of neglecting the people sitting right next to us so we can check Facebook. We carry on text conversations with people across the country rather than having a real conversation with our family in the same room. In fact, there isn’t a place I can think of, even in traffic, where people are not on their phone. In 2003 when I worked at Us Weekly, I remember almost any pool we would go to almost everyone would be reading Us Weekly. Now nobody is poolside reading Us Weekly, they are all on their phones ignoring the people they are with.

We have become a culture of complex cowardice. Cowardice is defined as is a trait wherein excess self-concern overrides what is socially-deemed as right. It is a perceived failure to demonstrate sufficient mental robustness. Self-concern and lack of confidence lead people to electronically communicate over a screen instead of speaking with their God given voice. Your voice is a powerful tool and guess what the less you use it the less eloquent you will sound. When you are addicted to communicating via a smart phone you will find yourself constantly distracted and enable to flow with conversations in person, instead you start popping in conversations like that kid in class who didn’t do his homework and just got called upon by the teacher, “Ummmm what? Oh yeah, yeah. Ummmm let me think about that.”

So if you are tired of having conversations over the screen of a smartphone, here are 6 ways to put the sound of a voice back in your life:

  • Do Not Respond – If you are woman faced with a man who only asks you out over text, says goodnight over text, or wants to tell you how he feels over texts – just don’t respond. A man should call and if he really likes you, he should call simply to hear your voice.
  • Make and Receive Calls – Pick up the phone and make a call or respond to a text with a call. Take a break from texting, make a 30 day challenge to return texts with a phone call or if you need to get in touch with someone call them don’t opt to text right off the bat.
  • Put Down The Smartphone – Nothing is more annoying than someone attached to their phone, not only is it rude to be attached to your phone in front of other people it is truly robbing you of your time and your life. There is no way a person can be in tune with their surroundings and the conversation happening around them if they are glued to their phone. You will forever live your life disconnected from the world around you. Putting down the phone and leaving it in the car, in your handbag, or in another room ensures you your sanity.
  • Turn Your Phone On Silent – I did this years ago and it changed my life. There was no more ‘ding’ to distract me from what I was trying to focus on. Because inevitably whether I am helping my daughter with her homework or trying to write an article – a loud ‘ding’ would completely distract me from the task at hand. With one ‘ding’ I am no longer in the moment, I am no longer a focused mom helping my child or a writer engulfed in the final paragraph of an article – I have been ousted from being in the moment by the ‘ding’ of a text. Putting your phone on silent controls the distraction of the ‘ding’, but the vibration of a phone call that may be important can still be heard.
  • Don’t Text And Drive – Even with laws against this, people still are texting and driving and the amazing thing is they are not even trying to hide it. Every single day I see multiple people with their phones in front of the steering wheel texting. One day we even saw a man looking at nude pictures while driving – it garnered some laughter but we could not believe this was in plain sight for anyone passing to see. PEOPLE SEE YOU texting while you drive, they also see you swerving in and out of the lane almost hitting other cars. STOP TEXTING AND DRIVING IT IS DANGEROUS AND WILL KILL YOU OR SOMEONE ELSE.
  • Go Old School –  As I looked back recently through a box of letters and cards, I was struck by how many letters my husband, my grandmothers, my friends, and my sister had written me. It was beautiful and moving to sit and read these letters. My heart swelled with love over these hand written memories. What a special thing it would it be to sit down and write someone you love this week, whether it is a spouse, relative, friend or teacher. It wasn’t that long ago that people regularly wrote letters that took a vocabulary to express their thoughts beyond typing up ‘Ur pretty’. They developed not only deep relationships this way but ways of communicating that far surpass today’s ‘Waz up’ or ’C U Soon’ or ‘Love u:)’. (Below is a letter from a husband to a wife.)

My wonderful wife,
Zest for life exudes from you. You want so much out of life, and you don’t hesitate to go get it. A lesser woman would not be able to show the smile that graces your face most every morning. And I must say it’s the most the beautiful smile I have ever seen. Your smile and your gentleness are a wonderful match made in heaven. No wonder I’m so in love with you. You have a zest for life that is contagious, a smile that melts my heart, and a gentleness that warms my soul. I love that about you.  -Your husband

People used to actually have boxes of these they could pass down for their children to read, now I guess we have screenshots of where daddy asked mommy ‘Whatcha doin 2nite?’

So next time you want to start a conversation over text or allow yourself to be in a conversation over text – think about how much more persuasive, strong, and ‘real’ your voice is. Once you’ve reclaimed your voice then you may want to add a written vocabulary back into your life by going Victorian-style and spelling out full words with a pen on paper #putastamponit.

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