The Transition Network

New York City Chapter

Email, Text or Call? That is the Question!

(Posted July 15, 2019)

By Nancy Gold

Do you text? Do you email? Do you call? What is your preferred way to communicate?
Long ago we only had two forms of communication, a letter or a phone call. Times have changed and now we have even more choices. I know my preference but let's explore what you think.

I went around questioning people. An 80-year-old woman only uses the phone. Her granddaughter, 27-year-old, texts her friends "because emails can get lost" and she likes the "immediacy" of the text. Emails for her are for group situations and for work. When I speak to the women in my tennis group (aged 45 to 83) the ones on the younger half prefer texts. 
What about phone calls? One friend said that she only talks to her long-winded friend by phone when she is driving far because she knows it is going to take some time for her friend to "get it all out and there is no stopping her." Well intended friends of mine sometimes call me "just to catch up." A friend of mine never answers her phone except for her clients for her business. If you need to reach her, email.
There are so many ways to communicate and so many individual preferences. Mine stem from having been in business, sales, where you always answered your phone because your client could be on the other end and you needed to be immediately available. Now that I have retired, my priorities have changed. My personal time is valuable. I want to be "in the moment" that I choose. I like alone time, time just to let my mind wander. Quite frankly phone calls interrupt my thoughts, my tennis game, the lecture I am listening to, the conversation I am having, etc. etc. I know that I will get distracted if I answer the phone. I usually let phone calls go to the voice mail function. I never answer while driving. Many times, it is a robocall or the drug store telling me a prescription is ready to be picked up. It is just easier that way to get the message when you are ready rather than interrupting whatever you are doing, and I always seem to be doing something.
Now let's talk about texts. People seem addicted to them. Texts are short, to the point. Sometimes too short and the point gets missed. I tell people that I prefer emails. Texts for me are for emergencies. For example: I organize a weekly tennis group of around 40 people and each week send out a schedule of games. This is my own volunteer project; please read, no money involved. I do it by email because I need to refer to the email trail to know everyone's availabilities. Some women love to text me. I tell then, stop, you are messing up the system. Some women call me with special requests and these calls usually come at dinner time or late at night. Do I answer their phone calls? I did it once and learned a sorry lesson. You remember that story about never give a mouse a cookie? I learned no cookies. My time after 5 pm is dinner and time with my family.  
How do you like to be contacted? Phone, text or email? Doctors' offices let you choose your preferences; why not tell friends also? Me, I prefer emails. I check my emails, two accounts, about four times a day. Sometimes I want to think about what I am going to say before I respond. Sometimes I need to reread what was written to be sure I get the message correctly. Sometimes I just delete the ads you get. Either way it is my choice and I love that.
Texts are not my favorite as I stated already. I know many women favor them. OK, I will adapt but please make your texts complete and clear. Do not leave details out. Do not make me have to text back because your verbal shorthand was unclear.
Phone calls are what tire me out. I do not like listening and feeling like I must be entertaining. Plus, as I have said before phone calls seem to come at the least convenient time. Often the reception is not super clear. I hear traffic in the background, voices, if you are calling from the pool area.

My preference? Email me. Tell me we need to have coffee/lunch/go for a walk. Keep it simple. Suggest a time and a place and let me get back to you by email. Seeing someone in person, for me anyway, is much more soul satisfying than sitting with a phone pressed up against my ear. That is my opinion. Now let me hear yours!

All opinions welcomed! Just email me at
 I will publish the responses next article and I am sure you have some!
Let's continue the conversation.

Material from, 21:33:01 September 16, 2021.
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