I have probably been on the phone over the last few weeks more than I have in the previous twelve months. I am still using email, of course, and video calling but the phone is somehow more immediate and leads to better things. The world is remembering what it’s like to have a good chat on the phone and rather enjoying it.
The other day, trying to get hold of an old contact, I remembered that I knew a relative of theirs. It was a good chance to catch up with someone I hadn’t talked to for ages and get the contact details I needed in one go. There are plenty of other people I have called because I realise that I miss them, that quick messages aren’t the same thing and looking at their feed on social media is nothing compared with a to-and-fro conversation.
Some of our colleagues, friends and relatives are feeling anxious or alone. All of us are pretty desperate to talk to people outside our own households. We need a bit of reassurance and connection, we need people to be nice to us and we need to be nice to others. A situation like the one we’re in show us how important society is and how necessary human interaction is. It also shows people what we are made of and they will remember that you thought of them and got in touch long after this is all over.
The free-flowing nature of a general phone chat, with no deadlines or distractions, perhaps sitting in the garden or stirring a pot on the stove, is so very different to the work or duty calls we usually make. Furthermore, catching up with old contacts can lead to all sort of new ideas and collaborations. Perhaps that guy you worked with five years ago is embarking on a project which is perfect for you? Perhaps your cousin is looking for something that you can provide? Maybe a neighbour’s struggles with some issue is the spark that ignites an amazing new business idea? Our imaginations only function in a vacuum to a limited extent; talking things through, listening, even joking around can get the synapses firing and, if nothing else, give us something to think about during lockdown.
If we think clever, act kindly, reach out and take the opportunity to reinforce our networks and maintain our friendships then not only are we helping others, we are helping ourselves.