It seems ironic. Millennials are constantly glued to their smartphones, using various apps for communication, gaming, social media, and others. But they tend to avoid phone calls for some reason. They prefer written chats such as texts, WhatsApp, Messenger, etc. rather than calling someone directly.
Some blame millennials themselves while others put the blame on messaging apps for this behavioral trend. Of course, the apps such as Messenger, WhatsApp, and Snapchat gave people a way to talk without having to actually talk. But you can’t blame them, neither can you blame the millennials. It’s just a behavioral trend like many others before it. We should focus on understanding them rather than blaming them.
Why millennials avoid phone calls
Recently, a report from Ofcom showed that phone calls have started declining for the first time ever while mobile data usage has grown considerably. So, folks at BankMyCell started digging into it and found that millennials were reluctant to make phone calls. They surveyed 1,200 millennials (born between 1981-1996) across the United States to find out why the supposed “phone addicts” avoid making phone calls.
The survey didn’t take into account calls from unknown numbers and numbers with no caller ID. People have become accustomed to ignore call bots and telemarketers, so they were excluded as well. The survey revealed that they avoid phone calls for a variety of reasons.
They avoid phone calls primarily because calls could be time-consuming. You don’t know whether it will take one minute or ten minutes. Millennials prefer to communicate faster. They want to get straightforward answers rather than wasting time on weather talk. They believe phone calls are inefficient compared to messaging or emails.
When you are calling someone, you are prioritizing your needs over theirs. You assume that the other party has the time to be interrupted. Millennials don’t like that attitude. You don’t know whether the other person is prepared for the call or whether they are busy with something else. They might not give you full attention at a given time. Yes, phone calls are disruptive. They could derail whatever you are doing if you answer.
Another reason is that phone calls could trigger stress and anxiety. Millennials are often dubbed as the “anxious generation.” They get panic attacks when they see their phones ringing. Millennials don’t call for frivolous chitchats. So, whenever someone tries to reach them on the phone, they assume it’s something urgent, important, serious, or bad.
Millennials also tend to ignore phone calls because they prefer to avoid conflict. When on a call, you get little time to compose or edit your thoughts. It puts you in a vulnerable position as to how you come across. Messaging gives you the time to organize and edit your thoughts. Even if you end up saying something you might regret, you can delete the message in apps like WhatsApp.
Also, calls are not often a private affair. When you are sitting in a group, you can text someone without letting everyone in the group know what you typed. But with phone calls, you have to get up and leave the group if you want to have a private conversation.
It’s nearly impossible to avoid phone calls altogether. So, what kind of people are special enough to warrant an answer? Millennials often ignore calls from their friends and family. But they rarely ignore calls from their partners or bosses. They don’t dare ignoring calls from their bosses or loved ones.
Millennials want to communicate clearly and swiftly rather than indulging into a lengthy discussion. So, if a millennial ignores your phone calls and gives you one of their signature excuses, you shouldn’t think they are rude. They just have another preferred mode for communication.