One reason for this is that our voices convey a myriad of emotions, which helps us understand one another better and feel more empathic. In fact, at least one study found that voice-only communications like phone calls may be superior to those that include video because they help people read others’ emotions more accurately.
Although it might seem trivial, the way we choose to communicate matters. We shouldn’t let fears of awkwardness lead to less promising interactions, says Kumar.
“People can sometimes be relatively insensitive to the effect of their communication media on their experience,” says Kumar. “But if their goal is to become closer to someone, they’d be smarter to pay attention to that.”
Texting can be useful if you need to just pass on a quick message or set up a time to talk with someone, he adds. But, he says, if you want stronger social connections—and the happiness and well-being that come with those— phone calls may be the better way to reach out, especially during this time when it’s hard to be close to those we care about.
“We’re living in a time when loneliness is an increasing concern, and people need to know what to do about it,” says Kumar. “When it comes to maintaining and building the social relationships that are so integral to well-being, folks would be wise to connect with others using their voices—by talking rather than typing.”
What would you prefer phone calls or texting?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Written by: Jill Suttie This article originally appeared on Greater Good, the online magazine of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.“ Republished with permission.