[photo by Shutterstock] I've figured out why my teenage son doesn't like taking phonecalls unless it's an emergency...multi-tasking! I spend more and more of my time multi-tasking these days - cooking a meal while answering email while reading some articles on a subject I'm looking into while texting with friends while monitoring twitter for what people are up to that may be of interest while...well, you get the picture. When the phone rings, I have to completely focus on the person on the other end because, well, my brain isn't built for listening and doing other stuff.

When I'm online 'chatting' with someone and I have to save a pot of water from boiling over or finish folding the laundry, I can take my eyes away, do my task, then come back and focus on the statement/question and reply to it, then go back to what I was doing. With voice, if I miss what someone says, I miss it. I have to get them to repeat it.

I know. It sounds robotic and incredibly crass, but I do take time out to focus on conversations whenever I can. I just can't do it as much anymore. And when I do, I prefer to have these conversations face to face to get the most out of synchronous moments.

The phone just seems like somewhere in between a-synchronous and synchronous. It allows for distractions, but requires full attention. Face to face requires focus and limits distractions. The person is right in front of you. There are expressions and body language to pick up on. And it's incredibly, wonderfully intimate.

So now I get it. And of course, my son and I talk on the phone, but it's usually for less than 1 minute and it's because I haven't replied to a text or I need to find out where he is pronto. Otherwise, we text and then talk in person. I like this arrangement.

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