Lives are busy, and time is my greatest treasure. A date without having to put on a bra and drive anywhere? Yes, please!

We live in an age when cell phones are used as anything but phones, which is why a call can take you by surprise, to the point of irritation. But maybe it’s time to go retro, and rediscover the joys of the ringtone that heralds a true friendship that can be almost as good as the face-to-face version.

Every time I see a joke about someone horrified that their cell phone has a ringer, I get a little annoyed. As I do when I phone someone and they shout: ‘Gaaaaah! Why have you made me hold my phone to my ear? What is wrong with you?!’

It is very in vogue not to use your cell phone as a, well, phone

Nuts to that. I am here to argue for the good old-fashioned phone call. Because, without phone calls, I don’t think I would have any real friends any more. Between my job and my family, I’m all timed out.

Case in point: the conversation I just had with Sarah, my Editor, who doubles as a friend who is also a parent over 40. I received a WhatsApp from her asking if I had time for a quick call. I replied that I did. She called.

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(With me so far, call haters? See how non threatening it can all be?)

‘Sam, can you write a column for me?’ she said, without bothering with preamble or small talk. ‘I need it kinda quickly. I was thinking about something along the lines of using a phone as a phone.’

‘I love that topic!’ I said happily. ‘I have strong opinions on this!’

‘I know,’ said Sarah the Editor. ‘Hence the commission.’

‘You’re so good at being an Editor,’ I said. ‘You’re smart and kind and beautiful and…’

‘You’re going to put this conversation in the column, aren’t you?’ she replied. ‘To make sure I buy it?’

Sometimes I don’t want to don’t want to hide behind an interface

‘Obvs,’ I said. ‘Now – tell me your best and worst life things at the moment; I have five minutes.’

And in that five minutes, we shared our real, raw highs and lows, gave each other the advice we both needed to hear and reminded ourselves of the magic that is our friendship. Then we pressed our red buttons and carried on with our day, buoyed by the knowledge that despite having absolutely no time to see friends… we still have some good ones out there.

Now, what’s not to love about that? It took no time, it was immensely satisfying and cheaper than a coffee date, let alone a boozy girl’s night. I just don’t get how such an experience could be seen as something scary enough to hyperventilate over.

Let’s consider the alternative: a string of WhatsApps that would have taken hours of back and forths to communicate the kind of things we were sharing, and a number of emoticons and gifs which didn’t quite capture the nuances we could achieve with our voices.

What is a voice note, people, but the chance to talk to someone without them interrupting you at all?

The funniest bit? The way voice notes are now so popular. What is a voice note, people, but the chance to talk to someone without them interrupting you at all? That’s called a monologue, not a conversation. And while the blue ticks don’t lie, the other person can easily just let it play without listening at all. And then supply their own monologue.

How is this an evolved form of communication? Don’t get me wrong, I stare aimlessly at my phone as much as the next person. I have a gif keyboard and an uncannily accurate Bitmoji. In fact, I work in digital media; so it’s not that I am some technophobic Luddite.

There are still times when a phone call, long or short, with or without a coffee or glass of wine, just can’t be beat

But despite all the WhatsApping I do (and it’s a lot!), there are still times when a phone call, long or short, with or without a coffee or glass of wine, just can’t be beat. Because sometimes I don’t want to hide behind an interface. I just want to talk and laugh and commiserate with my friend Sarah who I see maybe twice a year, if that.

Our lives are busy, and time is my greatest treasure. A date without having to put on a bra and drive anywhere? Yes, please!

Article by Sam Wilson-Späth