The jaunty sound of my iphone ringing fills me instantly with dread. Something’s wrong, I think, why else would anybody be phoning me? If it’s an unknown number it’s probably a hospital, if it’s my mum she’s probably locked out of her house, if it’s a friend they’ve probably split up with their partner, if it’s work well then that’s it, we’ve all been fired.
If this sounds like the dysfunctional thought pattern of someone prone to mild anxiety, you wouldn’t be wrong, but I know I’m not alone in such telephone-phobia.
A quick team ELLE poll proves that the little red missed call dot gives many of us palpitations – and if there’s an actual message to listen to, you can bet our cortisol levels soar as we connect to voice mail.
It’s got to the point that when someone we know and love calls for a friendly chat, we are in such a state by the time we answer the phone that we can’t help but feel angry with them for putting us through such trauma. Why wouldn’t you just send a text!
Anxiety among women aged 18-30 is on the rise, while the number of UK adults using their phone to make voice calls is falling drastically (device owners making one voice call a week has dropped from 96% to 75% over the past three years). I wonder if there’s some kind of correlation here – were we happier when we talked more to friends and family and didn’t just hide our true feelings behind hastily What’s-Apped emojis?
As more than three quarters (76%) of UK adults now own a smartphone, wouldn’t it be great if we used this thing we check an average of 52 times (officially) a day to feel better, and I don’t mean by downloading a new meditation app, I mean by calling someone we care about just to talk.
Adele’s first new single spawned a thousand memes because phoning friends (particularly on a retro flip phone) is now so quaint and unusual it’s actually funny. But as the song’s worldwide success goes to show, there’s a great power in simply calling to say ‘hello’.
So ELLE wants to bring back the spontaneous phone call. Don't plan it, just do it! Scroll through your Instagram feed or Facebook wall and there are all your friends looking fit, cool, happy. But are they really ok? There's one way to really find out…
Over the next month we will be encouraging real meaningful connections with the women in our lives and publishing a collection of exclusively online essays that explore the ever-changing landscape of female friendship today.
Get involved: pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t spoken to for a while, you never know what you might discover, then join the coversation on twitter with the hashtag #PHONEYOURFRIENDS.
Street style: Jason Lloyd Evans
Shoot image: Mehdi Lacoste