Hate talking on the phone? Freeze at the prospect of leaving a voicemail?
Turns out, you’re not alone. Email is more emotionally charged than voicemail, says a study from Indiana University and California State University-Sacramento. Researchers measured the emotional arousal of college-age men and women while they were composing romantic emails and leaving romantic voicemails.
“There were two noticeable differences in physiological response,” says Alan R. Dennis, chair of Internet systems at Indiana University’s business school. “One, people got much more excited or aroused writing romantic emails than leaving voice mails. And two, the words people chose to use in emails were much more arousing and emotionally positive than the words they chose to use in voice mails.”
One reason for this difference? People have the luxury and comfort of being able to edit their message before sending. You’ve got as much time as you need to find just the right words and craft exactly what you want to say. Voicemail, on the other hand, is more of a one-time shot. People engage with email messages longer and more deeply with the task as opposed to just leaving a hasty voicemail.
It looks like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were more ahead of their time than they thought! As you can probably imagine, I’ve always been on Team Email. The phone, in all its immediate glory, sort of terrifies me in that awkward kind of way. There’s just so many opportunities to say the wrong thing or, I don’t know, blurt out your inner most feelings without the chance of editing them out.
Email offers the sort of flowery prose that really allows you to get to know someone. On a much deeper level than the surface-y voicemail. The hopeless romantic in me daydreams about how wonderful it would be to fall in love with someone through email. The beauty of watching that relationship develop in such an organic way is pretty intriguing. Plus, I’ve naturally felt more at ease over email. Case in point: I can’t tell a joke to save my life, but I can really get my humor across on paper, err, the computer screen. It must be the writer in me, I suppose.
Are you more comfortable with email or phone? Has it changed over the years? Are there certain things you’d rather say over phone — or are there some things you’d write in an email that you’d have trouble saying out loud? Do you tend to overanalyze what you write and what you say? xoxo