General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Who are you talking to on the cell phone?

Asked by wundayatta (58604points) May 11th, 2009

I see all these student on campus, and if they are walking alone, I’d say half of them have a cell phone to their ear. I wonder who they can be talking to. Do they have all kinds of friends they need to talk to? Or must they call family members all the time? Is it work related?

And it’s not just talking, but texting. This girl walked past me at lunch laughing and texting. And we’ve all see people talking to the air, which is no longer a sign of craziness.

But students, business people, sports fans, etc, etc, it seems like people constantly have phones pressed to their ears. Boy, I use my phone less that 60 minutes a month. I don’t text. What am I missing, here? How do people talk so much?

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37 Answers

Jude's avatar

Colleagues, friends, family or my girlfriend.

Got rid of my landline as it was too expensive to have both a cell and home phone, and because Bell Canada was a pain in the ass to deal with.

eponymoushipster's avatar


i only have a cellphone.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Welcome to the age of social networking.
It’s no different than facebook, myspace, or even fluther.
A lot of people feel the need to be constantly sharing information and experiences with people close to them.
Im not a big phone talker. I’ll text to get a point across or have a quick chat, but cant stand having full blown conversations via text. Just call me and let’s get it over with. My problem is, I have a Blackberry and am constantly using the internet with my phone.

asmonet's avatar

We no longer have a house phone, everything from insurance, work, friends family, school, anything is probably happening if my phone is to my ear.

That being said, I hate the phone. I would rather text and only speak briefly to solidify or clarify plans or information.

janbb's avatar

I’m with you, daloon. I don’t have a clue why people need to talk so much, so constantly, to other people. I have a cellphone which is either off or left home most of the time. I do talk to people on my landline but not all the time. Both of my sons only have cellphones and thus have them with them at all times, but even they are not constantly on them.

Just call me curmudgeon! :-)

J0E's avatar

I think people just want to look busy and important, it bugs the hell out of me too.

Jude's avatar


DrasticDreamer's avatar

I think in a lot of aspects, it serves as a comfort mechanism for people when they’re alone or in new or uncomfortable/unfamiliar environment.

DarkScribe's avatar

In the early days when rates were high and uncapped, people were a little more circumspect with their usage. Nowadays with unlimited or capped accounts, people just chat whenever they feel like it. Often they are on conference calls, conversations with a half dozen or more participants. I just checked my phone’s log and I have used forty-eight hours this month – my wife and daughters would at least treble that usage.

Also a lot of them, students in particular, would be checking their voicemail etc., after coming out of class. I use my phone (BlackBerry) more for email than conversation, I tend to get around 160 emails a day mostly to do with work related issues.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Like others, I don’t keep a landline any longer and haven’t missed anything. My celly is mostly for texting which at first I was loathe to try out but then realized it is perfect for exchanging briefs without being interrupted by ringing or vibrating. Text I can respond to when my timing is good. Actual time phone calls are maybe a few times a week family or job related calls.

Supacase's avatar

Usually my mom, my husband or a couple of friends. I have to catch my mom whenever I can since she ditched her landline and tends to lose her cell phone. My husband calls me back on his time while at work and, if I want to talk to him, where I happen to be is irrelevant. It’s just an alternative way to reach me for some friends. I really don’t use it that much and could easily reduce my plan

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@J0E that’s an interesting comment. Several months ago they had a story on TV that a lot of people are PRETENDING to be talking on the phone so they look important. They admitted it! If there’s a lot of people around who are on their phones, they’ll just open it up & laugh & talk to the air. Pitiful!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

My partner, my mom, some friends. Usually, I’m texting though

kenmc's avatar

People with boobs.

arturodiaz's avatar

To my girlfriend… a lot, not in public places though. But I feel that there is also a sense of coolness when your talking through your cell phone. People look at you and ask themselves, who is that girl talking to? You feel good, dont know why. You just look interesting I guess.

YARNLADY's avatar

I only talk on the cell phone for emergencies, because I can barely hear people on it. If I get lost in a store, I call Hubby, who is on the other side of the store, and if I get lost in the car, I pull over to the side and call him to find out where I am.

I use it to call when traffic on the freeway is stopped and I want to know if there is an accident, and to report accidents I see.

rooeytoo's avatar

What intrigues me is that even when they are not talking or texting, they are fiddling with it for some reason or another.

I often think to myself that people no longer seem to be able to have quiet time or be alone with themselves or just think about stuff. It seems as if the brain must be engaged with something at all times.

I rarely fiddle with my phone, it is usually in my pocket. But here is my confession, when I am in a toilet with no reading material available, it does come in handy, especially when you can access news or scores.

tinyfaery's avatar

I only have a cell phone so I use it for everything.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

If our internet wasn’t provided by our phone company, this land line would be gone. We cut the long distance off of it & just use it for local calls.

Jeruba's avatar

It’s the Borg.

Allie's avatar

I call my mom to see if she needs me to do anything on the way home. I do the same for my grandmother.
Today I was texting a girl in my class about exchanging our term papers for editing.
Sometimes if I’m bored before class I’ll call a fellow jelly and talk to them for a bit. (Hello there PnL/omfgTALIjustIMDu/Buster!)
Sometimes it may look like I’m texting, but I’m really on Facebook or Fluther.
Other times I just walk.

casheroo's avatar

I only have a cell phone, so I call whoever I need to on it.
Today I talked to my spouse, texted a friend, call an office, texted a coworker…it varies every day.

ccbatx's avatar

Family: “Hey mom, can you pick me up? Yes I talked to my teacher about grades…” Friends: “Hey, so are we going to the movies afterschool or what?”

wundayatta's avatar

I think that @Allie, and @ccbatx are talking about what I think is going on. I think there are all these casual calls made to friends for no purpose whatsoever.

When I want to just talk to a friend, I’ll do it in the evening when I can have an hour or so to talk to them. I can’t do these one minute or ten minute “what’s up” calls. There are two reasons for this, and I’m interested in understanding more about how other people have managed to avoid the issue I have.

First, I don’t have a lot of friends. But even those I do have, it would never occur to me to call them just to see what’s happening. I wonder if this is an age thing. High school and college kids aren’t doing much and are always looking for entertainment, whereas older folks are at work, or taking care of the kids or something, so they can’t just talk. They can message, of course, but messaging is not what I’m asking about. I want to know what the talking is about.

And this gets to the second reason why I can’t understand what’s going on. I can’t imagine having these short, for no reason in particular, conversations. I mean, what do you talk about? On my campus, when I overhear the conversations in the outdoor area where the food vendors and tables are, they are often talking about where they are, and which end of the area they are in; clearly to meet someone.

But others aren’t talking about these things. I don’t know if I’ve listened very long to these conversations, since people tend to be walking past, but sometimes in the elevator they just keep on talking, with five other people listening in. I find this weird, but that’s off topic. Are they just taking a minute for personal business on the way between classes? Or are they saying “hey?”

I used to be able to say that I can’t go no landline, because I didn’t have any signal at home, but that’s been fixed. I do have this triple play thingy, so landline calls are free, whereas cell calls are very expensive. Still, to get everyone unlimited calling in the family would probably be a lot more expensive than the thirty bucks a month I pay now for a landline. My wife and daughter are on pay as you go plans for cell, and I’m on a twenty bucks a month emergency plan. If we went cellular, then I’d want a data service, and now it seems like big bucks to me. But other people must think $70 or #100 per month is nothing to have your complete information plan on the cell phone.

SuperMouse's avatar

Count me among those without a land line. That means I do all of my business on my cell phone. Mostly though I am either talking to my sister or my man.

janbb's avatar

I work on a college campus too, and a lot of what I overhear seems to be people just saying “hey.”

Allie's avatar

@daloon Sometimes I call people when I need to know something or to set up meetings. Other times it’s just to talk because I feel like it. Just a way to keep in touch. On the “just saying hey” calls we talk about pretty much anything. What we want to do this weekend, plans for the day, the last party we went to, good movies coming out, friends we haven’t seen in a while. Anything goes.

SeventhSense's avatar

Forty-eight hours?!!

I use them for business, just socializing and talking to family. I have three phones and am going to lose one soon when the contract expires. As to talking to no one- well that’s just sophmoric.

People seem like they have this constant need to be preoccupied or they fear they won’t exist or something. No wonder people need more and more medication. Some people are afraid to even be with their own thoughts and insecurities and so exacerbate them by trying to keep busy.
I say work hard, play hard and when not chill.

cak's avatar

I can’t stand my cell phone. I try to lose it, but it finds me…by way of my husband. It rings, a lot. Kids, husband, work…rinse and repeat. A true friend knows to send smoke signals, before calling. Warn me.

My phone will ring more than I answer it, I just get so tired of being on the phone. Oh…and don’t get me started about the ugly blue tooth thingy. I find a lot of those users incredibly rude. I just don’t want to hear the conversation. It’s not that interesting.

punkrockworld's avatar

I’ll tell u a little secret: a lot of people will ‘fake’ to be on the phone when they are alone..
it’s sad but oh so true!
It’s kind of an explanation as to why you are walking by yourself and also to blend in. It’s very interesting. It’s also to keep people from starting to talk to you as they sometimes do on college campuses etc..

Darwin's avatar

I generally talk to my daughter (Where are you? You forgot to call me again.), the coaches of various sports teams letting me know when and where practice will be, or to any one of a large number of doctor’s receptionists reminding me of appointments for my husband and son. I also talk to my son who calls me to whine. Otherwise my phone serves largely as an appointment book, wristwatch and alarm clock.

My daughter has a very active and vocal social group since she is a jock and a popular girl and a nerd all at the same time. She is usually texting or being texted by girl friends, friends that are boys, coaches, members of various study groups, and various boys that would like to be more than just friends (these are the guys who also write I <3 U all over her car windows).

When my son had a phone he generally talked to girls, hoping he could be more than just a friend. However, he tends to throw phones when pissed off, so now he doesn’t have one.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Darwin “friends that are boys” = boyfriends. sorry. ;)

Allie's avatar

No no, Buck. Boyfriends ≠ boy friends. Note the space.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Allie uhm, boys are rarely just friends, at least in their own minds, with girls. especially teenage boys. unless she’s into theater…

Darwin's avatar

She is into sports, theater, church, and pre-med. Some of the boys have known her since she was a baby, some are definitely not interested in girls, some already have girlfriends, and some know that if they tried anything she would punch their lights out (or one of her coaches would make them run laps until they puke).

A few guys see her as romantic material, but she says there are no boys at her school who are both smart enough and athletic enough to catch her. She is also taller than most of the boys at school, except most of the basketball team.

She does indeed have friends who happen to be male. If they have fantasies they haven’t shared them or she has convinced them not to.

Knotmyday's avatar

My SO. She’s giving me a shopping list.

sakura's avatar

Don’t use mine that often. Nut when I do its usually my sister/parents arranging babystting duties or hubby trying to brighten up my dull day :)

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