A few weeks ago, I was having the absolute worst day. I sat on my bed in my dorm, feeling incredibly overwhelmed and stressed, when all of a sudden, my phone rang.
I sat up immediately in bed, shifting my position to see who had called. Sure enough, it was my best friend. A smile slowly spread across my face as I picked up the phone: it was if he knew that I needed to talk to him.
I’m the kind of person who needs other people to calm me down. I have always found it incredibly relieving to talk about how I’m feeling with those who I trust; in so many cases, it simply lifts a weight off of my shoulders and centers me. Hearing about how my friends and family are doing also does wonders: it separates me from the situations I’m in and allows me to focus my energy on something else. Despite the distance between myself and those who I’m talking to, hearing their voices always brings immediate comfort.
As the phone rang, I walked outside of my dorm building and settled down on a comfy patch of grass, where I soon spent the next hour talking with one of my favorite people in the world. Sure, I was overwhelmed, and had a billion things to do, but it turns out that spending an hour venting, laughing, and catching up on the phone was exactly what I needed. It wasn’t even 10 minutes into our conversation that I interrupted him, saying, “You have no idea how happy I am to hear your voice.” I found his voice—and, for that matter, so many of my friends’ voices—incredibly soothing. After spending the entire summer working with him and my other friends, his voice brought me back to a place of comfort and ease. In that moment, I believed that everything would be alright: I had friends and family who supported me, loved me, and would always be there for me. That’s never changed, but this phone call really opened my eyes to how often we take talking to those we love for granted.
So many of my best friends are spread out all across the country this year, at different schools. We always joke that collectively, we occupy four different time zones. As a result, any time that we can spend to talk with one another is important. But not only over Snapchat or text, but by calling one another. And you know what? It’s incredibly underrated. I’ve started calling my friends to check in with them on walks to class, or whenever I have a bit of downtime during my day. Even during the most stressful moments, talking with some of my favorite people gives me a warm, bubbly feeling inside; hearing their voices brings me immediate comfort, even if I’m standing in the pouring rain, waiting for class to begin.
Our generation spends so much time on social media today, obsessed with the number of likes they can get on Instagram and how long they can prolong a streak on Snapchat. We tend to shrug off talking on the phone as something that’s arcane: something that you only do with grandparents or your parents every once in a while. I’ve tried to make it a new habit to talk with my friends on the phone whenever I can. And I don’t just mean FaceTime (although that is pretty wonderful!). Whether it’s a five minute conversation or an hour, I try to really open up and talk about how I’m feeling. I also check in with my friends and listen: I love hearing stories about other people’s days and recounting fun memories. I’m definitely the kind of person who can become so soothed by conversations that I fall asleep.
So, call your friends. Tell them you love them. Tell them about your day, and be a listening ear if they need to vent about theirs. You don’t need to plan the conversation: spontaneous phone calls are often the best kind to receive. I know I feel so much better by expanding my network and continuing to stay in touch with those I care about. While it can often feel cumbersome to hop on the phone and chat, I promise it’s something worthwhile.