Wise Guys: Why Do Men Hate Talking on the Phone?

no_phone_sign_421photo by Mykl_Roventine

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following:  Why do guys seem to hate talking on the phone?

Gay Single Guy (Daniel): My suspicion is that it has to do with how most straight guys talk, or rather, don’t talk. Straight men seem to not indulge in gossip and tangential storytelling when it comes to conversing with others. The phone is much more utilitarian to them. It’s about communicating the necessary information: where to meet, when, where are you parked, what should he buy your parents, etc. For the most part, they aren’t interested in talking about the banalities of daily life on the phone, and certainly not their feelings — not surprising, if you consider how difficult it is for them to talk about them in person. But whatever the reasons, don’t take it personally if he doesn’t like talking on the phone with you. In all likelihood, he is probably the same with his mom. It isn’t necessarily reflective of how he feels about you. And look on the bright(er) side: if he doesn’t like the phone, then the other option is more face time!

Straight Married Guy (Figleaf): I’m not sure men hate talking on the phone.  I practically lived on the phone as a teenager, for instance, talking endlessly with both male and female friends.  And a very informal visual survey I made while thinking about the question turned up equal numbers of men and women passing by with cellphones to their ears.  None of them looked like they were hating it.  I’m going to wing it here, but it’s possible that in a world where men are supposed to make the first calls to ask women out — and might have more associations with being turned down — we might feel more self-conscious about saying “the wrong thing.”  Even when you make it clear you want to hear from us.

Straight Single Guy (Mark): We don’t hate it, per se, but we’re practical.  It’s an on-demand world, and pretty much everyone these days has the other technological conveniences of email and texting at their fingertips.  Functionally, the phone has a strike against it already because it’s not asynchronous (sorry, there’s my inner nerd coming out) — we’re all running around in our busy lives, and you have to coordinate both people at the same time for a phone call (poor us, I know, but still).  With an email or a text, each party can digest and respond at their convenience, not to mention a little pressure-free room to craft things exactly how you want them (and decrease the possibility saying something stupid).  Admittedly, you lose some of the real-time reactions and such of a live conversation, but not much.  I don’t mind the phone, but most of the time I’d just as soon keep it to not much more than making the plan to actually go do something together.

Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Gay Guy is one-time stripper and sex columnist Daniel; our Straight Married Guy is Figleaf, the guy behind RealAdultSex.com; and our Straight Single Guy is Mark Luczak, a tech geek at Carnegie Mellon University. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

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17 Comments on "Wise Guys: Why Do Men Hate Talking on the Phone?"

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Michael Jenkins
3 years 2 months ago

I think it depends on the person. I like talking on the phone to people that actually have SOMETHING to talk about. Not to just spend time boring me.

Michael Harris
3 years 6 months ago

Amanda Marcotte, you’re full of it. Where is the evidence to back up your claim? Men do not gossip more than women. It is also a proven fact that women talk more than men — much more. On average, women say almost three times as many words a day as men.

Anyway, no hard feeling. I just had to say something. =)

Be well.

Madamoiselle L
6 years 10 days ago

Although Daniel is Gay and single, he summed up my married, straight husband to a T.

My Man nearly detests the phone! He has less than 10 people “In” his phone list. (Basically, me, our kids, his mom, my mom, my dad, and one of his buddies (the one who talks a lot.)

He has never used text in his life. Doesn’t know now, doesn’t know how to “receive” them, or read them, can’t use the buttons as letters, between not “getting it” and with his huge sausage fingers hitting the wrong keys, he gave up long ago.

He cannot receive his messages on his phone. Doesn’t remember his password, can’t find the “right” button, hangs up before the voice prompt him…..(“babe, what’s my password?” I have to keep a running tally of HIS and my passwords.) So, as he can’t bring his phone into work with him, he is missed a lot.

“Why does this thing keep beeping like that?” “Um, you have a voice message, sweetheart.” “Oh, crap.” Turns off phone. Problem solved.

Says the phone is for communication, “What time is dinner?” “When will you be there?” “Why aren’t you here yet?” “What time will you be here, already?” “What time are the funeral arrangements?” or “What hospital did you take him to?” “Is there going to be liquor served?” That’s about it.

6 years 2 months ago

Oof, teach me to be away from internet service for three days! Reading the answers, including mine, and the responses in comments, it’s clear I gotta spend more time going with my gut (the premise of the question that all men hate talking on the phone is a false generalization) and less time guessing wildly about what the answer might be anyway. :-)


6 years 2 months ago

Daniel, I do see your point, but even re-reading your response it sounds like you are implying that women just love to sit around gossiping and being impractical all the time. I am sure that is related to my own bias – as I have had this discussion, or ones like it, often with friends of mine. I have male friends who correlate long phone conversations with emotional outpourings and thinking with “feelings”, which they believe is impractical and annoying. And in general, men tend to accuse women of being gossips. I do understand that you may not have intended for your response to come across that way, but, to me anyway, it very much sounded like you implied that.