Here’s another one from The Oatmeal: 10 Reasons to Avoid Talking on the Phone. Wow! It’s like they were reading my mind. Those are exactly the reasons I hate talking on the phone – especially, 3, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
To be fair, number 10 can be even worse in person if you’re trying to conclude a visit with family. There is a time honored, highly complex ritual that must be followed or else the universe will implode or something like that. First, long before you actually intend to leave, you must offhandedly say, “Well, we should think about hitting the road pretty soon.” At this point in time there should be no interruption in the flow of conversation. All parties should continue as if this remark had never been made. You may repeat this once or twice more but never more often than every half hour.
Finally, at a suitable pause in conversation, say, “Well, this has been fun but I really have to be going,” and stand up. Do not move toward the door. Just stand up and continue the conversation. After 20 to 30 minutes you may either begin inching toward the door or start a round of hugging. If it’s wintertime you may begin gathering coats and putting them on. If this takes less than 15 minutes you’re not trying hard enough.
Once you make it to within 6 feet or so of the door start talking about how great it was to see everyone and how great the food was and and be sure and say “We’ll have to get together more often.” Express sympathy and concern for any illnesses or personal problems that have been talked about.
Getting out the door can be awkward since it means you are committed to leaving. If you have kids they will take care of this problem by dragging you out the door. Once you are outside, do not get in the car yet. You have at least another half hour before you can approach the car. First compare the current weather with the weather earlier in the day and then remember a few more things you meant to mention or didn’t get the chance to ask. At some point, probably at several points, during the ritual your kids will whine, “I thought we were leaving.” You can use this as another excuse to stay a little longer as you discuss how impatient kids are and how different things were when you were a kid.
Finally, you start another round of hugging and get in the car. Roll down the window so you can talk. Now you will talk about the car and cars in general and, if you’re more than an hour away, the details of the upcoming trip and the weather you expect on the way. This final phase shouldn’t take more than 15 or 20 minutes but this varies greatly from family to family and partly depends on the time between visits. If jumper cables are involved it could be another hour before you leave. When you finally pull out of the driveway don’t forget to yell “goodbye” and wave vigorously until you’re well out of sight.
Compared to saying goodbye on the phone… well, to be honest, I’d rather do the long, drawn out, in person goodbye ritual than talk on the phone.