How to Use Phones (For Teens)

PhonesfunnyIt’s obvious that nobody uses phones anymore, aside from salesmen, pollsters, and caring robots that go out of their way to let you know that your prescription is ready to be picked up. Even your grandmother uses Skype (which means, at best, Skype has another two years before it becomes outdated).

Why do we even still have phones? Well, mostly because adults, somehow, still find a use for them. This is reason number 45 why adults are uncool.

But for teens, a phone is more like a desk sculpture. It looks like it belongs on your desk, and watching the blinking lights is way more fun than doing your homework, but you’ve never really used it. Or touched it. Or even realized that if you wanted to, you could call someone, right now, and actually hear their voice. Scary.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to come off as better than you just because I did call someone over the phone last month, for about two minutes.* I see no reason why you should spend much time on learning to use a phone; it’d probably be about as useful learning cursive. But in case you wanted to, needed to, or tried to use a phone, you should know how.

*The conversation went mostly like this:

Me: Hello?
Friend: Hey man whassup?
Me: ’s Phil.
Friend: Yo Phil why you calling me, bro? Somebody die? Multiple people die? Oh man, don’t tell me that the Taylor Swift concert already sold out.
Me: What? You like Taylor Swift?
Friend: Uh, I never said anything about her. Must be a faulty connection or something.
Me: Oh. Well, I wanted to ask about the English group project.
Friend: Why didn’t you text me?
Me: I had a lot to say.
Friend: It’s called e-mail, dude.
Me: I wanted to make sure you got it.
Friend: Man, you could’ve just used registered FedEx and I would’ve hadda sign for it.
Me: Good point. I’ll text you the basic details and send you an email with more info. And you’re still P.O. Box 3268, right?
Friend: Yeah whatever man. I gotta get off the phone now; it’s giving me a headache.
Me: How do I hang up?
Friend: Just hit the button.
Me: Okay.
Friend: HELLO? DID IT WORK?
Me: No that just put you on the speakers. I’ll go ask my parents how to hang up a phone.
Friend: Ok. See ya.

When To Call

As you can see, there is little reason to use phones to actually call people. This means that you should use a phone call in a very limited number of situations.

The first is obviously when a reply is urgent. This includes things such as when you’re injured, when you’re getting married, or when you can’t find the peanut butter and you’re home alone.

The second is if sound is an important aspect of communication, and you’re not able to skype/facetime because there’s no wifi (so, in someplace like North Dakota). If you really need urgent feedback on your interpretation of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” then by all means, call your friends. You might even consider making it a conference call.

How to Call

Really, how hard can it be? You just have to dial some numbers. Right?

Wrong. First of all, if you’re calling someone long distance, you have to dial 1 or 9. You also have to locate the phone app on your smartphone, which is less used than Apple Maps.

Secondly, after you’ve dialed, you have to understand the sounds you hear. If you get “Bum-Dee-BEEP: I’m sorry, but this number is no longer active,” or some other error message, you have the wrong number (this may seem intuitive, but if you think about it, calling back in an hour and hoping the number is re-active, or more active, or awake, or something—I really have no idea what that message means—would also make sense).

If you hear: “Bzzeep-Bzzeep-Bzzeep-Bzzeep,” that’s a busy dial tone, and you should call back when the person gets off of the phone. I promise you that if you are calling a friend, you will never hear a busy tone, because if this is a person who used their phone regularly, you wouldn’t even have considered being their friend in the first place.

How to Start Your Call

If you’re calling an adult, they are way more familiar with phones than you are, so you don’t need to say much more than your name. If you’re calling a friend, however, you need to make it clear why you called rather than texted/Facebook-messaged/emailed/snail-mailed/telegrammed them.

While your reason might sound fine to you, I guarantee teens hate being called. It means we have to drop whatever we’re doing, or balance a phone on our shoulder. Plus, we can’t take our time in replying like we can with a text or email, so it’s incredibly mentally strenuous. There’s a reason that we text in incomplete sentences; it’s the best our brain can do without spending a half hour on each text.

So, you need to add to drama to the situation.

Let’s say you’re calling because your history group project is due tomorrow, and you need to let your friend know what they are supposed to do. In that case, your initial intro would sound something like this:

“Hey, it’s Phil. Sorry to call, but our history project is due in like 6000 seconds, and I need to tell you what part you’re doing or else we’ll get a D- and my parents will revoke my driving, internet, eating, bathroom, and sleeping privileges. And also the other group members are holding me at scissor-point and forcing me to call you.”

In conclusion, I’d like to remind you that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Sure, you now know how to call someone, but that certainly doesn’t mean you should. And if you do need to call someone, just play it safe: only call teens who you wouldn’t mind accidentally putting on speaker in front of your parents, and teens who are generally nonviolent, if they choose to retaliate.

As finals conclude and the second semester gets underway, you may be starting some new classes. In that case, you’re probably in need of “The Only Guide to Class Syllabi that You’ll Ever Need.

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  1. Stunning read.

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    How to Use Phones (For Teens)

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