So Facebook has this new Skype-powered calling feature where you can take chatting to the next level with two-way video and audio. How exciting! How futuristic! How ... do I make sure this option is disabled in my account so no one can ever video chat me EVER?
See, I really dislike video calls. I mean, really. Video calls take every single thing I hate about talking on the phone and make the entire experience even worse.
Oh, but you get to see people's faces, you're saying. It's so wonderful for faraway relatives and traveling spouses and keeping in touch through a more intimate—yeah, yeah, I know. Totally understand. STILL HATE THEM WITH THE BURNING FIRE OF A THOUSAND HATEFUL SUNS.
My husband's parents do video calls with our kids via FaceTime on a fairly regular basis, and as soon as I hear the iPod make that little they're heeeeeeere ringtone, I bolt from the room. My husband thinks I'm deranged and possibly more than a little bit of an asshole for this behavior, but I can't help it.
This may speak more to my social anxiety than anything else, but I hate how video calls—like phone calls—totally catch you off-guard. Not prepared for a lengthy conversation? Too bad, because the phone is ringing right now. Video calls are even more stressful, because now you have to be ready for someone to talk with you AND look at you. Are you wearing a giant unflattering Tweety Bird sweatshirt with your unwashed hair tied back in a scrunchie? TOO BAD, MS. FUGLY, THE VIDEO THING IS MAKING THE SOUND.
I also hate how phone calls screw up your conversational timing, so you're constantly accidentally interrupting the person you're talking with and vice versa. Video calls do the same damn thing, only now you have the extra awkwardness of staring at each other while you're saying, "Oh, sorry! You were—oops, go ahead—I ... uh, what?"
Finally, video chatting is completely weird because you feel like you should be staring directly at the images of the people you're talking to, but if you do that, you're not looking right into the camera so you're not REALLY making eye contact with them. And the lighting is always screwy and the audio inevitably gets all fritzy and sometimes the video does that thing where it goes all pixelated and freezes on an image where your eyes are half-shut and your mouth is gaping open and ARGGGGH.
So! Will I endure video calls on the rare occasions when I'm out of town and I want to see my kids? Absolutely. Will I be firing up Facebook's new chat function so I can enjoy video-enabled conversations on a regular basis? HELL. TO. THE. NO.
Am I alone in my Luddite refusal to embrace video calls? Do you love them, hate them, don't care one way or the other?
Image via Facebook