If it’s worth your while
Say somethin’ good to me, baby
-Mariah Carey (Say Somethin’)

Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone? Your whole life waiting on a ring to prove you’re not alone.
-Pink (Glitter In The Air)

A common one-sided quandary is running through several of my friends’ relationships lately: what’s going on with our phone communication?  Whether it’s a new love or a long-term committed relationship,  it seems like there’s a fine line between being a nag and a caring girlfriend, and even the most confident women can feel unsure or desperate when trying to maneuver around it.  There’s a distinct difference in the needs and wants of girls and guys on each side of the relationship in regards to chatting from a distance. 10 guys and 10 girls in all sorts of different relationships shared their points of view on the subject, and some pretty common patterns underlie their answers.

Wish we could switch up the roles
And I could be that
Tell you I love you
But when you call I never get back
-Ciara (Like A Boy)

Scenario 1: They usually see each other everyday. She’s away for a couple of weeks visiting family and would love his support, but he hardly calls. Scenario 2: They live together. He’s away at work for the weekend and all over social media, but doesn’t answer her calls or texts.  Scenario 3: They’ve been dating for months and usually see each other or talk everyday, but it seems like she’s usually the one doing the calling, or she’s initiating communication.

When a relationship is relatively new, girls look at these situations and think their guy doesn’t care or he may not be as into her as before.  Nobody wants a one-sided relationship, and when the facts seem to point toward a boyfriend’s indifference, girls start to worry. There are books and movies telling us we’re fools to stay with men who don’t overtly show their women how much they care.  Every new relationship is foreign, and when his communication is lacking, girls commonly jump to worst case scenario. “He’s lost interest,” “Whyyyyy doesn’t he love me anymore? He doesn’t want to talk to me!” and “It’s over. Well, it was nice while it lasted…” These are all actual responses to guys not calling which came from some pretty generally level-headed girls.

The uncertainty of knowing if a guy is scared off, annoyed, or over it can take over any confidence a girl has in a new relationship.  “There’s always the general angst when you first start dating that you’re calling too much and that’s why he may not picking up,” one girl said. The dilemma is crystal clear to any warm-blooded woman, but guys are surprisingly unaware of it. Perhaps because girls try so dang hard to play it so dang cool, guys rarely realize the problem exists.

All I wanna know baby what we had was good
How come you don’t call me anymore

-Alicia Keys (How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore)

Most guys in a steady relationship, don’t think of a missed day or two of calls as a horrible thing. “If she doesn’t call, I’ll call her, or catch up with her the day after,” one guy commented. Another said, “If I’m worried or miss her, I’ll call. I won’t take it personally if she doesn’t.” Others had similar responses. Most said they expected her to call if something big was happening or if she was travelling, but other than that, they were pretty easy-going about the calling situation.

One guy said he expected to hear from his girlfriend everyday simply because that’s what always happens. In general, the guys all reported being pretty open to and happy with getting phone calls, as long as the intent is innocent (i.e. not suspicious or controlling) and they aren’t too busy. Another said his new wife calls at about the same time every day, something he’s kind of happy about because “It gives me something to look forward to.” Other reactions to getting calls? Most of them think it’s nice. It makes them feel wanted. One guy described his initial reaction as either “Yay, it’s (my girlfriend)!” or “Yikes, I’m so busy. I hope she won’t be sad when I have to go quickly.”

The latter is the reason most guys give for not calling. They’re in the middle of doing something they can’t get away from or don’t feel like multitasking with a phone or text conversation.

“(Calling) too much is when I’m busy with other things. If I’m not busy, I usually like to talk to her,” one guy said. Everyone listed this as a reason, and most girls agree this is the logical reason for their guys not calling.”

Another explanation for his communication lapse might just be that he wants some time to himself. “Personal space and ‘me-time’ are big for me. So sometimes it’s not personal and I’m not cheating. I just want some alone time. And hopefully she’ll need it also.”

However, girls worry for a reason.  There are circumstances when guys are not into the phone calls, and girls can come off as controlling.  If he feels like her intentions are more like checking up than checking in, or if she’s calling when he’s busy and she’s aware of the fact, he’s likely to recoil.

Here are some of the situations guys gave for not liking the phone calls:

   “1. If I get the impression that a lack of trust spurred the call(ing), then I begin to feel stifled.
2. If I get the impression that she just wants to have an audience, and could have been talking to anyone (rather than                  with me specifically), then I feel stifled.
3. If I feel guilted into the call, I feel stifled.  It often comes up when I have to beg off the call due to work or some other    reason, but she doesn’t want to let me go.”

“It’s all about intentions. If she legitimately just misses me, she can’t possibly call too much. If she is insecure or not trusting me, then he obsessive calls would be annoying.”

“If she know that I am busy, and she calls me like 6x in a day.”

“If she calls too often, yes it will get grating and eventually drive me nuts. The amount is determined by how busy each of us are in our respective lives and particular life circumstances.”

“Too much (calling) is when I’m busy with other things.”

“If she seems insecure. Like you can tell she doesn’t trust me.”

So, as long as girls keep intentions pure, and are careful to keep his needs and life in mind too, they’re probably doing just fine.

Call me (call me) on the line
Call me, call me any, anytime
Call me (call me) my love
You can call me any day or night
Call me

-Blondie (Call Me)

Unfortunately, many times, girls need a little more communication than guys think to give. While sometimes this is looked upon as a weakness, it can be a significant strength. Relationships need all kinds of interaction to thrive, and getting to know each other more is certainly aided by frequent communication.

In all the reports from women, they pretty much love getting calls from the guys they’re involved with and really in to. When talking about how or when their guys call them, they’re voices got higher and each one had an instinctual smile creep on their face. “I’m excited (to get his calls). We talk several times a day. It’s actually kind of silly, but it’s nice,” one explains.

While guys usually say once a day is ideal for talking with his girlfriend, the girls wanted twice or three times.

“If I’m steadily dating someone and he is a part of my life, I’d like to talk to him every day and I’d think that he would WANT to talk to me every day,” one girls said. Another elaborated that she liked it when he called when something random came up and he called to tell her because it meant she was on his mind or he liked hearing her reaction.

Call Me Maybe

-Carly Rae Jepson

So, if a girlfriend wants to hear from her guy more, what options does she have. Those surveyed were torn about this one. Girls said they wouldn’t say anything, or they reluctantly said they might mention that they wanted to hear more from them. Guys however, said a girl wouldn’t come off badly if she said she wanted to hear from him more, that it wasn’t an unreasonable request. One had a thoughtful solution he thought might be more comfortable for both parties involved. “The best approach I’ve seen is being reminded that she really cares for me and enjoys talking with me. Basically emphasizing the positives of talking. Most people are vulnerable to flattery, and when that flattery is true, it’s irresistible.”

Leave a message, and I’ll call you back

-Gwen Stefani (Spiderwebs)

Thankfully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Couples who have been in relationships for long periods of time, seem to be a bit more stable in their communication habits and expectations.

Most expect to be in contact over the phone at least once a day, but those little question marks about what he’s doing or what he’s thinking go away. Phone communication is typical, and if needs aren’t met, it’s an easy fix.