Category Archives: Psychology

Phone Calls Eavesdrop Irritation Explained


“Hello? … Yeah, it’s me! Hey you know what, I saw her and guess what happened… *laughs so hard* Yes! I know, right? He sure is! … Okay. Yeah … Ah-huh … no … OMG! Really? *laughs so hard and loud again*Okay.  Alright! … Sure! … Okay, bye! *beep*”

And just like that. With just a snap, all eyes on the girl who just had a call. Do you know what they were talking about? Maybe it was her estranged friend? I don’t know, it sounds negative to me. Or, maybe it was his ex boyfriend’s new girl? Probably! Yeah, keep guessing. You will be able to get it right one in a million chances anyway. And then it hits you, why would you even bother to guess what the conversation over the smartphone was about?

On a lighter note, you then realize that you experience that familiar feeling of … frustration! Have you ever felt being annoyed by just listening to a phone conversation? This conversation is somewhat referred to as a “halfalogue” nowadays since, evidently, you only hear a half of it. But the question is: why do we feel irritated when we are just overhearing a “halfalogue” conversation? Why would it bother us when in fact we are not even involved in the discussion? Why do we want to strangle the one talking with the wires of mobile earphones just for him or her to stop talking? Head on; read on! The phone call eavesdrop irritation is about to be explained.

Well, basically, the reason that we get irritated when we overhear a phone conversation is because it disturbs our cognitive functions—leaving you dropping every single thing you are doing just to hear the phone talk whether you like it or not. It is something we just can’t get away from.

An assistant professor of psychology at the University of San Diego, Veronica V. Galván said, “If you only hear one person speaking, you’re constantly trying to place that part of the conversation in context,” and, “that’s naturally going to draw your attention away from whatever else you’re trying to do.” It then basically distracts you from whatever you are doing; kind of gets more annoying if you are in haste or something. Dr. Galván also added, “When people are trapped next to a one-sided conversation – known nowadays as a “halfalogue” – their anger rises in the same way it does in other situations where they are not free to leave, like waiting for a train.” No matter how much you squeeze your hanky out of frustration, you just can’t make the train run faster than it is.

Now, do you see the picture? Well, here comes another reason to now get the picture. We find phone conversation annoying because of the strangeness of one-sided conversation. With that being said, it shows that we are being drawn to the conversation simply because we are trapped in a one-sided discussion—leaving us wanting to figure out what is it all about. Not to mention, their reactions and the words coming out of their mouth are totally surprising. Simply put, our brain is drawn to a conversation because it is something hard or can’t be tuned out.

And because there is no way for us to understand what was being talked about right off the bat, we then believe that the talker is being abnormally loud despite the fact that the talker was just in a normal voice and that it’s definitely, totally, more often times not loud at all.

Said Dr. Emberson, “When you stare at a light, it seems brighter.” And same is true with paying attention to noise.

Being caught in overhearing a phone conversation is something inevitable. It’s either you leave the room when you get a chance, or just get your hopes up that those people will stop having drawn out conversations on the bus.