Phone Calls to Strangers Cause Anxiety for Half of Canadians

Residents of the country remain divided on whether text messages or emails are impersonal as modes of communication. 

Vancouver, BC [August 25, 2023] – Many Canadians are not thrilled at the prospect of having to connect by phone with a stranger, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 53% of Canadians say they feel anxious when they have to make a phone call to a person they do not know, up two points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in April 2022.

“Two thirds of Canadians aged 18-to-34 (66%) dread a telephone conversation with a stranger,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The proportions are lower among their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (55%) and aged 55 and over (40%).”

As was the case last year, Canadians remain split in their assessment of text messages and emails, with 46% believing this form of communication is impersonal and 47% disagreeing with this notion.

Canadians who reside in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (49%), Ontario (48%) and British Columbia (47%) are more likely to consider text messages and emails as impersonal than their counterparts in Quebec (44%), Atlantic Canada (42%) and Alberta (41%).

Just over two-in-five Canadians (43%) say they would have no problem giving a speech in front of other people—a proportion that drops to 39% among women.

Compared to last year, there is some movement in the preferred modes of communications chosen by Canadians for various tasks.

Just over a third of Canadians (35%, +2) would place a phone call if they had to ask a question to their municipality or City Hall, while 31% (-8) would send an e-mail and 22% (+2) would schedule a meeting in person.

Two-in-five Canadians (41%, +4) would place a phone call if they had to ask a question to their bank, while three-in-ten (31%, -1) would have an in person meeting. Significantly fewer Canadians would communicate with their financial institution via email (11%, -4), app (9%, -2) or text message (7%, +2).

More than three-in-four Canadians (77%, -5) think the best way to end a relationship with someone is in person. For 9% (+2), a text message would be a reasonable way to break up—a proportion that rises to 13% among those aged 18-to-34.

Two thirds of Canadians (68%, -5) would prefer to quit a job in person, while 13% (-2) would leave a position after sending an email, including 19% of Canadians aged 35-to-54.

Canadians remain divided on their preferred way to order food delivery to their home, with very similar proportions opting for a phone call (40%,+1) or an app (38%, -1).

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from August 17 to August 19, 2023, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error, which measures sample variability, is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e]