I’ve never been a fan of talking on the phone. To be blunt I hate it with the fire of thousand suns. There, I said it. Whew.
I can count on three fingers the number of people I will have phone conversations with that are longer than mere minutes. I can handle conversations that get to the point quickly but anything past that and you’ll pretty much lose me.
I think my hate/hate relationship with talking on the phone stems from my uncanny (and unwanted) ability to attract people who prefer to talk for hours. Hours! I guess in a way it’s my own doing. I hate telling people I don’t like talking on the phone thinking they will take it personally and be hurt. Without realizing it I am giving them unspoken permission to decide how long the conversation is going to last.
I also attract people who tend to only talk about themselves. I’m dumbfounded at the sheer number of people who can sit and talk about themselves for the ENTIRE length of a call before finally declaring, “It was great to hear your voice!” and hanging up. Click. Buh bye.
There is the issue of small talk as well. I am not a small talk kind of person. It is awkward for me for reasons I can’t put my finger on. It seems so unnecessary I guess. I do it when the situation calls for it because…well…it’s the polite thing to do. If it’s important to the person doing the talking then who am I to shut them down? If I don’t want to engage in small talk then I simply don’t answer the phone at that time.
I think phone calls give me anxiety in part because I prefer to think things through before I speak. If put on the spot I will verbally stumble around making all kinds of mumbling, guttural sounds before collecting myself. Letting a call go to voicemail allows me the opportunity to find out what the caller wants so I can process the information and think about it for a moment. Introverts need the “pause” that voicemail gives that answering the phone doesn’t.
Cherie Burbach, in her article Why Your Introverted Friend Does Not Answer the Phone explains it so well.
“Phones are just one area where an introvert may pause or think before they speak, choosing instead to find just the right word. If you think it’s because your introverted friend isn’t sure what to say, think again. Introverts simply use their brains differently and retrieve information from their memories in a way that is opposite from extroverts. So while an extrovert can chat away easily, an introvert may reflect on what they say, choose the right words, and finally speak.”
For the record, my dislike of talking on the phone also includes making phone calls. Omg. For me making a call is akin to the sensation of listening to finger nails scrape loudly across a chalkboard while the dog licks his butt and the radio blares head banger tunes.
If you know someone who loves their phone but strongly dislikes talking on it don’t take it personally. It’s just one of those things – a challenge to live with and difficult to explain. Ideally we would like people to accept it without making a big deal about it (or worse, making fun of us.) And for those of us who hate talking on the phone we need to remember that not everyone likes to text so we have to make an effort as well. It’s a two way street.
Lastly, even though texting has taken away a lot of our personal one-on-one interactions, for some of us it’s a way to stay in touch with those we love without the inexplicably awkward, uncomfortable, nerve racking experience of actually, you know, talking on the phone.
Moral of the story? We want to hear from people we care about! We want to stay in touch. But we do not want to do it on the phone most of the time. It’s just not our thing.