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Talking on the phone is an activity I have never enjoyed; and I don’t envision that changing at any point in the near future. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert, maybe it’s because I spend most of my time working with animals that rely more on body language than spoken words or maybe it’s just because I don’t like the phone. And I don’t need any other reasoning. And guess how many times telling me the phone isn’t anything to be stressed out about has helped? Zero times. Never. Not helpful. And believe me, my parents tried.
When I say I’m an introvert, most people assume this means I don’t like people. However, the truth is exactly the opposite. I love talking to people; hearing their stories. I just don’t love talking to five people at once and I need time to recover my energy from hearing all the wonderful stories. But they are so worth it. Some of my favorite moments in life are long talks with friends; on the couch, in the car or at coffee shops. Anywhere, really. But connection for me requires sharing a physical space. Or at least seeing the other person when we talk. And always a nap afterwards. However, on the phone I never feel like I’m listening. I’m just taking in information; on the ready. So as not to forget anything and create a reason to call again (surviving one phone interaction per situation is my official limit). Because without being able to see the other person I feel like I’m running in a maze without any knowledge of the next turn. In the dark with blinders on. And I would prefer to think about things before saying them. But on the phone I always feel like I’m running out of time. No time to think; just speak. Before the even more awkward series of “Are you still there?” or “Did you hear me?” statements begin.
There are a select few people I will talk to on the phone. And some of them call every single day. We seem to have found a rhythm; and they know in the moments when all is quiet it just means I’m thinking. So I don’t mind quite as much. But I have been known to simply hang up when I feel lost or overwhelmed. Or if things get too chaotic. That’s another thing I don’t like: confusion. I’m trying to learn to have patience; work through things. It’s still a work in progress.
(It’s easier just to hang up the phone.) Nonetheless, I have been surprised when I realize how much I enjoy some of these phone calls. Without them I wouldn’t have a way to stay in touch with my best friends and life would be rather boring. So I’m trying to improve my phone call game, but there are still many achievements to unlock before I level up.
As we all know, there are still times when there is no way around talking on the phone. #OhTheHorror. As I’ve gotten more practice I don’t mind calling to make an order; those scripts are easy to follow. Everybody knows the routine; almost on auto-pilot. But for any other situation I make lists of what I need to say. Trying to predict any potential responses so that I know what I want to say.
Secretly I’m just hoping nobody answers; then I can leave a simple message that I’ve already planned out. No awkward human interaction required. And before you think about calling me back, always text first.
Over and out,