I WAS HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH SOMEONE CLOSE TO ME RECENTLY. I TOLD THEM I DON’T LIKE RECEIVING PHONE CALLS AND THAT I USUALLY LET THEM RUN TO VOICEMAIL, UNLESS I KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE CALL. THIS ISN’T SOMETHING THAT I’VE WILLINGLY ADMITTED TO IN THE PAST. HALF OF YOU WILL BE THINKING, WELL- WHAT’S THE POINT IN HAVING A PHONE, THE OTHER HALF WILL BE NODDING THEIR HEAD IN AGREEANCE.
I’ve been spending a lot of time recently trying to learn more about myself, to focus on my strengths and recognise my weaknesses. I’m not questioning my sense of identity, that’s pretty rock solid. It’s more about realising that I can do better to communicate with others, regardless of my personality type (which is very much introverted if that wasn’t already obvious).
It’s the method of delivery, not the people, that I dislike. The sound of a phone ringing genuinely stresses me. We have our phones by our side constantly, which means we’re expected to always answer, and it’s rude if we don’t. If you’re reading this and are thinking that I’m just another rude millennial, that’s fine, you’re entitled to your own opinion but I want to share with you my reasons why I find it so difficult to perform such a mundane task. Perhaps you have a friend who doesn’t answer phone calls but messages you within the same minute. People have their own reasons as to why they may not like talking on the phone, here’s mine.
Phone calls are disruptive. Regardless of what I’m doing, I find it very difficult to step out of that, and into a conversation with someone that I can’t see. When you can’t see someone, you can’t anticipate the situation. Cue anxiety.
I will avoid conflict at all costs. Any hint of drama or conflict means sirens sound in my head. How can you avoid conflict in a phone call without hanging up or changing the subject? You can’t. That terrifies me. I’m aware that conflict avoidance is an unhealthy way to deal with problems, and it has 100% heightened my fear. Hey, if I’m going to recognise my weaknesses, why not share them with the rest of the world (I can think of so many reasons why I shouldn’t do this but here we are). Phone calls usually require me to make a decision, or engage in a lengthy conversation- both of which, I find difficult to do over the phone. I like to consider things without the pressure of someone waiting on the line. I enjoy catching up with people, but find it incredibly difficult to focus and connect with someone in a different environment without something else occupying me. This is why I like to pre-arrange phone calls, for a time that’s convenient for both people. I may sound heartless implying that phone calls are boring but I want you to know that I do love catching up with people face to face. You can read their emotions, which helps you to become a better listener. You can see their eyes light up when they’re talking about something that interests them and give them a hug when it’s obvious they need support.
Extroverts and introverts communicate differently. Extroverts need stimulation whereas introverts do whatever they can in their power to reduce stimulation. A lot of the time I like to be alone, to recharge, to prepare for upcoming social events. Flaunting qualities that aren’t my own can be draining, if I borrow extroverted characteristics to get through a social event, I need to make sure I look after myself when I return home, and block out some time to recoup. Of course there are exceptions, I make and answer plenty of phone calls daily at my job, and don’t have any trouble doing so. When I was younger, anytime my family ordered fish and chips from the local takeaway, I was always the one that wanted to call and place the order, although I was prepared with a list for those calls.
The next time you make a call and someone doesn’t answer, leave a voicemail or a message and move on.
If there are any extroverts wanting to share their frustration in people not answering their phones, submissions are always open.
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If this article has been a trigger to you or if you just need some help: Crisis support services can be reached 24 hours a day: Lifeline 13 11 14; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800; MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78