Does a ringing phone make you feel anxious? It might be because you’re an introvert. We introverts hate phone calls — both making them and receiving them.
Just the thought of having to make a phone call can create a pit in our stomach for hours. Can you blame us?
Introverts love to focus intensely on whatever we’re doing. We get completely absorbed in the task at hand. We hate phone calls because they abruptly yank us away from our thoughts. A ringing phone demands our attention NOW!
Too many unknowns
There are also just too many unknowns when it comes to the phone. Caller ID helps, but that doesn’t change the terror of that first ring when we have no idea who is on the other end of the line.
We also don’t know how long the conversation will last. We hope it will be as short as possible, but at the same time, we know we are clueless about how to smoothly end the call.
We dread the inevitable awkward pauses, and those weird moments when you both try to speak at the same time, and then go silent. It’s like we can never get the rhythm right when it comes to talking on the phone.
For introverts, making a phone call requires mental preparation. It isn’t just a spontaneous thing that we do for fun. We put it in our calendar and then procrastinate it for as long as possible.
We hate small talk
We especially hate phone calls that we know will involve a lot of small talk. If we absolutely must make a call, we just want to get straight to the point. If we could, we wouldn’t even say hello, we would just blurt out the plans and hang up.
Nowadays, our relationship with the phone has become even more complicated thanks to the advent of smart phones. We don’t know whether to love our phone and all the magical internet treasures it provides, or hate it for the occasional times when it actually rings.
Too many notifications
We don’t hate texting as much as we hate phone calls. But I don’t think all introverts love instant messaging as much as people think.
I personally feel overwhelmed by all the different ways that people can reach us nowadays. It’s not just the ringing phone that we have to deal with.
There are emails, Facebook messages, Tweets, WhatsApp messages, and endless notifications from the many Apps we hold dear. They all compete for our attention the moment we pick up our phone.
As overwhelming as all the texts and emails can be, we’re addicted to the instant gratification we get from seeing them flash across our phone screen.
A few exceptions
Of course, there are exceptions to our hatred of phone calls. Sometimes, it’s lovely to hear from a dear friend or family member. We might also appreciate the practicality of a quick phone call to tighten up plans, instead of sending twenty text messages.
Yes, we need our phone, but we reserve the right to hide from it whenever it rings. If anyone asks why you didn’t return their call, just tell them it’s an introvert thing.
Do you hate phone calls, too?
Let me know how you feel about making phone calls, and about your phone in general, in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
Today’s cartoon was done by my nephew, Brandon Chung. If you like it, let us know, and please share it on social media. 🙂
P.S. This is day three of Blogmas. I’ll be posting on the blog everyday until December 25th, and also putting my best introvert courses on special. Right now you can get my Small Talk Quickies Masterclass for less and get tools to turn small talk into interesting conversation over the holidays.
I love this post Michaela. It sums up so exactly how I feel. Trouble is that I’ve got a lot worse as i’ve got older. And now it’s almost a phobia. I can’t stand it when people ramble on and on about nothing in particular. I would far rather send an email. In fact I often follow up a phone call with an email with all the things i’ve forgotten to say on the phone.
Thanks for your coverage of all things ‘innie’ – lovely to know it’s not just me!
Ditto! I feel the same way, in that it seems it’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. It is so validating to know there are others like me. ?
I can second that
Me too.. For me as a child I hated the phone, if I was always handed to me at the end of the queue of siblings who got to “have a chat” with relations that were ringing to say hello! from far flung countries or places. My instant reaction was to answer all the questions as monosyllabically as possible, then hang up even if the person hadn’t finished talking to me. I have always found especially those type of phone calls where you have to try & have really interesting conversations with that guy you like, or have a massive crush on (and secretly want to go out with) almost excruciating, with often query’s”around your so easy to talk to, then I rang you & you sounded like you would rather be elsewhere”. So that’s what that was…… Thanks Michaela my biggest bugbear are the notifications, they do my head in. I’ve found an app to fix this, which has been great, after the inevitable hunt through settings on my mobile. I ensure that I have a phone free day once a week, or even 2 days free, Saturday & or Sunday as most of my friends know that I am notorious for either misplacing my mobile, or forgetting where I’ve put it. That’s excuse & I’m sticking to it.
Agreed 100%. And being in the sales industry, on the road all day, its particularly inconvenient to take a call because it’s usually a query or an order. PUT IT IN WRITING ppl.
Ok thank you, I seriously thought this was s “ME PROBLEM” but obviously I’m not alone. People look at me like I’m absolutely stupid & weird.
I saw this post in my mail box, glanced and did a double take. I can relate to every word and it was absolutely hilarious reading this. I noticed I can become fairly annoyed when I on the other hand call someone and they don’t answer. I suppose that’s just rooted in the fact that I have to call again at a later stage or that they’ll call back at a time when I may not want to answer and my “answering and making calls period” has passed. I now have widgets on my home screen that allow me quick views so I can see messages or continue to use my phone without answering a call or opening WhatsApp or apps where my presence or read status of messages will be visible. Love the cartoon as well.
Great blog…..there is hardly anything worse than the first ring of a phone, even if it is someone else’s phone. BTW I loved the cartoon.
I can relate to everything you said. I get anxious whenever I receive phone calls or someone tells me can i call you? At first I didn’t know how to say no without offending them but then I just started saying it’s because I’m an introvert and we have a phone calls phobia, just google it man LOL. The downside of this is they still try to convince me that it’s okay to refuse answering numbers you don’t know but we’re friends. Then they start psychoanalysing me. Yay. Sometimes I get fed up with all of this communication and just leave all my social media for months. One time i spent almost 8 months away from it all. But we can’t stay away forever. We can’t deny the important of human contact.
Love the cartoon, congrats to your talented nephew!
I hate making phone calls and getting the feeling that I am bothering someone. And most of the times the demands of an unexpected phone call or text message are too much to handle too.
I have actually gotten in trouble at my job because I get so tense answering the phone. What if they ask something I don’t know or can’t answer satisfactorily? And of course it comes across to the caller! This dread is real and I had a very hard time dealing with it. Glad I’m not alone.
Love the cartoon!! And love the cell phone for everything BUT phone calls 😉
I so agree to each and every point you made. Most of the times, I wonder it’d have been better if I didn’t have a phone. Also, sometimes I don’t even like whatsapp texts, that’s why I see the texts and mark them as unread so that I don’t have to reply.
Wow!! Brandon is one talented guy, love his art work!!
I don’t per se hate the phone or have a love hate relationship with it. My thing I guess goes along with my personality. Unnecessary interruptions, people calling to sell me something, people telling me I spoke to them before and promised I’d donate money. The fake I.R.S. guy with the ticker tape machine in the back ground telling me I owe $8000 in back taxes, and If I don’t pay now it will be $40,000. I guess he doesn’t know I’ve spoken to them before and their office is quiet. Anyway I told him to charge me, take me to jail, stickin’ it to the man! Anyway if there is no real purpose to talk on the phone, I’d prefer text messages or email.
Great post Michaela, and your nephew is indeed a very talented artist!
I especially try to avoid unplanned/impromptu business phone calls for a lot of the same reasons you wrote about. Sometimes it feels like extroverts use the “sudden super important business call” as a way to gain consensus quickly by getting their “callees” shell shocked and forcing them into a quick decision, which is eventually reversed anyways when people come to their senses!
Totally true! I HATE talking on the phone, even for a few seconds and most the time I’m zoning out anyway. Great read.
This made me laugh, I can relate to it all. I realised early in my adulthood that I disliked the phone (then I worked as a receptionist – no, I can’t figure it out either!). I love called ID, especially as we seem to get a lot of nuisance calls from marketers,etc.
Michaela, I love your nephew’s style. He is a great addition to your work.
I hate phone calls too. Frankly they are like a person suddenly coming into your home or office and plopping themselves down on a chair and demanding your full attention while they talk or harass you with questions, the answers to which may be far from your mind at that moment!
At work, there is sometimes an urgency where a phone call is necessary either from a boss or to one. But at home, I usually resent a call from someone I know that could take any amount of my time. There are exceptions but I think even for people we know and love like family that calls should be made on a more or less regular schedule. For example, I have established Saturday or Sunday mornings before 10 as optimal times to call my elderly mother. She has usually not left the house yet for a lunch date or trip to the store and I am usually relaxed so we have a nice 15 to 30 minute catch up. I have made the error of calling her on a random evening before and she will literally hang up on me so that she can watch her television programs. Once bitten, twice shy! Well the way I treat her is the way I would have others treat me. Don’t just call me up randomly. I would love to chat but lets do it on a scheduled call.
This article is rigbt on! I agree with everything in it. I do not like the intrusiveness of phone calls and how they interupt me when I am focusing on something else.
I soooooo relate!
I absolutely hate talking on the phone, my boyfriend (bless him for dealing with my quirks) insists on calling me everday (we have the same work hours) while I am driving into work and driving home….my most needed “alone time.” No matter how many times I try to explain this, it’s habit after all these years and he goes right back to calling during my commute. The older I get the more it bothers me! It makes me feel terrible to push him away for a gesture most women would love.
Whilst I do not hate telephone calls, I much prefer messaging people. When people call I am bound to speak to them there and then not knowing how long the call will be. I love the fact that meet ups with friends and family can be arranged via messaging – no need to have extended conversations. I love the fact that work meetings can be arranged via email – no need to have ongoing talk about which dates you can and cannot do.
I love the cartoon, especially because my cat seems to agree with me on this one.
You have just explained how I feel. I hate phone calls, and if one calls expecting me to make a decision as they wait, the answer is no, whether it’s a good for me or bad.
Oh my goodness I’m so glad to read an article that describes my pain. I hate the phone! If it wasn’t so amazing for research and music and all the great apps I’d ditch one altogether. I now regularly leave my phone on “airplane” and forget about it and use my iPad for all the things I love on my phone. It means no one can call and no one can msg me! I’m also an introvert that comes across as an extrovert and have also lived in so many different places that my list of people I know feels so endless. I’ll admit to taking 6 months easily to return a phone call, get a sarcastic remark when I have finally called the person and then wish I never bothered after all that. A whatsapp msg could sit there unread for a year or more! I’ve offended so many people with this behaviour but it’s only getting harder to deal with because it doesn’t matter how much you give there’s still more that keeps coming. My worst is when I’ve worked myself to reply, put a lot of effort into the reply and they respond straight away and I haven’t managed to clear even one “owe”!
I end up comfortably weeding out friendships that can’t accept my unreliable phone responses. It’s bad but I can’t sustain an ongoing “mobile” relationship so if that’s what they require, I’m not the friend for this.
I keep replaying a msg in my mind that I’d like to put as a profile msg on my apps…does anyone know of a way to put something like that on your “contact info” for phone calls or messages?
I hate it when someone sends 12 messages to convey one thought and emojis when they could send it in one paragraph. That means my phone beeps all 12 times and loads my number of unread msgs!
FINALLY I understand my son’s aversion to phone calls as part of his introverted nature! Bless you! Finally I can relax and not worry that his quiet withdrawal is a sign of rejection.
Endless gratitude from an extroverted parent!
I can honestly say that I feel the same way about phones and my cell phone. Whenever the phone rings, I am so nervous about answering it, mainly because I’m so anxious about who is on the other side of the conversation, and how the conversation will even go. If it’s someone I’ve known forever, like a family member, I’m fine. But not with strangers. Even when it’s a call I’ve been expecting. I get butterflies, I feel dizzy, sometimes I have even felt physically sick. I try to rationalize with myself, saying, “It’s just a phone! The person on the other side of the line is just that — a person, like me!” But that doesn’t help at all. Lately, all I’ve been using my cellphone for is just as a secondary alarm to wake me up in the morning. I won’t even reach out to my friends to ask how they’re doing or invite them for a cup of coffee because the very thought of even using the phone can be just too overwhelming.
All true. Hate making and answering calls even if it’s someone I like. I hardly ever answer. I’ll check out the number and call later or just respond with an email. It’s a relief to find I’m not the only one.
My phone is set on silent mode most of the time, whatsapp notifications are mute for most of them, I don’t have facebook messenger on my phone, I don’t have an email app neither. I hate having to phone strangers. It can take me up to a week to actually phone sb new. I LOVE the idea some people might be getting in touch with me (emails, messenger) and I don’t know about it
“I hate it when someone sends 12 messages to convey one thought and emojis when they could send it in one paragraph. That means my phone beeps all 12 times and loads my number of unread msgs!”
oh dear, I dread those people.
So I may not call my boyfriend so often even if it was always at the same hour of the day. I tried so hard for more than 6 years, but it doesn’t work to call him on schedule. It’s not even worth to wait for a text response within 12h.
Oh my this is me. I even hate the phone ringing in movies, I feel really anxious at that sound.
Spot on! Is it just me but do you feel used when people call? It seems people call me when they want to hear themselves talk. They talk and talk and talk. I just sit and listen & if I want to say anything it’s always awkward interrupting them, there’s never an appropriate time. I prefer they call my home phone so I can play on my cell phone while they’re talking. You are spot-on with that, it helps relieve the tension. I love the part about the reward. I often grab a Coke or candy bar while they’re talking to reward myself. Talking on the phone is only for those times when it’s more efficient than sending a lot of text messages. Just say what you need to say, firm up your plans and hang up. Thank you!
I regard a ringing phone as as akin to a siren sounding and I’ve never heard a siren heralding good news.
I like your website, and this article, and the one about the face. My face is just a screen saver for my mouth, honestly, and I’d rather just point at things all day than trade mouth sounds with people.
Keep up the good work.
Currently I’m a executive director for a non profit in Kansas.
To be frank I hate phone calls going out and coming into my office.
My wife is my spoke person when speaking with potential donors or other business matters.
I hate to make decisions on the phone that annoys me I need time for decisions.
Overall my life dictates to a different drum Than most.
Give me some quite time to recharge my inner batteries
Even with personal phone calls, I have reluctance. I think one aspect is that I trust non-verbal communication more than words people say to me so I’m not getting the type of communication I want.
I also feel like I’m on stage because an awkward silence or call that’s not in a natural rhythm really makes me feel bad.
I completely resonate with this. I hate phone calls and I have my phone on mute because the sound of the phone ringing and notifications gives me anxiety. It’s definitely an interruption of my day, I cannot multitask while on the phone and I enjoy being present in my current environment depending on where I am and what im doing. I hate early morning calls and late night calls. To me morning is my alone time; and late night is me settling in and slowing down for the day. The good thing is my friends don’t really call me much, I think they got the hint but my family calls often and convos always run 2 hrs or more and sometimes even 6hours: yes 6hours why? Because of their neediness or natural inclination for them just to chat on every topic u can think of lol. Because of being on the phone allot, I don’t check in so see how ppl are doing as much as I would like on my own terms because when I’m off the phone I’m just so glad to be off the phone.