The other day, while talking on Skype with one of my best friends, I realized that something was horribly wrong. The video option was turned off. And, as we all know, Skype without video is just a phone.
Like most introverts, I detest talking on the phone. This begs the question, why do introverts hate the phone so much? After giving it some thought, I’ve come up with a few possibilities.
Lets begin with the ring. Whether your phone sings, buzzes or plays a piano tune, a ringing telephone is annoying. The phone doesn’t care that you are busy, or deep in thought. It pays no mind to the fact that you really don’t feel like talking right now. A ringing phone wants your attention – and it wants it RIGHT NOW!
I once had a friend who often put his home phone in the fridge in order to avoid its intrusive squawking. Thankfully, cell phones can be set to silent or vibrate.
The incessant bark of a telephone presents an inner debate for an introvert. To answer or not to answer? That is the question. Usually, we don’t want to pick up. We might promise ourselves that we’ll call back later. Later could be three days from now or never. Another option is to commit a communication faux pas and send a text in response to their call. This might be considered rude. Meh.
As a last resort, we may have to actually answer the phone. What ensues is something introverts dread; a conversation robbed of any visual or physical cues. That means that our nodding and subtle facial expressions are of no use. The other person can’t see that we are pausing to think, or process, or pet the dog. All they know is that there is silence at the other end. And it is awkward. Of course, we can’t see their facial expressions either. For introverts who rely heavily on observation skills, this is frustrating.
Keeping all this in mind, is it any wonder that introverts avoid or put off talking on the phone?
Indeed, talking on the phone is not something we look forward to. But a lot of times it is necessary. I’m not opposed to short and sweet calls made to tighten up plans or answer an important question. Sometimes the discomfort of talking on the phone is overpowered by the joy of connecting with a loved one.
But the majority of the time, a text message will do just fine.