I’m an introvert. This is something I am only recently really exploring. So, I thought it might be fun to write about it. And hey, huge blog series potential!
I do answer my telephone. When I am at home and not busy (and you are not a telemarketer), I really do answer my telephone.
I do not check my caller ID for missed calls. If you called and did not leave a message, I will not know that you called (and will not know to return your call).
I feel the need to repeat this information at least three times a week, to various people.
You never answer your phone!
You don’t call me back.
Why do you even have a telephone?
I get it all, in varying levels of passive-aggression and moodiness, depending on the person razzing my telephone habits and how long they’ve been “trying” to get in contact with me.
I’m an introvert. I love visiting with people, and often have coffee dates lined up, but I don’t like groups of more than three, and I always need at least a day to re-charge after. I need to think before I speak, I am awful at confrontation and always shut down. I don’t enjoy interruptions, I do my best work solo, I prefer to listen, and I will always write better than I speak.
I hate the telephone.
This is kind of funny considering how many positions of employment I have had that flat out require my (sometimes constant) use of the phone. (I was once a call taker, and radio dispatcher for the RCMP. I did not last long in that job at all.) I will avoid its use like the plague (it is), and far prefer email (which is better for my record maintenance anyway).
A few months back, when I was trying to decide if I was the only person in existence who hated the telephone (I know I’m not, but sometimes, especially late at night, when your brain won’t hush, you Google ALL THE THINGS), I stumbled across this post by Andy Mort, Phone-Reluctant Introverts, There Is Nothing Wrong With You.
It’s me. Right there on that page, written by someone I wouldn’t be able to pick out of a crowd of two, is me. In short, Mort writes about this very real aspect of introversion. The telephone is intrusive, and answering it is not easy, as it often requires that you switch gears, which is rarely Introvert friendly.
Mort also outlines that this is not a choice. Like introversion, telephone-reluctance is a part of who you are. I can attest. The sound of a ringing phone can sometimes bring forth anxiety like little else. I am, like Mort, not being intentionally rude if I do not answer. It’s not that I don’t like you, or I don’t enjoy our conversations (though that is sometimes a thing, but that’s anxiety for a different day), it’s that via the telephone isn’t always the best way for us to visit. (Sometimes it is, especially when my phone buddy lives hundreds of kilometers away. But, then, those calls are usually pre-arranged so that we can both clear some time for a proper visit, and I can put myself into the space required for a good phone call.)
I think my favourite part of Mort’s article, the piece that speaks to me the strongest, is where he writes about expecting an answer. We live in this crazy world where we have so much information and ability literally at our fingertips, available instantly, that we expect it of everything and everyone. I don’t like to operate like that. I don’t like an instant (often over) share of my life. I disseminate information how, to whom, and when I choose. (It’s the main reason that I no longer maintain a Facebook page.)
“In my opinion, it’s ruder to expect an answer than it is not to give one.”
This part of the article also lends a lot of credence to my “I need to think before I speak” personality trait. There are some phone calls I take eagerly, knowing exactly how they’ll go and how long they’ll last. There are others that I do not take, knowing that I can call that person back when I am more mentally present, or prepared, to take them on, via the telephone.
Again, Mort said it well, “it’s not you, but it’s ALSO not me. It’s that stupid phone, leave me a message and I’ll get back to you when I can.”