Phone-Reluctant Introverts, There is Nothing Wrong With You

As I sit down to write this blog post there is the dreaded sound of a prolonged vibration as my phone skids, bouncing and sporadically across my desk. This is perfectly ideal and ironic distraction that actually befits the very thing I am thinking about and from which it is distracting me… Itself!

I have always had an absolute detest for talking on the phone. And I’ll say now that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the person at the other end, I just find it a horrible tool for communicating with.

I think I probably am, and always have been worse than most people when it comes to using the phone (in the traditional sense, ie speaking to people) but if you can identify with any of this then read on. If you’re thinking, “what are you on about, I love the phone” then you’ll probably just get confused, but if you also have friends who ‘never answer the phone’ then this might help you to understand them a bit better.

I can’t sum it up any better than Sophia Dembling in her article, 9 Signs that You Might Be an Introvert

“I rarely answer my telephone, often forget to check voicemail, and can take a shockingly long time to return phone calls.

So sue me.

The telephone is intrusive, especially for introverts, whose brains don’t switch gears all that quickly. When we’re deep in thought, a ringing telephone is like a shrieking alarm clock in the morning.

And we often give bad phone—awkward, with pauses. We struggle without visual cues, and our tendency to ponder before we talk doesn’t play well on the telephone. Being stuck on a too-long call makes me want to chew off my own leg to escape.

Sometimes, if I’m feeling devil-may-care, I’ll pick up calls from far-flung friends who want to catch-up, But I more often let them go to voicemail and then make a date (via email) for us to talk. My friends understand.

Dislike of the phone is often presented as a moral failing. But honestly, it’s not the people on the phone we dislike, it’s the instrument of delivery.”

It’s Not a Choice

I’ve always hated the fact that I hate the phone because it has felt like that ‘moral failing’ she describes. It’s something that has annoyed me about myself, not least because I know it is annoying to others when I’m hard to reach and slow to respond. But I’ve come to realise that it’s not a choice, I’m not being deliberately rude and aloof. There are times when I literally cannot switch my brain to a place where I can answer the phone. Where the sound of it ringing stirs up a genuine frustration and stress within me. I can’t stand the sound of a ringing phone.

As I’ve said before I am extremely introverted, but like always when I’m writing about this stuff, I’m not attempting to find justifications and excuses for stuff, I just like to put bits of jigsaws together to explain what might be going on. I do this with the hope that we can better understand one another and ourselves within the context of this very extrovert-centred world, so that we can find ways to adapt and regulate how we approach the phone if we struggle with it.

 

These are some of things I think I dislike about it:

 

1. The Phone is an Intrusive Disruption

It is an external presence that breaks into both the physical space and more abstractly the place in which the mind finds itself.

I am never doing nothing. Even if I’m doing ‘nothing in particular’, that is something. Even if I’m just thinking, and if I wasn’t expecting a call then it comes as an interruption. I find it very hard to step out of where I am and into a conversation with someone I can’t perceive contextually. When you can’t see someone you can’t anticipate the situation.

The internal question is always, ‘oh why are they phoning? What do they want?’ and if I feel interrupted I am not in an appropriate place to make decisions or respond to requests. A voicemail or text message explaining the why is the best.

If no message is left I generally don’t feel a compulsion to return the call.

2. Don’t Expect an Answer

You are expected to answer – something I hate about the world today is you’re expected to be on call all the time. We carry phones around with us, so being ‘out’ is no longer a valid reason not to answer, or at least respond within a couple of hours. There has somehow become this expectation that if your phone rings you should answer it and that it’s rude not to. Where did this come from? In my opinion it’s ruder to expect an answer than it is not to give one.

No one is entitled to your time, or to speak to you whenever it’s convenient for THEM.

I try hard not to be a hypocrite on this one, and it’s difficult because often the people who get most annoyed with those who don’t respond are themselves just as bad, if not worse.

3. Being ‘free’ is not an undeserved luxury

A call is either going to require me to make a decision or it’s going to want me to engage for a longer chat (see next point). The worst question to provide a quick response to is something along the lines of ‘are you free on Thursday evening?’ or ‘What are you up to later?’ This goes for messages too. You need to be specific. Give context to your question. This is not just a problem with the phone, but the phone creates a situation where you have to respond quickly, and from a corner.

Tell me what it is you want to fill my Thursday with. I’m never ‘free’ – I always have plans.

As I said in the first point those plans might be to sit at home and watch a film. But no one is ever ‘free’, just floating about in nothingness waiting for someone to rescue them from the barbarous torment of freedom. We all need to respect that fact (this is an important distinction between extroverted and introverted attitudes towards down time – I am not sat around waiting for a better offer).

4. Let’s Pre-Arrange

When it comes to phone calls with close friends and relatives that I know might go on for some time, I like to pre-arrange a window in which one of us will call. That way I can get myself into the right head space, and physical space so that I can speak without interruption. I enjoy catching up with people.

I like to pace about, and find little things to occupy me when I’m on the phone. Connecting with someone not in the same environment requires a lot of extra abstract sensory input. Keeping focused on the conversation requires a huge amount of force. I usually end up doing simple tasks that I can do without thinking too much so that I can stay focused. I never stay seated. I might clean the kitchen, tidy up the living room, pile up the post, make a coffee.

I often find myself doing these things unconsciously. But it helps keep the restless part of my head busy. If talking to someone is not my sole focus then it’s a lot easier. This is equally true in face to face encounters. When there is a common task or point to focus on (watching something, building something etc), then the emphasis on chatter is diminished, although silences go down less well on the phone.

5. I’m Either With Others or Recovering from Being With Others

If I’m with other people I don’t answer the phone, unless WE are expecting a call, or I know it’s something very important. I can’t be in a place with someone AND speak to someone else who is not there at the same time. It’s too hard. And I can’t stand people being able to hear me on the phone. I like to shut myself away.

Even if I’m not with others my mind is always busy and focusing on things in my immediate external environment, or abstract areas of my head. If I’m with others I wont answer, and if I’m alone chances are I’m deep into something or recovering from being with others.

 

So there you have it, a few reasons after a spot of experiential research and self-analysis as to why I hate the phone so much. They are not conscious decisions, I’ve never really thought about it too much before actually. So thanks for listening. I feel much better about it now. Remember, if people make you feel guilty for screening calls or being hard to reach, it’s fine.

Tell them ‘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’. Work out ways to communicate that are best for you. I find email and text messages work best. There are only a few things are so pressing that they need a phone call. And if you’re someone who doesn’t understand the mindset I’ve laid out here please try. It’s not a choice, it’s a genuine and legitimate response. If you don’t get through first time, don’t keep calling, just leave a message and carry on about your day.

216 comments
  1. Although I don’t consider talking on the phone to be “horrid”, I too prefer face-to-face communications. What I consider horrid are both texts and especially voice mail, the latter of which I detest with the fire of 10,000 suns! Email is vastly preferred over both voice mail and texts – I consider texts to be fine for teenaged girls, or very quick messages like “I’m going to be late”, or “Pick up some milk while you’re out”, but not for anything more involved than that. Oh, and I wouldn’t be caught dead with a smartphone – horrid things.

  2. Received a message and then another message and then a call and another call from an old acquaintance and totally froze. All of this happened in the course of about six hours–I only saw the final text message (which had my name followed by multiple exclamation marks, which made me stop in mt tracks and that’s when the phone rang again). Actually, after the first message I was puzzled and then leery and when the phone rang the seriousness of the situation hit me and so I didn’t answer. I didn’t so much as lie about why I didn’t pick up as throw anything and everything in as a legitimate excuse and then felt like a failure as a human being afterwards for all of the above.
    Come to think of it, I act this way with my own kids too. It does pretty much feel like a moral failing on my part because no one else that I know struggles with this.
    While it’s good to know that others feel as I do, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s me that’s wired all wrong inside.

  3. I know you wrote this many years ago, but if it happens to catch your eye thank you ! I see people with blue tooth in their ear like they are ready and often seem to be talking 24/7.. I’m already super introverted , but also grew up in a home where the phone was allowed long enough to make plans, answer questions etc.. only if someone was calling long distance to us they decided how long (back in the 90s not long at all lol) I abhor small talk and despise playing phone tag. A perfect world would be by texting or face to face (I have social anxiety but read people way better in person so phone is the bigger anxiety) Anyway, I didn’t mean to ramble on and on it was just nice seeing someone who completely understands and is able to write out very well the struggle. I could try but it’d be gobblygook lol. Thanks again ❤️ -jade

  4. I have a life to live, and things I actually want to do. Why is it viewed as so odd to want some peace and quiet every once in awhile, and to have the freedom to choose what I do with my spare time? Frankly, I have no interest in being continually imposed upon by habitual attention seekers who are looking to make their inability to enjoy their own company my problem.

    In a way, I can see why they don’t enjoy it.

    Hell, I don’t enjoy their company, either! LOL

    1. Wow, that’s amazing, Esmae. Fair play! I’d love to know how you’re getting on with that! What have you learned since getting rid of your phone? Have there been any challenges/struggles with it?

  5. totally me 100% . I’ve hated phones since I can remember. I never called my highschool friends. I never had a phone going away to college (used payphone or mail). Only time I had a phone was when i was pregnant with my 2 kids and that was a limited tracfone. I’ve only recently acquired a REAL cell phone with service.
    I have a crap job (To interact with humans) and creative freelance jobs at home. I feel a big burden when I’m in these “creative” moments or “me time” when someone calls and expects me to stop what I’m doing. I feel that sam annoyance as if someone knocked on my bedroom door randomly , popping there head in and ask me what I’m doing . Certain people I take a super long time getting back to them so they don’t feel that they can get me any time they wish.

    Vent/ phone lover example:

    I have a “bossy/controlling” friend(?) that unfortunately… I moved only a mile away from. She calls, then leaves a voicemail, “why are you not answering??” I’m like Why are you wasting my time listing to a message with no detail about why I NEED to, then a text, “CALL ME”. but the real reason… WHY????. She uses the bait and hook strategy of telling you that she needs to talk or gives a very vague message that gives 0 detail and finishes, I’ll tell you on the phone, or come over later today…grrrrr…NO.

    She took my kids for the evening (because she wanted to) while I was at work and my husband was at home. She texts me “The kids did something serious and I need to talk to you”(this was a bait and hook moment). I’m thinking they did something really serious so while I’m working I call my husband (instead of her to get info). They(the friend and kids) are at my house(crap) and he said it wasn’t that serious. She’s in the background YES IT IS. She gets on the phone and I tell her I don’t have a lot of time so what happened . She told me to CALL HER LATER ABOUT IT. REALLY???? She actually got me on the phone and she just passed up this rare moment…

    2 weeks go by and I still haven’t talked to her on the “phone”(because she missed the opportunity and my husband already told me what happened *the kids just went ahead of them while hiking). She refuses to tell me over text or email. She texts me that she’s at a loss for words because I won’t call and that they really need to talk to me TONIGHT. bahahaha

  6. 100% me.

    And I am social. I am friendly. But I HATE when my phone rings even with a family member including one of my grown kids…texting is easy…phone calls are not! Hate that too but my husband supports me so I dont feel as bad. Hec. I could have worse quirks than wishing people would just text. 😉

  7. Thank you so much for this article. It was the second one on your site I’ve read and it completely resonates with me. I have always told my family and friends that “if we are having a conversation on the phone, it is an absolute labor of love on my part because, while I love you, I hate telephones.” Honestly, every time my phone rings, I have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. EVERY TIME. And I have always felt guilty for feeling this way. But I can’t help it. I hate that I’m expected to answer a call at any time just because I always have my phone with me. I have my phone with me so…I…can use it if I need to, not so I can be accessible 24/7. I especially hate when people call my house phone, then my cell phone, then finally call my teens looking for me, for no important reason than just to chat. I don’t ever want to chat. I will do it for people I love but I hate being forced to when I don’t want to. In fact, just as I’m writing this, this very thing is happening. This person just called my house phone now my cell phone is ringing. Ugh :(. Here we go…The phone is a very unwelcome intrusion most of the time. I like love people, I just hate phones. Once again, I’m so thankful that there are people out there who understand and feel this way. Thank goodness for voicemail and automatic text reply!

  8. But how should we deal with it? because sometimes I feel I will end up with being lonely, as 90% people around us are just like that! and I this feeling bothers me all the time and makes me feel nervous and anxious!

  9. Agree totally. I would rather get an email, so I can be prepared when I return the call.

    So many times , I would say damn near anything, to get off the phone.
    Not anymore. I’m getting crankier as I get older.

    Whats especially bad are those damn smartphones, the calls come garbled, and I have to strain to hear what the other person is saying. Thats NOT an enjoyable experience.

  10. Thank you for this great piece, how is it relieving to find out the truth, this is the point when the truth sets you free. I totally associate, am that person that wouldn’t pick up a call, if its so very urgent or important I would do an SMS upon the other party screening my call and usually I expect the same. I have come to realize that people who demand that you pick their phone calls immediately are so controlling.

  11. Oh my goodness. It’s finally put into words. This is so clear-cut me…I can’t explain how happy I am to have found this.

  12. This is such a great explanation, Andy. I have always referred to that lack of context as “a disembodied voice”. Phone calls are just uncomfortable. I generally can’t even pre-arrange a call because my body will make sure I’m doing something else if I know it’s coming.

  13. I hate it when people call me, and then call again, and then demand to know where I was and why I didn’t pick up the phone. I just don’t want to talk. Text me. Email me. Don’t chat. I hate it.

  14. Yeah not a fan of the electronic leash we call cell phones and the tracking devices attached to them i still prefer a landline using my magicjack with cellphone for payphone emergency.On the plus side it has replaced my cd player,camera,video camera,calculator,newspaper,portable tv unit,radio,weekly calender reminder,phone book but if that battery quits working I can’t replace it or if the os falls behind apps don’t work–it’s gone.

  15. I hate talking on the telephone. I completely understand the fantasy to “chew off my own leg to escape.” I was recently reflecting that if I was to go deaf, the silver lining would be never having to participate in a phone call again. I’ve recently decided that with the exception of talking to my wife, and the occasional need to ask someone “how late is your shop open today?”, I’m just not doing it anymore. Small talk on the phone is the worst mental torture I can think of.

  16. I’ve gotten okay with my aversion, because it’s legitimately how I feel within my own jurisdiction of home and life. But it does help to know that it’s more common and quantifiable than I had realized & that my choice to not participate right then is just as valid a viewpoint and lifestyle as anyone else’s. Thanks!

    1. Great to hear Julie! So nice to know when people get to a place of peace with it. And yes absolutely, getting that reassurance that it’s a common thing that many share is pretty good. Totally as legitimate a way of interacting with the world as anyone else’s.

  17. After going through a 7 year long divorce where I was constantly getting threatening calls from my EX and his family and then creditors when my EX ran up enormous credit card debts and left me to pay them, I literally turned the phone off and unplugged it…if i plugged it in and it rang it would make me more mad than fearful…I don’t like surprises and I wont answer a call without a caller ID….if that makes me mentally ill blame my EX and his family….

  18. EXCELLENT little article. I enjoyed it very much. I’m not sure there’s anyone on the planet that loathes a phone call more than me. When it rings, I literally get angry. To me, it’s almost the same feeling as someone slamming a door in the middle of the night or talking very loudly outside your door while you’re sound asleep. Weird analogy, I know.
    Anyway, I’ve read many of these “introverts are this way or that” articles. However, this is the first one to mention the guilt you feel about not answering a phone call. I love my mother very dearly – she’s in her 70’s now – and she LOVES to chat on the phone. She hates the “modern culture” of emails and text messages because they’re so informal. I get it. I think that I should feel the same way. I wish I did, actually, because she won’t be around forever. I just can’t stand the phone. I feel trapped by that person and, as an intellectual type of person, I LOATHE small talk. “How’s the weather?” ….. “Oh, it looks like it might rain tomorrow morning” ….. “Yeah, we got rain yesterday, but it’s nice now” ….. “I went to Target today to look for some blah, blah, blah” ………. Kill me!

  19. Ive recently began to date a man whom I realllllly like. I may even marry him! When we met in person it was great. He is a quiet person and at times I knew that I had to get comfortable with silence. When we converse in person its great. when we are quiet its great. PROBLEM is when it comes to communicating via phone wether it’s texting or chatting. We live four hours away from each other and all we have is a phone to communicate so it requires a lot of patience! He does not respond promptly. He takes hours and even days at a time if he is stressed. When we do chat on the phone we will chat for a few hours. But will not text me through out the day or say ‘good morning’ or ‘good night’. I’m an extrovert and not sure how to handle this. When we first met it took him a couple of days to really communicate with me. I know he really likes me and he really expressed it when we were together but by phone he is cold with one word answers. At times I text and nothing. I can see he has read it but NOTHING not even the following day! I have to text him again and his answers are one word. no apology or anything. Eventually he comes around and we will chat. He will not bring it up and neither will I but it REALLY bothers me..smh…

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this. That’s great that you’ve met someone who things are good with. I recognise some of the stuff you mention here and have been guilty of certain things myself. I can’t speak for him but I know that I’m notoriously bad at replying to texts and it can take me time to get into energy space for phone calls. If he’s like me then it’s absolutely nothing personal. If texts come at times when it’s not immediately convenient to reply I can get distracted and forget for an hour or more. If it does affect you in a way that upsets you then I would definitely recommend just having a chat about it. Not in an intense way, but just set out some expectations between you and talk about what you both need when it comes to communication. I find that it’s far better to address stuff like that head on, even if it requires an awkward conversation. Being aware of one another’s needs and boundaries should help! I hope things continue to grow in good ways and that you find that sweet spot with the communication.

    2. I know I’m butting into your conversation, so please feel free to tell me to buzz off, but here’s my 2 cents. An introvert who hates the phone, like me, will at least put forth the effort to return a text mssg fairly quickly to compensate for the lack of phone time. Introverts loathe the feeling of being trapped on a phone call, but a text mssg is a very quick & easy way to pacify his love interest. I hate to say it, but he’s a very selfish man for not replying to texts and/or emails in a short period of time. That’s my 2 cents as an introverted guy…..

  20. This is spot on. I’ve never been able to articulate this as fully as you have. I’ve accepted this part of myself, and do my best to meet folks somewhere in the middle.

  21. Its weird. I think im introvert and extrovert. I usually dont mind talking to my friends or family on the phone but when it comes to calling a business or even anwering calls from businesses i absolutely dread it. I usually put it off until almost the last minute and stress about it. I do consider myself a people person though. I usually enjoy talking to strangers at work. I also prefer to solve problems in person instead of over the phone or email which isnt always usually convenient or possible. However, i get very nervous talking in a group of 3 or more people. Also, some days when Im either in a bad mood or depressed i dread going out in public. Period. Can anyone relate?

    1. Hi Kristina! It’s wonderful to get your perspective on this! Totally relate to your preference for solving problems in person too. It’s so much easier when you can get the whole picture of the other person, rather than just a voice or their written words. There’s definitely purpose for everything, and knowing the best medium for each situation is pretty important! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

  22. Ahhh thank you for this! So I now know I’m NOT the weird one 🙌. And the part where you state that it’s very rude for others to expect you to be “on call” for them, is spot on. I get irritated and even MORE so when they call twice in row and proceed to call again 20 min later. Bc of that I’m clearly NOT going to answer their call. It’s severely annoys me to no end. Great read 👍

  23. Thank you. I cannot stand talking on the phone just to chat. If I have something to say, I like to say it and be done. I do much better with email and text. I found your post while searching for some way to emphasize this to a friend who’s already been told I don’t like to talk on the phone. I called her back yesterday and talked for at least 20 minutes. Today she has called three times and left one message.

    1. Yes exactly! It can be really hard to communicate it to people. It always baffles me how much some people love talking on the phone. Takes so much energy for me to get a call out of my system.

  24. I have friends who are constantly talking on the phone & I never understood the appeal of talking to a disembodied voice on the other end. I find phone calls distracting, intrusive, awkward & like it’s a forced conversation. I can sit down with someone face to face and literally talk & laugh with them for hours without any trouble at all… or I can sit down and write a nice long email to catch up with an old friend and say everything I wanna say with ease but , when the phone rings I start to panic and get in a weird mood. I’m not trying to be rude to people by neglecting to make or answer calls. I always end up feeling very guilty when I know my old friend is expecting me to call & keep putting it off. I never understood why I feel this way towards the telephone. When I mention this to most people they think I’m just being anti-social..but, I love being around people…I just don’t enjoy talking on a phone. Some of my old friends probably think I simply don’t wish to speak to them or like I’m avoiding them. I try to explain to them as best I can that it’s not them, it’s the phone I can’t deal with. Unless If it’s a very important call in an emergency situation and totally necessary to pick up a phone I just avoid phones as much as possible. I like to be on & off the phone in a matter of minutes because I find long drawn out calls to be very hard for me to get through without getting flustered and feeling extreme anxiety..but, I’m glad to know I’m not alone with this feeling.

  25. I just found this, so sorry for the late comment, but this is excellent! Many in my family feel like this (we call it “Phone Phear” because we’re weird like that). I extend the same feeling to texts (sure, I’ll stop what I’m doing, unlock my phone, read your text, type out a reply, put the phone down, resume my task … only to be bugged again and again for a two hour seemingly urgent text conversation that would have been a 30 second phone call or, better yet, a one paragraph e-mail). Once upon a time we were told not to call during dinner time, family time, or after nine pm. Now I wake up with missed calls and texts waiting on me and they’re likely as not still rolling in when I silence my phone before going to bed. My defense (which I have to re-instate periodically when I forget how to be “rude” and slip back into instantly responding) is that no one gets more than 3 text replies, I only answer the phone during business hours and early evening only (other than that it BETTER be an emergency and poor planning on the part of the caller does not constitute an emergency), and PMs, Facebook messages, etc. all get treated like texts. I try at least once a week to turn off most alerts so I have a day of relative peace. It’s for everyone else’s good as much as it is for mine.
    Reading this page made me feel a lot better about my introversion (a.k.a. rampant misanthropy … po-ta-to, po-tah-to 😉 ).

    1. Love that you have a term for it. We were just having a similar conversation about texts and well, all forms of communication. We were on vacation for a couple of weeks and reminiscing about times when we would have gone abroad and been pretty much uncontactable for the whole time. But now there is so much connection that even being the other side of the world isn’t an excuse to note reply to someone’s message. I find it so draining. I turned airplane mode on for swathes of our trip, but even still that nagging thought that people might be getting in touch and expecting a response was still there under the surface. It’s certainly one to keep working away at. As you say, text conversations are a pain. When it turns into “live” communication it becomes just as hard as a phone call. “It’s for everyone else’s good” – yes!! haha, so true. Thanks for sharing. I’ll remember “phone phear” for sure! 🙂

  26. Finally! I’m not the only one. I also hate to call people just to chat. What if they’re busy? What if they are in the middle of something with their children or spouse? I think that they must feel the same way as I do about the interruption lol. I also prefer to pre-schedule a phone conversation. The only person I call regularly is my mom as she’s the same way. It’s usually a 5 minute or less conversation as I’m walking home from work to check in.

    1. Absolutely spot on. Those concerns always stop me from making calls to people – the idea of being a nuisance is big. Probably because of putting myself in their shoes as you say, haha. There’s an irony there somewhere! It’s nice to develop a check in routine with people like that – you both know that the call will just be brief and will end nice and quickly. Thanks for sharing!

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  28. Omg…. Thank you. I’ve been trying to explain this to people in my life for a while now. Its so difficult because some people are so mind blown that I can go so long without texting or calling. I have lost friends in this process. I wish I could figure out how to accept myself for being this way and not carrying so much guilt. Can you write an article on that? LOL. I’m sure some more soul searching this probably needed. What also seems to constantly challenge me is I am a person and Recovery. And 12 step programs they require you to have a sponsor and keep in constant contact with that person almost daily. 5 years in and I still can’t get that right. Sometimes I fear that it causes more stress to me than it actually helps. So normally it just starts the “I am going to do better” to feeling guilty cycle. Ugh! Any way I very much appreciate this moment of feeling that I am not alone ☺

    1. Hi Nicole, great to hear from you! Yes the not carrying guilt thing is a struggle. I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time. How to balance the needs of others with your own needs. I have experimented with certain things – one that works well for me is ring-fencing a small window of time each day (or every couple of days) when I reply to texts, emails, and phone calls. Knowing that it will happen removes the guilt of it not happening right now. But it means that on going conversations can’t happen. I’m no good with those!

      Yeah it sounds like the program could create even more stress and struggle when it sends you into that cycle of guilt. Finding a way for the communication to work for you and maintain your energy levels in a good way would be useful. I will think through this further! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  29. My facebook post while sharing this article: (THANK YOU)

    “I often feel that no one truly understands me. Part of that is because I am intensely private and, as my husband says, “do not let people in.” Mostly it is because I am in introvert living in an extroverted world. I am aware that I acquire and process information differently than most people. I acknowledge that ANY social engagement on my calendar causes me anxiety. The mere fact that I have not had a completely unscheduled day on my calendar for weeks makes me burst into tears. I am not spontaneous. I am a deep planner. I do not make decisions easily. I am almost always exhausted and even more so when someone asks me to add to or change my plans. A knock at the door or a ringing phone make me want to curl into a fetal position and hide.

    My fellow introverts understand. This is all completely fine with me. I’ve gotten pretty good at setting boundaries, saying no, focusing on things that are important to me, accepting myself, and not owning other people’s guilt.
    But, work is nuts, kid activities are overlapping, I feel overwhelmed all the time and I cannot seem to find any solitude in order to recharge (Like a week alone in a remote cabin…or even a few hours in an empty house).

    So I went in search of new ideas to balance my need for solitude with the world I live in. After reading a half-dozen articles about the blah-blah definition of introverts and how they blah blah struggle with many things that extroverts can’t understand, I ran across this gem, by someone who I feel truly understands me. A rare spirit who not only commiserates with my absolute abhorrence of placing or receiving phone calls, but who explains the phenomenon well and gives me permission to accept this “Moral Failing” about myself as well.

    For my mom, boss, husband, friends, kid, siblings, and professional acquaintances, it’s not that I don’t love you, it’s just that I may not have the capacity to respond the way you would like me to.

    This guy NAILS it…with every word.”
    “I am never doing nothing.”

  30. It’s all about compromise. I have friends who hate calls and I think it’s a fair compromise to keep it brief within 5 mins or so for a call. Sometimes calls are better than texts and that’s just how it goes. Agreed that long chats should be scheduled even for someone who like the phone. You don’t have to answer your phone right away but calling the person back within a few days is generally fine.

  31. I’m so glad to see this post. I don’t think I’m a total introvert. I like people and I have a job in which I call on clients and spend a lot of time with them, talking and demonstrating. I also have to return inquiry phone calls and sell my services to prospective clients. When I get home or am finished working, the last thing I feel like doing is talking — I just want to be quietly by myself for a while, maybe read, watch Netflix, listen to the radio or meditate, etc. I resent having to return phone calls!!!! One of my pet peeves is those individuals who will NOT communicate with you any other way but by phone — they don’t/won’t check email, won’t/don’t text, don’t go on social media. These are mostly older people, but I am “older” and love email and texting. These people force you to call them. I would rather see someone in person than be on the phone. It wastes SO much time — I am rarely on the phone for less than an hour with family or friends who insist on phone calls.

    I actually have a relative (one of those who insists on the phone) who will tell me something about another relative and say, “Maybe you should give her a call.” I really resent her telling me what I should do with the information she gave me. Maybe I’d prefer to write a letter or send a card. Or do nothing. I feel her “suggestion” is pushy and intrusive.

    One point people don’t realize: When you lose a loved one, you will always have a card or letter they wrote you; phone calls are gone forever. I spoke to my parents almost every day on the phone, but now that they’re gone, I cherish the letters, cards and photos I have from them.

  32. I found this article because my phone rang, and I felt that sense of dread and decided to search Google to see if others felt the same. I’m glad I’m not alone, and find the tips in some of these comments helpful. Another point I’d like to bring up is the increasing expectation that texts should be answered immediately, and a “text conversation” should ensue. I’ve noticed people would text me and expect I engage in the same small talk that would be made on the phone after I address whatever it is they initially texted me about. I don’t fault them for this, but I usually flounder because I can’t gauge their response and find it hard to find an appropriate point to end the conversation. This often ends in awkward exchanges because I can’t tell if a formal goodbye is needed to end a conversation where the last response from the other person was simply an “okay” or something along those lines. I’d much rather meet them in person.

    1. Oh yes so true, Annie. Text etiquette can be a murky area too. My rule is if there are no questions no answer is needed, and if I’m ending the conversation it’ll just be something short and snappy with no response necessary. But yes it can be a bit confusing and feel rude when things aren’t formally finished. I guess it depends from person to person.

  33. I destroyed my cell phone, and will never own a phone again. There is literally no reason for me to have it. Someone can send me a message, they can drop by, if they’re not willing to do either then it’s not important. I am not a business, I do not have customers, no one has a right to my time. People who think they do are not welcome in my life.

    1. I find that so frustrating! Then ‘why do you never answer your phone?’ Why don’t you leave a voicemail and tell me what you want, then I’ll know if you need me to call back or not, and I’ll know what you want so I have time to give a better and more informed response.

  34. Thank you so much! I think it is really going to help me feel less guilty about not answering the phone! I may even link your post in emails to people who get mad at me about this!

  35. Thank you for this, it explains so much of what is going on behind the scenes. I wish my employer would read it; their main complaint is that I do not use the phone enough. It’s because it takes too much of my focus off the task at hand when someone is chattering away in my ear!

  36. This is silly. I think it is rude for people to habitually not answer their phone. It is annoying and drives most of us crazy! How can it be problematic to be talking to one person and then switch to talking to another for a couple of minutes then back to that person?

  37. Being an introvert and hating to take or send phone calls is especially tough when you’re looking for a job. Sometimes, a company will email you ahead of time to inform you of the phone interview, which helps, since I can prepare far better by being able to write down every question I’m going to have for them, basically write a script for what I’m going to say, then try to anticipate what they might ask of me, and so on. It’s still difficult since I’m nervous, I can’t see them, and I have a hard time hearing what they say. Then there are others that comes out of the blue. You know that instant that you’re not prepared in any meaningful way and the phone interview will end in five or so minutes because of that, those kind of calls are really stressful.

    I would so much rather go back to having landlines and answering machines, where I can hear who’s calling me in real time, and I can answer it if I chose to that instant, instead of going through a bunch of hoops just to get to my voice mail on my stupid cell. Just email me, I’ll get back to you faster.

    1. Agreed, Cliff! It can take some serious energy when in that situation. I’ve had a number of telephone interviews and can’t stand them. I use body language a lot when I communicate and find it really hard when I can’t read someone else’s reaction to what I’m saying. If I’m able to prepare I sometimes over-prepare and script everything to the point where I’m unable to ad lib very well. It’s a tough situation for us isn’t it! Email all the way!

  38. Thank you for this from the bottom of my heart. I thought I was a seriously messed up person because of this and that I was the only one. I Lost friendships over it, aggravated my family and could not take jobs because of it. The relief I feel after reading this is palpable. I am so grateful to you for writing this…:)

  39. I also have mild add / audio processing issues, and that’s definitely a factor. I’m often saying, “well, I gotta go…” just as the other person is starting on a new topic. I feel bad, but there we are.

    1. When it comes to phone calls with close friends and relatives that I know might go on for some time, I like to pre-arrange a window in which one of us will call. That way I can get myself into the right head space, and physical space so that I can speak without interruption. I enjoy catching up with people.

  40. THANK YOU!
    Maybe I should try getting some kind of headset. I don’t like using a speaker phone (although I will if I have to) and both cell phones and our land line are impossible to hold on my shoulder as I doodle. I cannot be on the phone without something to do with my hands, it drives me bonkers.

    1. I use apple ear buds and find that works well, though I don’t really like not being able to hear my surroundings properly when I’m on the phone. But then again most of the time I’ll only speak on the phone in private so it makes little difference. It’s complicated! 🙂

  41. tooooooooooooooooo right came here while I let the phone ring on good god who needs to go on late in the evening just taking my time away moaning and off loading about their miserable day believe me my sister does this daily. my children ring too get me to baby sit its shit I hate the phone,

  42. I’m so horrified by the phone that when I go to answer it, I freeze up, and can’t say anything for about 15 seconds. It’s like my voice box has shut down. I feel so stupid, and frustrated. I did find out that knowing who’s calling me helps; when a person calls who I know I don’t have to say ‘hello’; instead I’ll say something like ‘Helen’ hey girl!
    I understand people have more trouble with tiny cell phones, than with big rotary phones; I wonder why?

    1. I really like the idea of breaking the ice (within) by answering the phone as you suggest. It diffuses the awkward small talky bit and powers on in. Anytime I hear the sound of a ringing phone my body goes into fight or flight mode. It’s a little bit crazy!

      1. Thank you! I also discovered if you program your phone to play a favorite song, instead of a ring it also helps.

  43. The next time someone asks me what i’m doing when i pick up the phone, i’m going to say “planning your funeral !” that should shut them up. (joking…sort of).

  44. Just read this and it described me to a ‘T’. Non-introverts just don’t understand and take offense that people don’t just drop everything to talk on these infernal devices. I miss the days pre-cellphone when out meant OUT.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. I was at a funeral the other day and someone answered their phone and said ‘sorry I can’t talk now, I’m at my dad’s funeral’. Literally. I was thinking ‘why on earth have you answered!? That person can wait, whoever it is’ but yes you’re right, many people don’t accept a non-answer as alright.

  45. Andy, I completely empathize with your polemic against phone conversations and any phone call for that matter. I will be in the middle of something, which is usually thinking, and I feel this intense aggravation when the phone rings, it is almost rage. You know when someone shakes you awake, and you wake up swinging, well that is how I feel when I get a phone call, and no one amongst my acquaintances ever got it. The only reason I have a phone is so my friend Mark (also an introvert) can phone me or I can phone him to set up a meet and/or to check if we are still alive. 🙂

    I recently mentioned this to my psychiatrist, and she proceeded to announce that I had a phobia against phoning and phones. WTF!!! and OMG!!! Although, I did not explain it as succinctly as you have put it, beautifully done thanks, I am going to print it and show it to my psychiatrist, (who is also an introvert, so she will get it but who’s training was set up by a bunch of extroverts of course, so it figures) 🙂

    This is not something I have to get over or fix, this is who I am and my whole family is like this, we are all 5 of us introverts, one and all, and I like my family exactly as they are, thank you very much.

    I am also way over on the introvert scale, extreme as you delineated yourself, and I am completely fine with who I am. The wonderful way you have described your feelings about the matter fits me to a T and only goes to show, that, for me and introverts, this is normal. At 56 years old I am always in awe of the things I can still learn from erudite folks like yourself and I thank the universe for the existence and gathering of cells that has produced errant people like you 🙂 Have a great day, and thanks for the ammunition, Lise

  46. Im by defult a very private person and very much an introvert, and I immediately become filled with aggitation when I hear the damned phone ring. My gradmother is on that bloody thing prety much all day. And in many cases Im tempted to rip the cord out of the wall, just so I can enjoy some long needed peace and quiet ( I suffer from Misophonia so on a bad day the phone can put me in a right foul mood )
    And I completely agree…the expectation people have that I will answer right away and call back right away is obsurd. I dont mind if people call every few days to check if I’m alive or whatever, but dammit…not every 2 hours.
    Also…..after a certain time….I dont wanna hear the phone ring…..like, seriously…..it’s 9:30 at night…this is my wind down time…why in the hell are you bugging me?

    1. That must be really frustrating when it’s constant noise that you have no control over. I imagine that misophonia is a horrible thing to have in such a situation.

      Totally agree. If everyone relaxed expectations it would be very helpful! And yeah, we had a rule growing up that we wouldn’t allow phonecalls after 9pm. It’s something I really want to implement with my own smart phone usage. I still look at various social media late at night but think it would be seriously beneficial to have a full no phone rule from 9 onwards. I wouldn’t dream of calling someone that late.

  47. I’m someone who loathes using the phone at work because it puts you on the spot. It’s a reaction that dates from my time in retail when people would call to see if we were open instead of checking the mall or store websites. It’s not that difficult to google the location – you are being a lazy asshole.

    I wish that I could have the option to use chat services at work because the sound of my ringer annoys me. It also doesn’t help that my boss is a Luddite that likes using the phone or that my counterpart is rarely available at his desk. As a result, I usually get called away from my desk at least 3 or 4 times every hour. It’s disruptive and interrupts my work flow.

  48. I ask my family to send me a message. The best way to get ahold of me is through texting. I’m much less apprehensive about answering a text. This doesn’t mean text me and immediately call me if I answer. It means text me. Keep texting me. If you want to say more, please give me transition time. A few hours or days even. And definitely DO NOT show up at my door if I don’t answer your calls. I’m just as uncomfortable with doorbells and knocking. I won’t answer much of the time. If I do, be prepared to get a swift lecture about the necessity of calling me first. Dropping by unannounced is just rude! I’m a quarky woman who still needs the transition time from one activity to another.

    1. Man yeah! That little trick of calling as soon as you text back (‘I knew you were with your phone!’) It’s not about the fact I’m not with my phone. Transition time is spot on. And yes the showing up thing. Don’t get me started! I will on the whole not answer if I’m not expecting anyone simply because most of the time it’s charity workers or people selling stuff and that’s a very unwelcome distraction/drain on energy (having to feel rude turning people away). Transition time is exactly what we need. So glad you agree!

  49. Yesssss! You read my mind, plus – the phone is generally a huge waste of time. If we spoke for an hour on Monday, you have nothing to say on Tuesday. Let’s be real. You’re just someone that can’t find anything to do and you’re going to make that my problem by calling me all day to take your time off your hands. It’s rude and it’s presumptuous indeed! I have a life and thoughts of my own. I don’t owe anyone any of them. Text me.

  50. If this isn’t me then I don’t know what else is. Throw in a mild case of anxiety and there we have it. Glad to know I’m not alone in this.

  51. Even though this post is a few years old now, it’s still a top hit when I Google for “I hate the phone.” It was really nice to read and I so appreciate not being alone in this. My stomach sinks to the floor when the phone rings, even if it’s somebody I really love on the other end, and I have often wondered if there is something seriously wrong with me for it. Even calling to set up appointments, etc. is awkward because I never seem to understand the pauses and always end up talking over someone, or having them talk over me. I really, really need body language and facial expressions to do conversation correctly.

    I started a new job recently, and a lot of people at my organization default to phone communication. This is annoying to me on so many levels, especially since I share an office with someone and now never have privacy on the phone. Besides, my instinct is always to send email, which people can read and think about and respond to on their own timeline, rather than expecting them to just pick up and answer my question on the spot. If it’s something that can’t be explained or answered by email, I’ll elect a face-to-face chat long before I choose to call someone. But my colleagues just love the phone 🙁 I greatly envy my husband, who is a software developer – that is a field full of introverts, and his last two companies didn’t even give their employees desk phones at all!

    1. Hi! It’s amazing how many visits this article still gets after all this time. It’s very nice to know that it is still helping people so thank you for letting me know! Stomach sinking is exactly the term – it’s a weird thing isn’t it. Even as you say if it’s someone you love and know really well the other end, when that phone rings it does weird things. I’ve found it’s even the same when my phone is on silent. Just today I saw a call coming through (fortunately it was a spam call so didn’t feel guilty about leaving it), but even just seeing an incoming call gave me a similar feeling.

      It’s frustrating when phone is default communication. It’s rarely the most efficient, especially in a work environment because it’s so disruptive. It may be efficient and convenient for the one making the call but not for anyone else. It’s like when people call back immediately after getting a text and say ‘I thought it was just easier to ring’. Many people don’t get the energy and attention shifts required for those of us for whom this is a big deal. My instinct is email too – it allows everyone to communicate in their own time as you say and think about things properly. I find it easier to articulate my thoughts in email than on the phone; face to face is definitely preferable too if a conversation needs to take place.

      So so glad to read your thoughts, thanks for sharing them! 🙂

  52. I really thought I was the only one that felt this way! I refuse to have a cell phone for the same reasons listed. I keep my answering machine filled. Oh, I THANK YOU kindly for this… more than you know! ???✌?️

  53. This is AWESOME. Thank you for validating how I feel. My time alone is precious and so is my space. I will keep the phone off until I am ready to answer and text at your own peril. I warned people a long time ago that I don’t answer texts and am “not on call”.

  54. This post exactly describes me as I am. I felt so content after reading this because when I somehow prepared my mind to return someone’s call and managed to callback, I would be taunted by the other person that were you so busy that you couldnt even callback? I feel terrible when I hear this, but not anymore 🙂 because I have realized that I am just allergic to the phone.

    And this self-realization has given a sense of satisfaction 🙂 and the best part is my fiance understands this. Even he can go like a day without talking on the phone and we talk on phone alternate days or if either of us is tired on some day, then we can talk on the phone with each other even after two days. wow.. We do text almost everyday but we dont force phone calling on each other and I am glad to have him in my life :).

    Thanks Andy for this wonderful post and special thanks for the free books.! will start reading them soon.! 🙂

    Thanks
    Ruchi

    1. Yes, spot on Ruchi! It really does make all the difference when people understand it too. I’m glad your fiance gets it!

      It’s so nice to hear your thoughts. Glad to hear that you got the books too! I look forward to hearing what you make of them.

      Thanks,
      Andy

  55. I relate to every word you wrote ! thank you for this, I feel so much better now that I can understand this frustratingly confusing relationship I have nurtured over the years with my phone.. It’s not me, it’s the phone !

  56. I especially loved the part about “being free”. It’s so hard to explain to people that, yes, staying at home watching films *is* a plan, even a great plan that I’ve been looking forward to, and no, going out with you on short notice, even though I like you a lot, is not necessarily much better.

    Same goes for eating alone. Yes, I like sitting in this restaurant alone with my book and no, I would actually *not* like you to join me, even though I occasionally enjoy a conversation with you. How to tell that to people? *sigh*

    1. Yes Anna Maria, isn’t it just! The assumptions of the world are huge. If you’re at home alone you’d rather be out or at least have company. And if you’re out and alone you’d definitely rather have company. It’s nearly impossible to communicate that verbally.

      Perhaps when someone does join us and the conversation turns to why we’ve ended up on your own that it was your choice and that you enjoy it. I’ve had that conversation with people before and it was like an alien concept that then gave them permission to consider it an ok thing to do (going to the cinema alone) – a few weeks later they told me they had done the same. Some people wont get it, but it’s surprising how many will once they realise it can be a choice.

  57. I think I find it harder to make phone calls than to take phone calls – though over time my friends and family have come to see them as a package deal. On probability I am more likely to answer a call than to make one (though the likelihood of me answering a call is pretty low to start with). My family will usually organise to make a time to ring, which can be okay sometimes. Other times the looming responsibility of taking a call makes it far worse than accepting a random incoming call. It makes special days riddled with anxiety waiting for the phone to ring from family. I used to cop much angst from close family members because, you know, honestly ‘Just get over yourself. It’s only the phone.’

    For me it’s always been the intrusion factor that bothered me the most. And the fact that someone thinks their life is so important that they need to railroad it into mine without my permission. The flip side of that is, I respect that people’s time is precious and it’s not up to me to thrust myself in there with a phone call. There are several friends I will take a phone call from because I know they would only ever call in an emergency.

    I adore text message, email, messenger and Skype is generally fine too, but right now I am back in the middle of a social media sabbatical and I love the fact I’m getting old school letters in the post. What I like most about these forms of communication is they allow you to come to them in your own good time. There is no pressure. And no expectation. It is on my own terms.

  58. Honestly, it seems like this is everyone these days, not just introverts. I think it has more to do with texting and emailing being shortcuts for our brains. I test as an extrovert and can’t stand when the phone rings. It sometimes can trigger an anger response in me. I could identify with all of the points.

  59. I’m not an introvert, and I suspect that the reason I (and most people who don’t like phones) REALLY don’t like phone calls is some of us really need to SEE the person we’re talking to. If I can’t see the speaker, not only do I miss words but I feel as if I’m blindly guessing what their actual meaning is. I’m missing all the body language and facial cues that tell me what the conversation is actually about. Humans and other great apes are not wolves or owls who are highly evolved to audially communicate at vast distances out of visual range. We’re social, troop-living primates who have binocular vision and focus on each other’s faces when we speak. We aren’t evolved to communicate at distance.

  60. This explains perfectly why I don’t own a cell phone. I leave the house to get AWAY from the phone. There’s a reasons Americans call them “cell” phones rather than “mobile” phones. They entrap you in a prison of expectation.

  61. I thought I was the only one! It took so many years for me to get over disliking the phone and avoiding using it in the workplace. I still dislike it at home, especially having to be on call all the darn time.

  62. Several people in my husband’s family struggle with this…my mother in law was also tone deaf, meaning she couldn’t discern the ups and downs of inflection. My in-laws and also my own children struggle with this, which for me, as a confident person, was unbelievable…finally I have come to understand the concept, if not the full range of emotions that my family deal with.

  63. After I got married I made my husband answer the phone. lol I do answer if he isn’t here(sometimes lol) but I hate it.

  64. Great article, it makes me think about how I deal with other forms of interruption as well, which is never easy for my introverted brain.
    Also I was taught (and I appreciate) the “let the phone ring twice before you answer it” rule. This doesn’t always jive with what people expect in the workplace (when you are answering customer calls) but it always made a lot of sense to me. Why would I answer the phone quickly and startle the person on the other end, who may not be mentally prepared to answer? But then I think this way because if I was the one calling I would appreciate that extra time, time that I would spend mentally psyching myself up to have the phone conversation.

    1. I absolutely agree. We are told to use the two ring rule at work for that very reason. Give people time to prepare themselves. It makes a big difference when you think of it in that way – at work people are calling, not because they want to but because they have to and knowing that makes it easier to give them time and space at the other end. Great point Deb!

  65. i’ve never felt guilty about it and i always reply via text in my own time. before text, i’d show up at someone’s house after i ignored their call or vm.
    if i answer the phone, say your thing, i’ll respond then we hang up. i can’t do verbal diarrhea with you.

  66. One thing I find useful is the ability to set different ringtones on the phone for different callers. For example, my wife only ever calls me if it’s really important so if I hear her ringtone I will answer if possible. (And she also understands that I don’t answer the phone while driving)

  67. Andy, I have read a few articles about the conflict of phone calls. However, your take on it has been the most beneficial for me. Reading this tonight has helped me tremendously. I really felt like a bad friend for not answering the phone. I’ve now come to a realization that I may be a better friend than I imagine, because I want to give my time in a genuine way. The invasive way a phone call interrupts my mind causes me to be an anxious communicator. I think it’s about time I stop feeling guilty because of a taught mannerism that doesn’t work for everyone.

  68. Yes! I’ve gone through the above reasoning in my head a million times. Thanks for writing it down for me. But the other part you didn’t mention is MAKING phone calls. It is supremely difficult for me to make a phone call. Most days, I can’t even make a call to make a doctor appointment. I have to be really really hurting to make that call. And it’s not about seeing doctors — once the appointment is made, the stress is over — it is totally about making the phone call.

    1. Spot on Francoise! I originally had a section about making calls (the other side of the terror) and it basically turned the article into a short book! Haha. I was going to do a separate article but forgot actually. Thanks for reminding me. I find SO much energy goes into making a call (it’s one of the things about receiving calls and missing them…feeling like you need to return them). I hate calling because you can’t see the other end. Do you find the relief of having made the call is a very sweet feeling?

  69. I know this is a very late post. I happened to stumble across your blog and I feel like you hit the nail right on the mark with me in regards to phones. I always right up to this day thought there was something seriously wrong with me not liking cellphones, Facebook, messaging. I think I have burned many friendship bridges unintentionally because of my lack of returning calls or answering emails/texts. But, I have come to realize that maybe it is not me after all. If these people are so uptight and uber sensitive about responding immediately to our phones ringing or returning a call/message, that speaks volumes about them! A true friend would understand and accept. I feel better! Thank you!

  70. I just found this post and it’s a breath of fresh air. I have always been like this and never understood why. I used to think I was an extrovert, but am starting to understand I actually have quite a few introverted tendencies. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become greatly introverted. It makes dating difficult as I notice men like to throw their number at you immediately or ask for yours and immediately call or expect to have a long phone conversation. Usually, I never answer/let it go to voicemail or take days to all back until I feel my mind is “clear” enough to focus on the person and the call.

    My aversion to the phone has always existed and gotten even greater as I’ve aged. I always feel better when a call is pre-arranged and even that takes me a couple of times to “get it right,” causing a reschedule until it works or I’m in the right space/mind space/mood. It all makes so much sense now!

  71. I am so glad to know that others share how I feel about this, I haven’t answered a phone call on my Mobile in weeks. I feel less intruded upon with the house phone, but that may be because only 3 people have the number and I know it won’t be some random intrusion. I also dread the unexpected call from friends asking “what are you upto on Sunday?” my answer to which is always a wary “Why”.
    I find I have to mentally prepare myself for call backs and am extremely relieved if I get an answer phone, but then at the same time dread the inevitable call back that this will end up in. Sigh…
    This isn’t a new thing for me, I’ve felt this way since I first bought a mobile phone in 1999 so most of my friends are pretty much aware of my phone intolerance now.
    I consider myself quite an adept socialiser but really do prefer it on my own terms, I’m pretty funny (or so I’m told quite a lot) but often feel exhausted afterwards and I certainly would never pick up a Non urgent phone call in the presence of others.

    1. oh that question, ‘what are you up to on Sunday?’ ‘Why?’ is a good response – I’m training myself with that. To remove the ‘not much, why?’ part. I’m with you there. The apt socialiser who hates answering and talking on the phone. There are many of us! Thanks, Frankie 🙂

  72. Thank-You. I too when I have to make a call go off in hiding. This has helped me, I have so much phone guilt for over 25 years now. It makes me giggle to read about you and know just what it’s like to take 2 weeks to work up the right space in my head to return a friendly call from my cousin. Yes, thanks again for writing this post!

  73. I am so glad I found this. People have gotten mad at me a lot as I have always hated talking on the phone. I never really knew why. I was always the person who wanted to hang up first or just arrange a time to meet up to talk rather than talk on the phone. I am what is titled an outgoing introvert (found that term recently too). It sure is nice to find a description of a trait you had that you thought made you weird and then come to find out that there are many others in the same boat. Comforting 🙂

  74. Not ONLY do I relate very strongly to this, I am DEAF. And believe it or not, there are people who KNOW this, but STILL get mad at me for not knowing when my phone is ringing, and not being able to hear them on it! Seriously!

  75. Not ONLY do I relatr very strongly to this, I am DEAF. And believe it or not, there are people who KNOW this, but STILL get mad at me for not knowing when my phone is ringing, and not being able to hear them on it! Seriously!

  76. Unless the person has something really important to say, I hate engaging in small talk. After the how are you, I have nothing to say. I don’t want to hear about their plumbing problems or what they had for dinner or what happened at the supermarket. A text or email is fine. I would not label myself as introverted, I hate small talk. I hate when people talk just to be talking. It literally irritates me when folks fill the void of silence with incessant talking about nothing.

  77. Love this article. Feel like I wrote it in my own mind a zillion times, but love that now others can read all about me from someone else’s perspective, and thereby, giving it credence so to speak. :). Thanks!

  78. Thank you so much for this post. It perfectly sums up why I get a headache while on the phone, even to my beloved.

  79. WOW! I dont feel so bad now. I really hate it when people try with everything they have to make me call or pick up the phone. They cant understand the fact that I hate the phone and I cant understand how they or anybody can sit on the phone for hours! I cant do it…….J

  80. I don’t like talking on the phone, especially with extroverts. They just ramble on and don’t say anything meaningful. Or they want to speak to you for 10 minutes and then hang up. Hell, that’s how long it takes me to prep my head, emotions and time to actually talk on the phone. So when I’m finally ready to talk, they want to hang up??? It makes me feel it’s all about them. Even worse, if I want to start talking about my feelings, wham! I feel their wanting to end the conversation abruptly as a rejection and it hurts. That’s why I don’t bother to talk on the phone.


  81. This past winter I was working on a project – painting a handmade gift
    (growth tree) for a soon to be one-year-old child of a friend. As I
    worked, I thought of the child and imagined what her life would be like.
    I also thought of the people in my family who have since died but at
    one time were sitting at a table making something for a soon to be
    one-year-old me. A friend rang me up and asked what I was doing. It was
    an innocuous enough topic, so I briefly described the project. My friend
    then proceeded to ask why I didn’t just go buy a yard stick? [It’s a
    gift.] “Okay, well why don’t you just go buy one already made from the store?’
    [Because it’s a gift.] “Well then, why don’t you go to a Name Brand
    craft store and get some really cute embellishments and paints to make
    it really nice?” [Why? Because that particular Name Brand store is over
    an hour from my home and because I spent $90 at my local craft store and
    just opened all the stuff so it’s NOT returnable.]

    When people
    call, I am at the mercy of their moods. This one phone call ruined that
    introspective communing I was doing inside my mind. I spent the rest of
    the day grousing over my friend’s thoughtless comments. It took me weeks
    to return to that gentle, creative place.

    There was no problem that needed to be fixed before the phone call.

    THIS is why I NO LONGER answer the phone unless I know it’s brief and all business.

    DO
    NOT CALL ME and don’t feel pouty because I don’t answer the phone.
    People who continue to call me are disrespecting me. There are plenty of
    other ways to communicate including a hand-written paper letter. Try
    that. I’ll respond in kind.

    1. Wow that sounds like a VERY frustrating and unhelpful call! It can be so disruptive and distracting to hear those kinds of things, when someone is telling you why everything you’re doing is wrong rather than encouraging and supporting you. You’re right when you say there was no problem before the phone call came in – it’s amazing how often we can find ourselves responding to fabricated issues like that. It’s not as easy as just ignoring what was said either because those kinds of words have a way of unsettling us and getting into our heads in a very niggley way.

      You’re right when you bring up the issue of respect too. Thanks for your comment – some very good and interesting points!

      1. I also cant understand why someone who knows I hate phone calls as much as a random knock at the door…will continue to call me versus text over the most trival things. One of my daughters does this and I definitely look at it as a sign of disrespect. Just like she would if the tables were turned. I don’t wear my phone AND I keep it on SILENT. I am not going to answer any call unlesd I think it could be an emergency…late night or while someone is traveling.
        The description of it feeling like an intrusion into my personal space and time is 100% accurate. I give to everyone, help everyone and am busy. Sometimes I like to just play hermit and be alone. As I bet most people do at one point or another.
        Respect your friends and family. Easy.

  82. Well written out thoughts. I also dread the phone, though my family seems
    to thrive on it and they don’t understand my reluctance to use it. My
    mom calls me up and asks, “So what are you doing?” This kind of small
    talk drives me nuts! and she has no idea why I put off picking up the phone or returning phone calls (though i dutifully do).

    Anyway, I like your 5 steps, I have figured out
    each one of these on my own as well. It’s just refreshing to know someone
    else is out there like me. The thing is, most people wouldn’t guess that I am an introvert, my family is so much
    extrovert that I feel that their outward persona to a great deal is what
    I show. But my true nature, my self inside, which is not easily revealed to
    the public, is very much introvert…

    thanks…

  83. Well written out thoughts. I also dread the phone, tough my family seems to thrilve on it and they don’t understand my reluctance to use it. My mom calls me up and asks, “So what are you doing.” This kind of small talk drives me nuts!
    Anyway, I like your 5 steps, I have figured out each one of these on my own as well, so it’s refreshing to know someone else is out there like me. it is nice to know that I am not alone. People wouldn’t guess that I am an introvert, my family is so much extrovert that I feel that their outward persona to a great deal is what I show. But my true nature, my self inside, and not easily revealed to the public, is very much introvert.

    1. Thank you for your comment. ‘What are you doing?’ is such a horrible question. I’m not sure I’ve ever answered it with anything other than ‘not much’. Haha.

      1. Yes, can’t stand the question “what are you doing?” …. lol. I realise now that it is often because I have NO conscious idea of what I’m doing at all. I have no “useful” or “acceptable” answer… I’m likely in a thought process or … who knows … and often even if I could scrape together some sort of answer, I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone anyway!

  84. Such a great, in-depth post and cool video! 🙂 I think my biggest issue with phone calls is the lack of control. I don’t like that I’m expected to answer a call any time it rings. *I* want to control when I’m ready to talk to someone. Plus all the other reasons you mentioned!

  85. What a lovely post. Thank you for expressing this so truthfully. I find that it is much harder to explain your hatred for the phone with people whom you have only just met. Especially, as I tend to meet people would have never have otherwise thought I was introverted as I am usually talkative and open in a face to face setting .

  86. You certainly nailed the reasons in this article. My close friends have come to realize I can be reached via a txt msg or email and am more than happy to connect in person. Even in person though I feel as though I have to do most of the talking with my quieter friend which is exhausting and somewhat uncomfortable. I sit on the middle line between extroversion/introversion and can switch to either side with ease most times.

    One pet peeve is when you send a well written and easy to follow email to a phone person who can’t be bothered writing back and asks you to call them. I find this makes me cringe to no end – angry in fact. When dealing with other professionals I encounter this non stop. I completely and utterly despise phones and so far have managed to train many people at work to email me due to the speed of either a phone (slow) or email (fast) response, but ‘new’ people or execs are quite irritating.

    Even my mom and I email each other haha.

    1. Yes yes yes! Your pet peeve is is something that also bothers me. A succinct point by point email is more often than not a LOT easier to respond to than a phonecall – because it all ends up in writing as well. My parents and I communicate by email too, haha that’s reassuring, thanks 🙂

  87. Thank you for sharing and putting into words, how I feel. I didn’t have the language or understanding to know these truths about myself. Now I feel better knowing there are others….

  88. Nice to know there are others like me. Everyone else in my life are hurt or angry with me because I avoid calling them up to chat. They all love to spend hours on the phone. I feel more comfortable talking in person or sending an email.

    1. Hi, the same for me. My friends start to ignore me because I am not participating in group chats all the time and most of the do not answer any call! how do you deal with it? because sometimes I feel I will end up with being lonely, as 90% people around us are just like that!

  89. THIS. everything about this is so me. thank you for posting. most people in my life just don’t get this about me!

  90. Loved this. I often feel guilty for not answering my phone but your take on it is great and I agree! Thanks for writing

  91. i never thought of myself as an introvert. but i am 58 now, and the older i get the less use i have for small talk and especially PHONES. I can relate to every single thing you said, and I have been wondering what is wrong with me. I can get in front of a group of people and talk, (I am a trainer)…but I avoid talking on the phone ALL THE TIME. I have a friend who likes to call and I have been honest with her and told her that if I dont answer, I will get back to her….then MUCH later, I do. I love that you wrote this, it makes a difference knowing that I am not all alone in my frustration each time the phone rings. (as for phones, I am still not understanding the people who have them connected to their heads at all times….I just dont understand it)

    1. Hi Nell. Thanks so much for stopping by, and for subscribing to the email list. It’s interesting, since writing this post I have wondered whether it is simply an introvert thing or there is more to it. There are lots of extroverted people who also struggle with the phone in some of the ways I (and you) describe. It’s just a weird device! I’m so glad that I was able to help you feel a little less alone in your feelings towards it. It would appear that there are a great great many who are with us! 🙂

  92. I also feel this way about the phone, and I am sometimes paralyzed by the need to call others because I find the experience so intrusive. I love email and Facebook messaging! I have tried to explain this to my posse, but they have a hard time believing I am introverted because when I am with others, I am on stage. But that means when I’m not with others, I am, as you put it, recovering from being with others. Yes, don’t call me. Text, email, Facebook. I’ll answer. I have a cousin who is the exact opposite, but she has come to realize that I won’t answer the phone, but I will call back, and when I do, I will be totally hers for as long as she wants. I also tend to play computer solitaire while on the phone, also as you point out, a distraction for the anxious part of my brain that can’t focus without the person present. So thank you for sharing this.!

    1. I can so relate to being “on stage” when with others, I have fun with people and make everyone laugh but I need a day afterwards to recover and then I can interact with others. I have a friend who I finally got the nerve to call, we had a conversation and then she said, Ok, let’s talk tomorrow! I’m like tomorrow! I just gave you everything I had! Lol

    2. Yes, I am exactly the same! I can be very lively in a group of people, and I love to act on stage. But like a lot of actors, I am also shy. I also am a writer, so I love to communicate by writing, but some people just won’t do that!

  93. These points all resonate to some degree with this introvert. I much prefer hanging out in person, chatting via IM/chat/e-mail and texting. Mostly because I am just NOT a good verbal communicator – I love listening to those folks who are just so beautifully eloquent in their everyday speech, while me, I feel like an unintelligible, long-winded numpty. Because I don’t have the time to prepare and reflect that other forms of communication allow. I shutter to think of how I survived my year of call center employment – talk about the wrong line of work. Great article!

    1. Yeah I can relate to that! I bet however that you are a better communicator than you think you are. Stuff seems so jumbled and unintelligible when it’s coming out and it’s mixed with over-thinking and a messy mind. But actually for those simply hearing what you SAY rather than ALL the noise in your brain it is probably a lot clearer and more intelligible than you think! I get a very mushy mind when I talk, especially over the phone. The requirement for constant audio feedback and the need to fill the silence is unique to that context – you never have that when you’re hanging out in person with people you feel comfortable.

      I love the fact you worked at a call center. That’s great. So did I! As a challenge for myself. Haha. Never again. 🙂 Thanks for getting in touch!

  94. What a society No phone talking, no letter writing, no visiting, then people wonder why many are so depressed. Wonder how many would rather masturbate because it is too much of a bother to “fool with someone else”. Humm…it does fit the detachment mode of today’s world.

  95. I thought I was the only weirdo. I may not be an introvert, but I hate answering the phone. It is VERY intrusive and therefore RUDE to make an unexpected phone call. There’s email and text. I even recorded a personal greeting saying to text me or email me but people still leave a message and expect me to call???? Some people say with text and email you go back and forth, really? When I return your intrusive call, then YOU don’t answer (of course… you are now busy, just like I was when you called), so then we are just going back and forth making unplanned intrusive calls. PEOPLE: don’t call me!!!!!!!! I will talk to you in PERSON when we both have the time and desire to meet, but in the mean time use email and text.

    1. Thanks Marlene. The more I speak to people about this the more I realise it is NOT simply an issue of temperament. There are both introverts and extraverts who have issues with the phone, and you just support this! I know exactly what you mean with those voice messages. I have a friend who leaves great messages. He never sounds annoyed to have not got me in person and never says ‘call back’, he says ‘get back to me if you get chance, but don’t worry I’ll try again at about the same time in two days’. Love that because it gives me an opportunity to respond but zero pressure.

  96. Thank you very much for this blog post. I’ve found that phone can be so stressful to me.

    I have this problem with my father. He always calls me during my “off times” and I don’t pick up. Then, there’s a problem. Why won’t you answer your phone?

    Because I hate the phone!! He will stubbornly persue me with a deluge of phone calls which makes me stressed out. I will need to set up some texting policy with him. Other people text me all the time and I’m perfectly fine with that.

    Cheers!

    1. Thanks Rafal. I’m glad you can identify. I know lots of people who have moments of strain in relationships because of this. And as you say, there is little worse than the deluge of missed calls that come through, as if somehow relentlessly battering you round the head will make you happy to pick up. I like to encourage people to leave a voicemail if it is urgent/something I need to get back to them on, otherwise a text is great. Even a text to say ‘would there be a good time to call for a chat?’ is nice because it gives me chance to get into the right headspace.

      Thanks for your thoughts! Hope you can sort out some policy with your Dad 🙂

    2. Yes, the “deluge” of phone calls will seriously drive me mad and stress me out for days. It starts with the moronic two phone calls on a row. Listen if I didn’t answer the first, I’m either not there or not able /willing to answer…the second one in less than two minutes won’t change either of this. If you then proceed to a barrage of phone calls during the next hours /days, I will just stress outout exponentialwith each call until I refuse all communication and just dream /imagine the drowning of my own phone…

      There’s a “golden rule”.two phone calls max , spaced out a couple of hours, and an sms with a chat reason/ request /question. Anything else above this will be seriously counter productive.

  97. I too am an introvert but I do not share the author’s perspective. In truth, this article makes introverts sound self-absorbed. I understand needing time away from people but I sacrifice for those who matter to me knowing that they make sacrifices on my behalf. And time is one of the most important things that we have to offer. I don’t take every call but I do return calls in a timely manner especially if a voice message was left that let me know that the caller needed to hear back soon. Someone calling me is not generally seen as disruptive but as someone else making time for me or wanting to share their time with me.

    1. Well, that’s nice for you, but when you are up a ladder trying to paint a tricky corner do you REALLY want to hear the telephone ring, and ring, and ring? I sure don’t.

  98. Staring at the sky, the train rails, other random people, out of the window…
    Can’t see a smile, smell or touch the person. Can’t see the clothes or see their tears. Why hide?
    WHY do we use the telephone?? I like to bang on people’s doors.
    Not too lazy to visit someone’s desk on any floor of and office, or another town!!

    If you ride a bike, is it to put in less effort, ambling, to get to the same destination and time,
    or do you like to add the grind and get there much sooner?

  99. I am so glad to stumble over this page. This issue has reigned my life for a decade. The phone is a child’s toy to me. My profession has me locked out, needing to please a bullying, simpleton Receptionist to proceed. The basic psychologist’s tools of “Hello!!, Hello!! How are YOU!!?? I want to find out all about you” reaches further into the soul, when the majority hide their own identity, with no area code, while providing one slightly validates their approach, while they refuse to introduce themselves. I wish I never published myself this way. Every caller builds a judging profile of me and shares this with all other firms… ho, ho, hooo, hooo, and tee,tee, tee,tee,tee between them all. The games of a land line call and then immediately the same hidden or revealed call ID with a ‘mo bile’ will allow their scrutiny to decide if I am not there, lazy, asleep, or any other verdict. Repeatedly asked what my name is, “who’s there…?” as they are easily mislead by a common “…after the tone” outgoing, after years of attempts at a more deliberate “eMAIL ME” or any delightful hospitality I can come up with. Most of the attention-grabbing slobs slavering all over their special best friend, their shiny telephone. I need eyes. Firm Handshake. Appearance. We have video calls, and I want premium quality sound from my floor standing speakers and don’t ever want to hear a tiny squeak from a piece of plastic shoved into my ear any more. Handsfree in a room The cheap compression filters to make network less costly for suppliers. The beckoning puppetry has changed my mental balance upside-down like and inverted hourglass. We are humans with the primary sense of vision. The dreary old-fashioned luxury of remote speech has no place today. I do like the mockery of candlestick equipment needing a dialler to spin ’em to strong the number together. I like the thought of the handset connected by metal coiled equivalent of a shower in the old telephone kiosk booth. Tools and hardware are less important as the fake conduction of any telemarketer to make someone buy a service. The call centre hub with a selected list to attack victims to judge their immediate response to judge them as unworthy

    My patience is now lost. I had an excellent phone manner years before. The bombardment has lost my sense of myself. My usual response, after a long time of ignored calls gets me into an inflated ball of fury & rage. This initially developed because I tried to mimic the shouters and screamers pushing me into a corner by their offensive manner. I tried to copy to please, or assertively question their tactics

    We used to write and read letters
    There is no information in a phone call!!! A dog’s bark.
    Spelling out email, postal address, birthdate and phone call ‘over’ the phone?
    We have screens and paper with ink.

    The telephone is for the gay show business people who are blind
    Humans are evolving backwards to caves ONLY due to the overselling of the glamourous vertical market for the teenager

  100. I am so glad to stumble over this page. This issue has reigned my life for a decade. The phone is a child’s toy to me. My profession has me locked out, needing to please a bullying, simpleton Receptionist to proceed. The basic psychologist’s tools of “Hello!!, Hello!! How are YOU!!?? I want to find out all about you” reaches further into the soul, when the majority hide their own identity, with no area code, while providing one slightly validates their approach, while they refuse to introduce themselves. I wish I never published myself this way. Every caller builds a judging profile of me and shares this with all other firms… ho, ho, hooo, hooo, and tee,tee, tee,tee,tee between them all. The games of a land line call and then immediately the same hidden or revealed call ID with a ‘mo bile’ will allow their scrutiny to decide if I am not there, lazy, asleep, clearly at home, refusing passively or repeated cancelled calls as they keep up the invasive torture of Chinese burns or water drips reaching any other verdict. Repeatedly asked what my name is, “who’s there…?” as they are easily mislead by a common “…after the tone” outgoing, after years of attempts at a more deliberate “eMAIL ME” or any delightful hospitality I can come up with. Assuming I am in an office or at home where everyone else answers my phones. By declaring that nobody ever touches my phone would lead to alternative judgement. Most of the attention-grabbing slobs slavering all over their special best friend, their shiny telephone. I need eyes. Firm Handshake. Appearance. We have video calls, and I want premium quality sound from my floor standing speakers and don’t ever want to hear a tiny squeak from a piece of plastic shoved into my ear any more. The cheap compression filters to make network less costly for suppliers. The beckoning puppetry has changed my mental balance upside-down like and inverted hourglass. We are humans with the primary sense of vision. The dreary old-fashioned luxury of remote speech has no place today. I do like the mockery of candlestick equipment needing a dialler to spin ’em to strong the number together. I like the thought of the handset connected by metal coiled equivalent of a shower in the old telephone kiosk booth. Tools and hardware are less important as the fake conduction of any telemarketer to make someone buy a service. The call centre hub with a selected list to attack victims to judge their immediate response to judge them as unworthy

    My patience is now lost. I had an excellent phone manner years before. The bombardment has lost my sense of myself. My usual response, after a long time of ignored calls gets me into an inflated ball of fury & rage. This initially developed because I tried to mimic the shouters and screamers pushing me into a corner by their offensive manner. I tried to copy to please, or assertively question their tactics

  101. When I have to be with people, I often find myself needing to recover from being with people. As for the telephone, not being able to rely on visual and environmental cues, I must stop everything I’m doing and be completely still in order to listen to the person on the phone. There is no way I could dry dishes or pace or fold laundry. If I misunderstand something another person says, that is much worse than the awkward silence. For hours after a phone conversation, it will replay in my head. Any gaffe will be replayed as well making for a miserable day. Please don’t call. Let’s meet in person, instead.

  102. This blog post was linked to me by a friend who noticed that I don’t take phone calls unless he’d send me a message to inform that he’s going to call. And I can’t even count the times when I’d intentionally wait for a person to hang up then get back at him through a text message. It’s not because I dislike talking to others, it’s just that having the phone as a medium makes it uncomfortable to me.

    Thank you for sharing this! This At least I know that I am not alone. 🙂

  103. I agreed with you for the first part. The immediacy and expectations of a phone call can be obnoxious. But, I also feel that you should try to take interest in other people. When you are interested in their well-being, you will not feel the need to fidget, do laundry, or other tasks. you will be focused on THEM. Many ‘introverts’ are really just ‘selfish’

    1. Hi, thanks for stopping by and commenting! Sorry, I don’t think I made the point very well with that second bit. I care deeply about many people in my life and absolutely love catching up with them and where they’re at – connecting with others is the very essence of life itself. The need to occupy my mind while talking on the phone is not about being disinterested, it’s about keeping my head busy so that I can better engage with the conversation and come up with things to say and ask. It’s quite hard to explain, but if I’m doing nothing I will end up thinking a lot more, and there will be a lot more silence, as there is in face to face contact. I hope that makes sense.

      1. To say nothing of the fact that if you CAN get two things done at the same time, why not? I am *constantly* ‘dual-tasking’: I telephone and Skype while ironing, washing up, sweeping the floor, sewing on a button, feeding my dog — and walking her. There just isn’t enough time in the day to give ALL your time and resources to a phone conversation that just doesn’t require it. (When I had to smoothe the feathers of my mother-in-law, I did give that my total attention!)

        And I agree that the telephone — like the doorbell, actually — is VERY intrusive. I don’t especially like to take calls apart from those of my husband, and I don’t like to make them much these days, either. I’m aware that I’m asking someone else to stop what she or he is doing and make me the most important thing at that moment. Which is rather arrogant, really. So unless it’s a front-desk receptionist I’m calling, I always ask ‘is this a good time to call?’ before I launch in on my subject. E-mail is much better, or, with my elderly grandparents that don’t have the Internet, old-fashioned cards and letters.

    2. No, they are not being ‘selfish’ they are being ‘INTROVERTS’. There’s nothing selfish about wanting time away from people. You are not entitled to other people’s time or attention, and no one is obligated to drop everything and focus on YOU just because you managed to mash a bunch of numbers on a keypad. It’s ironic that you refer to introverts as ‘selfish’ considered the self-involved and self-important tone of your post. Maybe someday you will grow up and realize that there are all kinds of different people in this world, and that “different” doesn’t mean “wrong”.

  104. I love the phone ! However , I recently connected with an old friend I grew up with . He is an introvert and hates the phone. It has been a consent source of discourse between us . Until recently , I did not understand just how much he is ” wired ” to be the opposite of me . I am glad I read this and will continue to try and learn as much as I can about introverts . Sadly , it is too late for my friend and I as the misunderstanding between us became too much for either of us to deal with .
    Knowledge is power … no matter if you are an extrovert or an introvert…

    1. Wow, that’s a powerful story. It’s such a shame that it has led that far. It’s really hard when we try to get into the head of the opposite kind of temperament/character. And the phone thing really is one of those issues that divides people but no one really talks about because it’s just such a normal part of everyday life. It sounds like you’re doing great at getting into the mind of others. The biggest part of why I write about this sort of stuff isn’t to justify myself but to understand, help others understand, and ultimately work out how we can compromise with those who think differently, reaching a shared understanding of one another.

      Thanks so much for sharing. I hope there hasn’t been too much hurt between you and your friend. 🙁

  105. Wow, I relate so much. I usually keep my ringer off and when I look at my phone (ie, I am prepared for the possibility someone wants to communicate with me) and see someone has called me I text them and ask what they want. I actually enjoy phone conversations and can spend hours talking to my out-of-state friends that I don’t get a chance to see but they know to make plans with me about the day and time of the call. And I ALWAYS pace about the house when I talk.

    The “free” thing, too – what a good explanation. I’ve gotten quite cross with people for not coming out and saying what they’re inviting me to.

    1. Thanks very much! Glad you could relate. That is a solid good technique. I’m the same, once I get going with a conversation it can last a long time and I enjoy that. Haha I’m glad pacing is not just me!

      I find that really frustrating. When I hear that question, ‘what are you up to tomorrow night?’ it makes me tighten up. I must admit that I’ve caught myself asking the same thing of other people on occasion, and since realising how much it annoys me I’ve tried picking myself up on it haha!

  106. This is 100% me! Thank you! It’s nice to finally feel understood, even if no one I know will ever understand. At least someone does. I shared this on facebook. I can only hope every single one of my friends and family reads this and gets it. 🙂 You really made my day!

    1. Thanks, Heather! It’s a difficult one isn’t it. There are many people who simply can’t relate at all! It either makes sense or it doesn’t, I’m just glad that I can reassure people that it is a normal thing to feel! Thanks for sharing it too, much appreciated! Thanks for all your encouragement 🙂

      1. I thought I was alone, I really hate the phone in general everything you described is me in a nutshell, phones actually make me stressed out for many reasons thank you .

      2. I really wish it is that easy to pre arrange calls no one ever does that >.> In the perfect world yes for sure, I notice your pretty handy with art I am to and exactly the same with phones in general, I always get this uneasy in my stomach when the phone rings almost like I am terrified of it and I don’t know why this helps .

        1. I second this. I always get this rush of anxiety-like feeling in my stomach when the phone rings.

  107. Yes yes Andy. I totally relate. I’ll just give you a random call sometime next weekend to ramble on about how much we have in common… 🙂 I will add a point: I especially hate about the phone its ability to make people repeat themselves. How many times do phone conversations end before they end? It is amazing and drives me nuts.

    1. Great, Jamie, thanks! Sorry I only just saw these comments. The article got traction this week and came back to my inbox! Totally with you on the end of conversations. It’s incredible how often that happens. You just go round in circles trying to draw it together. Without body language it’s made harder.

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