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Call Me! (or don’t, really)

Source: Flickr user Andrew Magill

I started thinking about this topic because of a friend’s blog post earlier this week about her new mobile phone. She mentioned that she much prefers email and text to talking on the phone, and then a discussion proceeded in the comments about whether that was a good thing or a bad thing. And in voicing my own opinions, I formulated a fascinating hypothesis that I would love to test here if you guys will let me know your thoughts. I think that extroverts – meaning people who naturally gain their energy and enthusiasm from being around other people – actually like talking on the phone. And I think that introverts – people who get their energy from being alone and are drained when they spend a lot of time with others – dislike talking on the phone.

Let’s look at my own personal life examples. I am a list-maker and a planner, and I am very introverted. I’m not necessarily shy; I have friends and I enjoy spending time with them, but I really prefer to have my social time scheduled. I feel exhausted after a night out with other people, and I need the next day to re-charge. And because I’m a planner, I don’t like being interrupted or very spontaneous (unless I’d planned to be spontaneous for something – planned spontaneity ho!). I’d adjust if a friend showed up unexpectedly on my doorstep for a weekend and probably end up having a great time, but I’d be annoyed and uncomfortable right at first rather than delighted. I similarly feel a little annoyed if I get a phone call from anyone when I’m not expecting it, because it interrupts my life plans for that moment. If I take the call and chat with a friend a bit, I’m usually glad I talked to them because I love my pals, but it does often annoy me just at the first. I have a planned, scheduled weekly call with my mom, and that doesn’t bother me in the least – because I like talking to my mom and it’s part of the schedule. Texts and emails don’t have the same effect on me because I can answer them right that second or later, whenever suits. And I don’t think any of this is either good or bad – it’s just who I am and what my gut instincts are.

On the other hand, my very best girlfriend in the whole wide world is a classic extrovert. She loves to talk to her friends and family, to visit them in person, and she is not particularly a fan of being alone. She and I were roommates for years, and we know that we are different in this regard. Living with her was really good for me, I think, because she pulled me out of my hermit ways a bit and forced me to interact with other people – and I always enjoyed myself when I did. I am going to admit here publicly that sometimes when she calls and I’m in the middle of something, it annoys me. And I’m embarrassed to say that sometimes my annoyance comes through in my voice – and I hate that about myself, because I don’t have any desire to hurt her feelings or make her feel bad, and I know I do sometimes. If I take just a few minutes to talk to her, I am always glad that I did. But that initial gut instinct is aggravation – not at her in particular, but just at the fact that the phone is ringing and I’m doing something else. She, on the other hand, almost always answers the phone with delight, thrilled that she’s getting the chance to talk to someone she likes and wishes she could see more often. And if she has a quick question or bit of news to share or is even just bored or thinking of you, she’d rather call or visit than anything else (not that she doesn’t text or email; she definitely does that too!). Again, not good or bad – it’s just the way she is. It kind of fascinates me, actually, because I’m so not like that.

The conversation in the comments on my friend’s blog bore out my hypothesis about introverts and extroverts, but clearly I need more data. What do you think? Am I right? Or are you an introvert who loves the phone or an extrovert who hates it?

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5 thoughts on “Call Me! (or don’t, really)

  1. I am totally on board with the introvert theory.

    This weekend, my sister called, and my remark upon hearing the phone ring was “what now?!?!?” Not because she was calling for the 12th time or that I didn’t want to talk to her, just that I hate talking on the phone, period. As does she, but she has limited email access and no texting. :/

    I would also classify her as an introvert. She’s good at speaking to people and does so for her job, but she would prefer not to. That goes for Mom, too. I go for months without talking to Mom and Dad because we both hate the whole ordeal of phoning. When we get together we have good conversations, but everything on the phone is awkward and weird and unpleasant.

    It’s both a dislike and a phobia for me. It’s been a month and I still have not called to make an appointment at a new doctor’s office because it’s new and strange people and I’m SCARED. Also, I keep forgetting, remembering, and the finding some convenient reason to put it off again because I’m a chicken. 🙂

    1. I put calls off too, especially dr’s offices and hair appointments and the like. Not really because I’m scared – I definitely don’t have a phobia – but I don’t like to call people either. 🙂

      1. I love your theory and wish to subscribe to your newsletter! Oh wait I already subscribe to our newsletter- or its more modern counterpart! 🙂 Both my husband and I are introverts. This surprises many people about me- I’ve always had to be around a lot of people because of work and growing up as a preacher’s kid. I get worn out by it- just as you do. I much prefer to spend my time reading or sitting on my own couch! Now that I have a kid who’s with me almost all the time I ejoy talking on the phone even less. She will always interrupt or need something, so the call is just more difficult. I put different ringtones on my cell for different people and I almost never answer the phone unless I’m planning on a call from that person! I do call when I get alone time- rare as that is. I also HATE to be passed of to another person who is not the person I called to speak with. My mom does this to me often, passing me off to anyone visiting. Ugh! Does tis drive you nuts too? My husband also agrees he hates talking on the phone too. My mom, an extrovert, is on the phone for hours every day. Yep, I think you have something here!

  2. I agree with your theory too. Most people think I’m an extrovert, but I’ve become much more introverted in the past decade or so. It used to be, when the phone rang, I got excited, but now I see it as an intrusion until I figure out who’s calling and if I want to talk to them.

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