I am an introvert, and I’ll tell you a fact about me that doesn’t seem to change over time: I hate talking on the phone.
Most calls that happen these days seem to be spam and scam callers, but even people I know and love, I have to think hard and fast about whether or not I’m going to screen the call or simply text them instead.
It’s not a matter of disrespecting the other person, and it doesn’t stem from disliking them either. Introverts just kind of hate talking on the phone. There’s so much lacking in a phone call that you can get from direct contact. If you’re planning to call an introvert, ask yourself: could this be summarized in a text? If so, just text.
Here are 5 reasons that introverts can’t stand being on the phone.
1. Lack of facial expressions or body language.
Introverts tend to use their senses to empathize with the person they’re speaking to. They want to feel what you’re feeling! That can be extraordinarily difficult over the telephone. There’s no facial expressions or body language to try and read. In the absence of those two things, tone of voice is all we have to go on, and that’s often pretty insufficient.
Texting also lacks this, which makes lengthy texting conversations difficult to navigate. It’s better for us to meet up face to face and talk if possible!
2. No time allotted for it.
I, and a lot of people who are introverted like me, tend to manage our time pretty rigidly. If we have something planned for the period of time which we’re called, there is a real chance we’re going to blow off the call and stick to our plans. If you plan to call your introverted friend, give them a heads up a few hours before! This helps us carve out the time needed for a phone call.
3. There’s no agenda.
So on top of wanting to carve out the proper amount of time for a call, I like to know what the call’s going to be about ahead of time. Just want to catch up? Awesome. Want to talk to me about your new business venture? Would love to hear about it. Just let me know what you have that you’d like to talk about. That’ll allow me to get in the necessary headspace to be a little bit more receptive to the topic of conversation.
4. There’s too much small talk.
Introverts like me tend to have a strong aversion to small talk, and that’s a lot of what you get when you receive an unexpected phone call. Speaking for myself, I know I would much rather jump right into the meat of the conversation and get the hell off the phone than talk about the weather or how our grandmas are doing.
If you’re planning to buzz your introverted friend, have a plan in mind for what it is that you want to talk about. Push past the usual pleasantries and cut right to the heart of the reason for the call. Then for God’s sake, don’t linger on the line. Cut the poor introvert loose!
5. There’s no exit strategy.
Nothing kills me more than a call that just seems to drag on and on and on. Two hours in and I’m about ready to throw myself off a bridge. A good call with an introvert should come with an exit strategy, a rough end time. When an introvert initiates the end of a call, it can feel a little bit jarring and abrupt. If you’re calling your introverted friend, know when to hang up!
Of course, I’ve been framing this as though introverts are these antisocial people that don’t want to talk.
We do! There are just some things we need from you in order to be good phone people. And there are things we can do to be better phone people as well.
If you’ve got a call coming up, make the time for it, have a plan for getting into and out of the call, and maybe even reward yourself for being a social phone talking person. You can also choose to not answer the phone if you’re really not feeling it. Silence your ringer and text back anyone who calls you while it’s off! Even if you miss a call, that’s ok. I doubt anyone will be mad at you.