Phone calls: my personal neurosis

Tell me if I’m weird.  I hate to make phone calls.  I don’t mean “hate” as in dislike.  I mean it gives me butterflies in my stomach, like when I arrived at the dentist to have my wisdom teeth pulled.  Like when I got pulled over that time I was speeding, and knew it.  Like when the excitement of a new pregnancy has worn off and I realize that I have to go through labor again before I get to meet the kid.

I hate to make phone calls.  My kids hate leaving voicemail, but I breathe a sigh of relief if I make it past the 4th ring.  It’s my Get Out Of Jail Free card.  I made the call and didn’t have to do the conversation.  Now the ball is in their court, and when we talk it will be because they called me instead of vice versa.  I’m fine with that, and I have no idea why.

Well, maybe I do have an idea.  I’m just guessing, but I think it’s because I’m naturally a quiet person.  I don’t do well at keeping up my half of a conversation, and if I’m the one who made the call I feel that the burden is on me to manage the entire call: the introduction (how have you been lately?  how did that thing work out?), the business (why did I really call you today?), the post-business chit chat (now what do I say???), the graceful exit (umm…I see blood, smell smoke, and hear screams. gotta go.)

If I call you, I have to do all this, don’t I?  Isn’t that how it works?  Do other quiet people understand what I’m feeling?  Do talkative people think I’m off my rocker?


  1. I’ve been meaning to add my “Amen!” to this post for a while now. I’m the exact same way: I love for friends to call me but avoid placing phone calls myself whenever possible. Am I overly considerate or overly selfish? An inquiring mind wants to know!

  2. I loved reading this! I am very much the same way. I despise talking on the phone. I don’t know why it makes me so nervous but I might as well dose up on Rescue Remedy before dialing, because it just makes me SOOOO uncomfortable!!

  3. Ah yes, I hate the phone call too. I never know what to say or when or how to end the call. Can I just email you?

    My husband MAKES me talk to family. And MAKES me call our daughter. WHY? I mean, she can read, right? I mean, she’s 20, after all.

  4. I completely agree. It’s crazy the things we just haven’t done because I didn’t want to make the phone call.
    What helps me is to rehearse what I need to say as well as a few possible outcomes.

  5. That’s why I like computers. I don’t have to talk. 😀

  6. Lisa Beth W. says:

    Well, most people here have come at it from your angle, but you did ask whether talkative people think you’re off your rocker. 🙂 I’m talkative, I think, but I don’t think you’re off your rocker. I can see where you would think that you have to lead the conversation b/c you called and initiated it, but for me, it would depend whom I am calling. I have a good number of friends who would gladly do the leading for me, and I generally let them do it if they seem inclined. And with those who aren’t so inclined, I just make it short and sweet unless there is something else I’d like to say or ask them about. I like to pretend that the person on the other end of the phone is feeling more awkward than me if I have any leanings that way before making a call.

    Heh, all that said, I generally like email for non-essential or non-immediate things, b/c then people can read and respond in their own time.

    And as for people worrying about what they’re interrupting if they call someone, I have two things to say:

    1) It was that person’s choice to have a telephone in the first place, and they have to know that people aren’t able to see into their homes to see if they’re interrupting something. Why worry?

    2) The person you are calling has a choice in whether or not to answer the phone. If they choose to answer it, why worry?

  7. That’s exactly how I feel! I hate making phone calls too, but I don’t mind so much if someone calls me. I’m rather shy, and the thought of calling anyone on the phone (except for a few exceptions – family, our neighbors who we’ve known most of my life). E-mail is MUCH easier for me. Talking in person isn’t too bad either most of the time, It used to be much worse, but it’s not quite so scary as it used to be. 🙂

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels like that about phone calls. 🙂

  8. THANK YOU I detest making phone calls, to the extent that some important things to this day remain undone, which should have been done. I am eternally thankful for email 🙂

  9. freida says:

    I remember telling my sister that when I leave my parents home, I won’t get a phone. I did end up getting one, but still barely use it. I think there’s something strange about talking on a machine to another person. Except for my family. Reading the comments about others who also don’t like talking on the phone except with their husbands makes me very thankful that God gave us our own husbands to love and talk to. I think one of the saddest things must be in not being able to talk to one’s husband. I am also very grateful God gave us writing to express ourselves. Email is one of the best inventions, I think. It’s funny that I now write many more emails than I call with my phone. I never knew how helpful my iPhone would be. I do try to call my mother once a week to honor her.

  10. Angela says:

    I have a friend who has to call me twice-once to see if I answer, if I do, then we talk. But if I don’t answer she can’t just leave message on whim, she must think about it, prepare herself and call back. It cracks me up. I bet she knows just how you feel.

  11. Darleen says:

    Maybe why telemarketers (before prerecorded messages) were paid so well!

  12. I feel like that too and I am a quiet person. I have to rehearse what I am going to say before I do the call.

  13. Muffy Stephenson says:

    I was very talkative until we lost our 8th little one at birth.After a traumatic birth he was stillborn.Anyways,after this experience I became quiet and reserved and still hate to call anyone outside of my family and don’t like to call some in my family,HAH!! Its been three years now and I don’t know if I will ever return to the other way.Oh well,glad I like me and my family likes me.One nice thing is I really have learned a lot since I am quiet as I listen a lot more than before.

  14. I’m not the only one??? Wow! It makes me feel better because you seem so clever and witty. I am NOT. I feel socially awkward, especially on the phone.

  15. Stephanie says:

    When I read this to my hubs, he asked if I wrote it, since it sounds like me.

    It’s not that I don’t like phone calls it just that usually the person who calls, thinks they are listening to cage fighting in the background when it’s simply the children playing. They then feel obligated to end the phone call.

    Also, most conversations have at least 37 “Can you hold on for just a minute?” leaving the person on the other line feeling forgetful of why the called me in the first place. 🙂

  16. Cindy in GA says:

    I absolutely could have written this post myself!! (glad I’m not alone! 🙂 ) It only bothers me that it means I don’t keep up with my dad and sisters very well. They’re not phone callers, either, and we live in different states. 🙁

  17. Wow! I always thought I was the only one who hated phone calls so much. I only really like talking on the phone to my Mom, mother-in-law, one of my sisters, my sister-in-law, and my husband. I have a few friends whom I adore and will talk to on the phone because in-person isn’t an option, but I just really don’t like talking on the phone. I know lots of people knock Facebook because of how impersonal it is, but it really helps me to keep in contact with people that I probably wouldn’t otherwise because of my phone aversion, and I am so grateful for it!

  18. Jennifer says:

    I hate making phone calls too!

    I feel like all of you who don’t like calling for pizza delivery should know that Dominos has an internet order option! And the best part is after you order, they put in where they are, on a tracker. So you can leave the page up and it will say “so and so is preparing your pizza”, “your pizza is in the oven”, “your pizza is en route”, so you know how close it is to getting to you.

Don't just think it: say it!

%d bloggers like this: