General Question

rockfan's avatar

I find it extremely awkward to talk on the phone, especially when it's a social call. Anyone else feel the same way?

Asked by rockfan (14627points) March 22nd, 2013 from iPhone

For example, when my relatives (outside my immediate family) send me birthday presents and I need to thank them, it takes me hours to initiate the phone call. But when I need to call businesses and ask a question, I have no problem talking on the phone. Does anyone else experience this?

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29 Answers

tom_g's avatar

I find telephone communication overall to be a very awkward experience. The lack of visual non-verbal feedback isn’t there, and I’m left floating – imagining what the person on the other end of the phone is doing. I can’t interpret intent behind the words. I avoid telephone communication when possible.

The strange thing is that while I prefer in-person conversation with someone, my second choice is email.

thorninmud's avatar

“Small talk” really doesn’t come easily to me, and the kind of call you’re describing inevitably leaves me gasping for stuff to keep the conversation from dying a premature death. It would be lovely to just be able to say, “Thank you so much for _____! I really don’t have anything else to say. Love you, Bye!”.

ucme's avatar

I used to be very nervous when on the phone, i’d breathe quite heavily which made me wonder if those I were speaking with thought I was some kind of perverted caller…yeah right, as if.
That was a long time ago though & i’m perfectly comfortable with phone usage now.

syz's avatar

Oh, I’ve always hated talking on the phone. As a teen, my peers would spend hours on the phone, but I never got it. And all the people walking aroundnow with cell phones attached permanently to their ears? In check-out lines? In the bathroom? What the hell do they have to talk about?!? And why is it so important that it can’t wait three minutes?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@rockfan fluther taught me this one.This is a one dimensional form of communication. It’s just printed words. I can’t get any sense of the humor or other emotions the other person is feeling. I can’t hear their laughter or sense what they’re feeling. I communicate in so many ways other than printed words. The phone is better than email or fluther. I like skype even better. I can see them and interact so much more. Although they have to put up with my looks. :)

picante's avatar

The thought of having to engage in a phone conversation on a purely social level is terrifying to me. I’m simply terrible at small talk.

This disability of mine has put me at odds with a long-time friend who prefers talking by phone. I shamefully admit that I’ve avoided answering the phone on a number of occasions when I see her name on caller ID. I’m flogging myself as I type.

marinelife's avatar

I love talking to my friends on the phone. I can easily talk for more than an hour.

Why don’t you think to yourself that the thank-you call is a business call? Practice what you are going to say ahead of time.

geeky_mama's avatar

Yes, I feel the same as you @rockfan. With the exception of calling my husband or kids (and even then, I usually prefer to text)..I really dread having to make a phone call. I so prefer email or text. What’s odd is that I really adore my friends and family..but I just don’t like socializing by phone.
Making a business inquiry by phone (like calling to make an appt or find out what hours a place is open, etc.) is something I dread less..but I still prefer to find info. on the web.
I prefer making appointments on the web..I tend to make all appts via the web that I can.

AshLeigh's avatar

There are very few people I like talking to in person, so a phone call is rare.

bookish1's avatar

I’ve thought many times of asking a variation of this question on Fluther. I was wondering if it was often a generational thing.
Making business calls still makes me nervous sometimes, especially when it’s to bureaucrats who have decision-making power… about health insurance, for instance. But usually, I find it easier to make business calls, because I can prepare for the exchange ahead of time, and the format is pretty standard.

Most of my close friends are in other states, so I do try to keep up with them on the phone. With my best friends, conversation is no problem—we always can pick up where we left off, and we can talk for hours, barring work or school interruptions. But because I’m such an introvert, I have to be in the right mood for conversation, to be able to give my interlocutor my full attention, so sometimes I will put off or avoid calls, even to close friends.

I guess the most difficult types of calls are with people whom I know, but with whom I am not close! Setting up a meeting with a colleague or date, for instance. Because we don’t know each other very well, it feels like that is where small talk is required. I am good at that in person if sufficiently lubricated, but on the phone, it’s hell. Where possible, I’ll make plans by text. I vastly prefer to make my first impression in person rather than over the phone.

One of the most nervewracking phone calls of my life was with the professor I wanted to work with in grad school! I prepared for it for several hours, to make sure I had plenty of interesting things to say and didn’t have to fall back on inanities. I guess I must have done alright, because I got accepted into grad school after that phone call!

Coloma's avatar

I am a babblely wonder.
I can’t make a call of any kind to anyone at anytime without having lengthy conversations. lol
I can’t even leave a voicemail without needing a “part 2.” haha
I have the gift of gab, and it is rare that I am at a loss for humor and conversational topics.

I don’t like small talk myself, but I do love banter and those that can keep a conversation going.
Of course there are certain people that I don;t engage with on my usual level of verbosity, but it is a rare thing indeed for me to be at a loss for words. haha

tedibear's avatar

For those of you who can’t stand social calls on the phone, do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? I have found that most introverts I know are uncomfortable with social phone calls. It can be practiced to gain a certain level of comfort, but it is unlikely to be your favorite things. The nice thing is that there’s nothing wrong with you for not enjoying these calls.

zenvelo's avatar

I think this is a learned skill that was commonplace 40 or 50 years ago but is quickly falling out of our national skillset from lack of use.

I remember in high school that I would have long discursive conversations with friends of an hour or more. When I had a girlfriend I was thinking about marrying, I would have a couple of phone calls a day, sometimes as much as half an hour, even though I would see her at dinner time.

But now I don’t like talking on the phone as much, and even with people I like spending time with it can get tedious and conversation run dry. A person I can send multiple texts and emails to in the span of a half an hour can call me and the conversation stumbles along for five or six minutes before fading away.

Coloma's avatar

@tedibear Yes, very true. Extrovert here, the more I talk the more energized I get. haha Extroverts get energized by social interactions and introverts often feel drained.

RandomGirl's avatar

I know the feeling. I can only talk on the phone with my absolute best friends. Other people, I’m just like… OK, bye!

bookish1's avatar

Yep, I’m an introvert and while I’m pretty sure I would love @Coloma‘s company in person, I know she would tire me out on the phone in no time!

gondwanalon's avatar

I really dislike talking on the phone for a few reasons. Most of communication is through body language and not through the sound of the voice. This has gotten me into trouble a few times at work where nurses have complained that I come off as being mad. People who know me know that I NEVER get mad. I’m very busy at work and don’t have time for chit-chat or to present a warm and fuzzy voice. I need to know quickly and exactly what the nurses and doctors need or want so I can help them and get back to my other very time critical work.

At home I very rarely pick up the phone. If the callers have important information for me, then they will leave a recorded message. Most of the time the caller is trying to reach my wife who is always on top of her messages. My family and friends have pretty much stopped calling me which is OK with me. Most of the calls for me by far are people asking for donations or someone trying to sell me something.

I don’t even have a cell phone. I save a lot of time, money and peace that way.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Yes. I hate talking on the phone, especially if it’s family I don’t usually talk to, or even friends. I’m comfortable talking to my husband or my mom on the phone, but that’s about it. It’s even awkward for me to call my grandma, even though we’re close. I dread silences and small talk. I’d much rather text someone. But businesses, I’m fine calling them.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I hate to talk on the phone. I have a cell phone (definitely NOT a Smart Phone) & I use texting to maintain contact with my grand children & pretty much to maintain contact with my other family members. I have no idea why I am so reluctant to talk on the phone, but it is how I have always been.

Coloma's avatar

@bookish1 Why Thank You! :-)
Yes, while I do love to talk I am also not loud or obnoxious,
Although I can be excitable when really in the groove of fun discussions.
As much as I can carry on, people always tell me how much they enjoy talking with me.

I am pretty verbally flamboyant.
There is a reason my personality style is called “The enthusiast” and yes, sometimes, especially my daughter, will tell me “calm down” when I am ramping up over something I am passionate about. lol

janbb's avatar

I like to talk on the phone to close friends but am really shy about calling someone – particularly a guy – I don’t know.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I hate it, even with my mom. Texting is much nicer for me.

YARNLADY's avatar

In person, I’m the biggest blabber mouth there is, Mrs Motormouth, herself – but I hate talking on the phone. I’m always afraid I’ll say the wrong thing because I can’t see the other persons reactions.

Sarah90's avatar

I’m the same way,I truly detest talking on the phone but very often I’m force to do so.
There’s still many companies and organizations that won’t allow you to do much online, they require for people to call and speak to a representative.

Paradox25's avatar

I’m the polar opposite. I prefer to use a phone for social chats rather than using texting or facebook. When it comes to business calls I hate all forms of them, and I dislike conversing on a phone for business reasons.

Coloma's avatar

A neighbor I hardly know dropped over tonight to tell me they were sorry we didn’t become better friends after living here for 7 years.
Well…we are now!
2 hours of mutual babble…launch the verbosity rockets. lol

Plucky's avatar

The only people I don’t usually mind talking to, on the phone, are my mother, sister, an old friend and my partner. However, my sister can rabble on for hours!

I am very uncomfortable with talking to people I don’t know (via phone and in person). I’m horrible at small talk. I’m always amazed at how easy it can come to some people. My sister and my partner are great examples of that. I don’t know how they think of the right things to say so quickly.

On the other hand, I can communicate quite well via written/typed methods. I tend to surprise people who I’ve only talked to in written conversation…when they find out how incredibly shy I am in person. I’m very introverted in person. Written communication allows me to be extroverted.

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El_Cadejo's avatar

God I hate to talk on the phone. I’ve been with my SO for a 7.5 years now, could talk to her for hours, but a phone call is just (reason for call, ok love ya bye) like rush the fuck through the phone call and I’m like that with everyone. There is just too much awkwardness with the phone. As @tom_g the lack of visual feedback from the conversation makes things weird. Like him as well I’d rather email or text. I don’t find this that strange though, I believe it’s because when I communicate in text form I have the ability to think about what I’m saying much more as well as just take my time to reply/multi task. When you’re on the phone 3 seconds of silence feels like an awkward fuckin eternity.

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