Social Question

janbb's avatar

Can I get some help with this dating problem?

Asked by janbb (57175points) October 30th, 2016

I’m trying, once again, to meet someone through online dating sites. My issue today is that I’m great in the writing back and forth part – with some guys – but kind of freeze up when they want to move to talking on the phone. I’m just shy about chatting on the phone with strangers; oddly enough, I have fewer problems with meeting in person. Since chatting on the phone is a logical step, can you give me any advice on how to feel more comfortable with it?

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45 Answers

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Me too. Ask questions about him, don’t dig deep, just to start up a conversation. Mention his likes and dislikes that you have learned from his comms to you, then listen. People like to talk about themselves and if you show genuine interest, he will talk. I think this will relax you and you soon will be taking part in the dialogue. Find common ground.

janbb's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Maybe you and I should have practice but we know too much about each other so it would be cheating. :-)

Jeruba's avatar

I can’t help with the comfort part. I dislike phone calls myself and try to avoid them in general, even with family members. They make me feel crowded—the person is right there in my ear—and I miss out on all the other cues of manner, expression, gesture, and body language.

When my father was considering a second marriage, he courted a woman by taking her out frequently to dinner and to social events, even though he didn’t enjoy them himself. After they got married, she expected him to keep taking her out because that was the expectation he’d created. She was rather floored by the fact that he wanted to stay home all the time and was going to spend most of his time reading.

Some introverts can play the role of extroverts for a little while but may not be able to sustain it for long. That’s fine. Some people prefer a partner who’s not an extrovert.

In your place I don’t know what I would do, but I wouldn’t want my prospective date to get the idea that I liked talking on the phone. He also might pick up on my discomfort and think it was about him. I think I’d say “I’d rather meet you in person than over the phone. I’m not too comfortable with phone calls.” (I’d just leave out mention of strangers.) If he couldn’t handle that, we were probably not going to get too far anyway.

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba That’s what I’ve done in the past but I was thinking maybe it was time to put my big girl pants on. Worth thinking about though.

Jeruba's avatar

@janbb, I don’t think there’s a single thing wrong with following your own instincts and self-knowledge. You want the person who fits with you to be able to recognize you. That thought has always helped me remember not to play at being like someone else.

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba I don’t necessarily seeing this as playing at being someone else but more like showing a somewhat weak part of myself too soon. It feels like a hump I should get over.

si3tech's avatar

@janbb How about a coffee date with no pressure. Chat a bit and see how it feels. I, too, am painfully shy. Just thinking my last first “date” was for ice cream. (not a coffee drinker) We had nearly 15 years of good relationship. As I got to know him I was surprised to find he was very shy too. We shared many meals, movies, NBA games and several wonderful trips. Good luck.

janbb's avatar

@si3tech Yes, that has been my modus operandi too and I also, prefer an ice cream date to a coffee date – or meet and greet. But I’m beginning to feel I should conquer the talking on the phone interim step as well. This guy wants me to call him and I’m not really sure if I want to meet him yet. (He uses txt spk!)

It’s not that I haven’t been dating, it just hasn’t gotten me very far.

si3tech's avatar

@janbb Don’t let him pressure you into calling on the phone. You respect your own comfort level. IMHO talking on the phone isn’t necessarily anything that needs to be “conquered.”
Also, no rush to meet.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I don’t think it is a weak part @janbb. You just aren’t comfortable talking to strangers on the phone. Fairly understandable and increasingly common I would say. Increasingly, younger people seem to text rather than talking on the phone. If it were me, and that’s all I can really do is tell you how I might handle this, I would use the email period to let him know you’re shy, and that you feel uncomfortable when talking on the phone initially so he should be aware that you may be a bit stilted until you get to know him. If he’s a decent man, he really should get this and he may very well be shy himself! So you’re opening the door for him to say the same.

Have some ice-breaker questions ready. I totally agree with @Espiritus_Corvus that people like talking about themselves. When I’m nervous I tend to talk too much (I know! Who’d have thunk it!!!), but it can work the other way. Ask questions and let him do most of the talking.

And yes, once you are comfortable, meet in person. @janbb, you’re an intelligent, lovely woman. So keep the phone stuff brief, and move to meeting in public for a chat as quickly as you can.

flutherother's avatar

If you don’t like phoning have you thought of Skype? It is similar to meeting in person. It can be a bit fraught, especially if the connection is slow but that is how we first met, over three years ago now.

CWOTUS's avatar

Tell him – honestly, if not “the whole truth” – that “I spend too much time on the phone already. Can we just skip that part and meet in person somewhere?”

He doesn’t have to know that “a few minutes a week” is already “too much time on the telephone”. You can tell him that when you first meet, and if things go well, then he’ll realize that any time that you do spend with him on the phone after that is bonus time.

Rarebear's avatar

Try Skype. Phones can be awkward.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

And remember, Penguin: You have a very sexy sense of humor.

Zissou's avatar

Ugh, skip the phone and minimize the online/texting penpal stuff. Just meet somewhere you feel safe and see if you hit it off. Life’s too short.

flutherother's avatar

Okay, okay I know how hard it must be to lift a handset with those flippers.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Many of us are uncomfortable with telephone conversations. Personally, the lack of any visual cues makes me very uneasy. All of this is exacerbated when talking with a stranger.

I’m with @Zissou – minimize the typed messages, bypass the phone, and go for some coffee-shop get-togethers. Just be sure to choose busy, public places during the daylight hours.

kritiper's avatar

Man, I can TOTALLY relate!!!

Coloma's avatar

Have a glass of wine, put on some mellow background music and just do it! haha
I am the complete opposite, I love talking on the phone and can easily and comfortably carry the conversation but am more nervous about the first, actual, face to face meeting. Same ice breakers just different ends.

janbb's avatar

Thanks for the support guys! I have had a number of meet and greets and while they make me nervous, I handle them really well. I know I can carry on a good conversation – and several Jellies can attest to that – but the phone just doesn’t work for me unless you are a friend.

This guy is maybe not that worth it anyway so maybe I will stay with the written and see if we move to coffee or ice cream.

Or – perhaps @CWOTUS could change his politics, @flutherother could break up with his girlfriend or @Espiritus_Corvus could sail his ship up north and I could stop the online dating. :-)

Coloma's avatar

I make friends on the phone all the time chatting with perfect strangers, customer service people, on and on. Some years back now, in ‘09, I became friends with a woman about my age via a wrong number. I inadvertently called her on about 6 or 7 different occasions by accident and started calling her “Not Marilyn!” I then invited Not Marilyn to my party.

We had loads of fun with that wrong number set up.
” Oooh, damn, is this Not Marilyn again? ” lol

CWOTUS's avatar

For my part, politics has never come between me and any of my various inamoratas – but I can’t speak for those who have drifted away; they certainly weren’t driven off. And some of my best friends are die-hard liberals; I even number some Yankees fans among my acquaintances. (Though it is hard to be “actual friends” with someone who manifests the kind of blatant sociopathy that would have them walk around in NYY apparel.)

Part of that comes from a consideration (and negation) of the old men’s advice to “don’t go out with the crazy”. (I’m expressing it more politely than it is commonly done in the vernacular.) Because when you think about that, anyone who is not as sane as one … is relatively “crazy”. And anyone else who is more sane than one … would be crazy to be around one. So you see, if we’re going to have relationships at all with others, then we have to disregard that advice. Keep it in mind, but discard it.

Besides, if we had a date I would suggest that you should dress appropriately and get an introduction to semiautomatic handguns, revolvers and maybe an AR15 at a licensed gun range – after proper and thorough safety training, and equipped with ear and eye protection, of course. I’ve heard from other first-timers that it was far more enjoyable than they could have realized, that the training beforehand allowed them to thoroughly understand the risks and safety procedures, and that the folks running the joint had perfectly healthy and sound attitudes towards weapons and proper handling. So it’s not just my politics that you’d have a problem with.

But we could go out for ice cream afterwards.

janbb's avatar

I’ll bear that in mind.

Coloma's avatar

@janbb Have you yet to disclose to this new beau that you are prone to cold feet and Herring breath and have a passion for snow and ice.
Oooh..I see, you have led him to believe you are a pussycat not a Penguin. You know he’s going to find out sooner or later. lol

janbb's avatar

@Coloma Damn. So maybe the phone is better? lol

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

He might be totally into women who wear black and white and have a sexy waddle. And snow and ice mean you have to snuggle – what’s not to love!

imrainmaker's avatar

@janbb – I think you should start getting knowledge about semi auto weapons now…)

LostInParadise's avatar

One thing that you can do is to prepare a list of things you could tell about yourself and questions that you would like to ask. I am extremely introverted and can have problems dealing with people one-on-one, particularly over the phone. I have found it helpful at times to rehearse some of the things that I could say.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

@janbb The next time I see you, I’ll insist on a full report! In fact, you might want to prepare a memorandum…

janbb's avatar

Well, I just wrote to this guy – who is not one I’m terribly invested in – and told him I don’t like talking on the phone to folks I don’t know but am happy to keep writing until we decide whether to meet.

@Love_my_doggie Believe me, this is a small and quite boring part of my life.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ “Boring”?!?! I’m utterly fascinated. :-)

Coloma's avatar

When I was involved in online dating some years ago now before I decided I really just wasn’t interested in coupling up anymore, I was very succinct in my profile to help weed out any undesirables. You know me, tell it like it is Coloma. haha
My profile ended with this line… “Unsavory Jacks will promptly have their beanstalks chopped down.” Pretty clear ey? lol

janbb's avatar

@Coloma I don’t really need help with the writing part but thanks anyway.

longgone's avatar

Oh, I’m in the same boat. One thing that really helps me is moving. Grab your phone and go for a walk somewhere quiet. Moving helps our brains think, and it’s much easier to freeze up if you’re sitting on the couch.

janbb's avatar

@longgone Good to see you!

canidmajor's avatar

I’m with the “don’t do phone if you don’t want to” crew. I hate talking to new people on the phone, I can’t read them, and there is usually wild pup shenanigans going on in the background. Two dogs sound like a kennel.

chyna's avatar

Um, I should let you go now. Apparently you are being attacked by a pack of wolves.

janbb's avatar

@canidmajor I’ll bet they keep you safe from male predators!

canidmajor's avatar

They keep me safe from leaves and wind. And sometimes acorns. :-/

Coloma's avatar

@janbb I didn’t think you did, I was just sharing my little story.

longgone's avatar

@janbb Oh, I’m around. Busy, but lurking every day.

longgone's avatar

[Mod says] Moved to Social with OP’s permission.

Response moderated (Spam)
janbb's avatar

Ha! Got a message tonight from a guy that said, “Hi Jan! I’m a doctor.” Well, la di bloody da!

Coloma's avatar

^ Hah! Must be a Podiatrist, a boring heel. lol

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