I is for Introvert Phone Calls
I’ve learned in my study of psychology that introversion and extroversion are no more than two personality types. One is not better than the other. They are simply two equal but different sides of a coin in the genetic toss-up. Even though there is no “good” type and “bad” type, so often I feel like society has been designed for extroverts. So much of professional success is weighed upon who you know and how much you put yourself “out there.”
And it just gets tiring.
I’m an introvert. I like people. I feel lonely when I haven’t seen friends in a while.
But no matter who the company is, I become both physically and mentally exhausted after interacting with others. See, the concept of social interaction is more than just talking to someone. It’s a process that wears me down when gone on for too long.
My friends know me as the one who never answers her phone, and quite honestly it’s because I generally do everything I can to avoid talking on the phone. It takes so much effort and mental preparation for me to pick up the phone and make a call. I’ll text for hours. But if the interaction involves putting my public face on, I need to prepare and I need it not to drag on and on, or I simply check out.
To give you an idea, here is what goes through my head when worse comes to worse and I have to make a phone call:
Plan when to make the call. I need to give myself at least an hour of free time, even if it’s just a quick call, in case we end up talking about more things and I don’t have to feel the stress of being rushed.
Then plan what I’m going to say. If they’re not Muslim and don’t do the whole “Assalaamu-alaykum,” how should I greet them? (For you non-Muslims, you’d be surprised at how unnatural I find “hi” and “hello” to be as greetings.)
Sometimes, if it’s a professional call, I’ll give myself an informal “script.”
Okay, now what if we run out of things to say? Should I keep the conversation going? Should I make a suave exit? Will that seem too cold?
Mental script done. Greeting rehearsed. Alright. I’m ready.
Wait, what if I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the call? I should go now just in case.
Okay, now ready.
Now imagine when my phone lights up signaling that someone else is calling me? I’m not going to be able to do all of those things in the time it takes for the ringtone to finish, so I turn down the call and hope they leave a voicemail.
I know many people my age find it nerve-wrecking to talk on the phone. I don’t think it is solely an introvert thing, but for me, it does involve energy and needing effort to interact with people. Does anyone else experience this?