Remember the 2002 horror flick The Ring? How the brring-brring of the telephone preempts a supernatural abomination? How a phone call is a source of unutterable terror, a portent of evil, an instrument of doom?

This is totally what it’s like for introverts.

introvert phone hate The-Ring
I said TEXT ME Liev! Image source: The Ring

Introverts And Phone-Hate

Why do introverts hate talking on the phone?

Partly, I think, it’s the noise, that shrill piercing of a peaceful quiet. Evidence shows introverts are more sensitive to sounds.

Partly it’s being required to answer on demand. With a text or email you can do it in your own time. The phone says it must be NOW.

Partly it’s the intensity. There’s no escape – you’re just kind of stuck until the call ends. This is the worst part for me. I don’t like feeling I can’t get away.

Partly it’s the absence of visual cues. I feel much more comfortable when I can see a person’s face, and especially their eyes, as I talk to them.

Then there’s the horror of voicemail and having to return a call.

It’s bad enough if someone explains why they’re calling. But what about people who say, Hey it’s me – can you give me a call? That’s the worst, because you don’t know whether they’re bored and simply want to chat or something awful has happened and they need you. So frustrating!

I’ve never enjoyed talking on the phone and this has sometimes been an issue in my relationships. Just as I hate the phone, others love it.

As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve found I can only really sustain relationships with people I see in person and/or can connect with online or via text or email. Life is short. Too often phone calls aren’t.

introvert phone hate dial m murder
1954 documentary showing that phone calls cause horrible attempted murders. Image source: Dial M For Murder*

[* You may prefer the introvert version of Dial M For Murder.]

How To De-Phone Your Personal Life

If you’d like to protect yourself from weird Japanese necromancy as well as well-plotted attempted murders and just general phone-talk fatigue, then following are some tips that might help.

These are some of the ways I’ve de-phoned my personal life:

  • When filling out contact details I give my email address rather than phone number whenever possible.
  • When sharing phone numbers with a new friend I say upfront that I don’t answer my phone and prefer to text.
  • I generally keep my ringer turned off. I write for a living and hate losing focus to a ringing telephone. (This is also why I usually keep my apartment buzzer off.)
  • I have a fun song as a ringtone (see below). That way if the phone does ring, I can simply forget that it’s a call and dance until the music stops.
  • Until I complete invention #5 (the i[ntrovert] phone) and we can have phone-free phones, I keep the phone app hidden on about page 4 and off my home screen.
  • If I see a missed call from a friend I text them and say I don’t like the phone and ask what’s up. I’m always friendly but I don’t over-explain the phone-avoidance thing.
  • In general I promptly return my friends’ emails, FB messages, and texts. That way, they know they can reach me quickly via these options.
  • My entire voicemail message consists of three words: Please text me.

Before calling an introvertThe Perfect Don’t-Answer-The-Phone Ringtone

Need a new ringtone to dance to as you wait for the ringing to stop? I recommend this:

How about you?

Do you have any strategies to share for dealing with the dreaded phone?