Mobile phones have brought a lot of convenience to our lives. We carry phones with us wherever we go. But is being permanently on call a convenience, or an infringement of individual space? Do you feel embarrassed for being a phone-phobe? Do people around you get angry and judge you harshly because you are hard to reach by phone?
Not everyone enjoys being interrupted by unplanned phone calls without warning. Some people suffer from phone anxiety, an incapacitating condition that makes speaking on the phone so stressful they need therapy to help them cope.
Phone anxiety makes receiving phone calls so terrifying that it leads to symptoms such as a racing heart, nausea and shaking. This condition requires professional intervention if it is severe enough to cause distress.
You might not have phone anxiety, but you still hate receiving phone calls and do everything possible to avoid answering your phone when it rings.
It is Not a Choice
Songwriter and podcaster Andy Mort used the word hate to describe his relationship with this gadget many love.
Andy Mort referred to himself as an introvert, and attributed his dislike for the device to his personality. An introvert focuses on internal feelings rather than on external stimulation, tends to avoid large crowds and enjoys time alone.
The inability to change gears quickly when their deep thoughts are interrupted contributes to introverts finding the phone intrusive, like the shrieking of the alarm clock disturbs peaceful sleep. Introverts tend to be slow to come up with answers, making telephone conversations unnecessarily slow, awkward and irritating to the person on the other end.
Being uncomfortable with the use of the phone is not a moral failing, and neither is it a sign they dislike the people on the other end of the call.
Here are some reasons why one might find the phone an unnecessary evil, and more so if the person is an introvert.
The Phone is an Intrusive Disruption
An introvert finds a telephone call a distraction from whatever they are doing, even if all they are doing is thinking. Thinking is not the same as doing nothing. An unexpected phone call intrudes not only the physical space, but the mental space too. They prefer to allow the call to go to voicemail rather than handling a telephone conversation.
Being Expected Always to Answer
We carry phones all the time, and are expected to answer them whenever they ring. Failure to respond to the phone is considered rude and invites wrath from the ignored callers.
Shouldn’t it be the other way, that expecting your call to be answered is rude, like appearing at someone’s door unannounced and expecting the other person to drop everything they’re doing?
People get angry when their unexpected phone calls are not answered. Everyone is entitled to the freedom of how to make use of their time. Is anyone ever idle, just waiting for someone to free them from the torture of having nothing to do?
A phone call requires some action - to give an answer to something, or to engage in a conversation. The questions require quick answers, without giving adequate time to think and decide.
It is not always appropriate to give answers at short notice. Sometimes those answers require thinking through, or consulting. Some research might be needed, or consulting the diary in instances where the caller is requesting to meet.
Pre-arrange Telephone Calls
Be in the right mind to provide the necessary answers, or to discuss something comprehensively. Staying focused while in a conversation with someone who is not physically present requires extra effort. It’s easy to simply drift away. This is unlike face-to-face conversations where the focus is on something being discussed, or a task to be carried out.
For telephone calls from people who are close, such as family or friends, prior notice is useful so you can keep that time free from other activities, and mentally prepare yourself for the call. This allows for preparation if some information needs to be checked out before the call.
It is Polite to Be In one place at a time
How does it feel to be in a conversation with someone...and then they receive a phone call, which they answer? You are forced to stay there and listen to their conversation. It is not polite to talk to someone not present, unless it is an emergency.
Conversations should not be a free-for-all. They require privacy. If you are with others, they shouldn’t be party to a conversation with someone who is not there.
Being Alone is Not Necessarily Convenient To Pick Calls
There is so much that happens in your life, picking up calls is not always practical even when you’re alone. You could be driving, cooking, taking a nap, working on an important engagement or even taking a shower. Being alone does not necessarily mean someone is free to pick phone calls. It is no different from having guests walking in and out without any warning.
Telephone calls can waste precious time, or even be a hazard. There are times when answering a call could endanger your life, such as when driving, cooking or crossing the street.
The belief that failing to answer the phone is being rude makes people risk their lives by picking up calls even when it is dangerous to do so. Some have had the bad manners of answering the phone in bed or in the shower, yet some of those calls are not an emergency.
Not Respecting Your Freedom of Choice
Not all callers are bearers of good news. There are people whose calls are a source of stress, such as people who call to gossip, make demands or complain. Should you pick up a call from someone who is obviously going to cause stress, more so if the call comes at a time when the negativity could cause damage?
You could be chairing a meeting, or working on an important assignment when you receive a call from someone who just wants to complain. Do not feel guilty for deciding not to pick up that call. There are other ways to communicate, such as through email, or SMS, or the person could call some other time when it is convenient to do so.
Infringing Your Allocated No Calls Time
Phone calls can be unwelcome when you have work to accomplish. Efficiency requires working with minimal interruptions. There are periods of time when you cannot pick up calls, such as when you have deadlines to meet.
If calls come at such times, do not feel guilty for ignoring them. There is nothing wrong with allocating times when you need to work without interruption. That is the only way you will finish your work on time, and to a high standard.
Are you a phone-phobe? Have you been too hard on yourself, feeling like a bad person because you deliberately ignore phone calls? Do you feel like you are hurting people by not picking up their calls? You need to give yourself a break. Those people need to respect your privacy and freedom of choice concerning how you use the phone.
What other reasons do you have for hating the phone? Share your views with us in the comments below.