I know I promised some majorly revealing life stuff, but since that revealing life stuff is presently still working itself out, I'm not quite ready to lay it out for you.
I know, it's a nail-biter.
My life has been somewhat chaotic, with quite a bit of overwhelming circumstances being thrown my way.
But we're not going to talk about that today. No, today I'd like to clear the air with a confession. I've been stewing on this confession a lot, psycho-analyzing what it means about me. I haven't quite come to a conclusion...
I hate talking on the phone.
Hate is a strong word. And it may not adequately convey my feelings. Maybe I'm more...scared...to talk on the phone. There. I said it. I'm scared to have phone conversations. I'm not sure when this phobia started. I know as I teenager, I loved talking to my friends on the phone. Obsessively. Potentially harmfully. I have memories of talking late into the night with friends, gossiping and giggling. Some of those phone calls came from crush-worthy boys. I'd sneakily stay up late into the morning hours, unbeknownst to my sleeping parents, having romantically awkward soul-bearing conversations (and sadly, some of those boys stole my heart, and never gave it back. But, alas).
Then, somewhere along the line, I started to equate phone conversations with anxiety. I don't know what exactly made me anxious. I'm a friendly and social person, so having this strange hang-up (no pun intended) bothers me. What should keep me from being confident over the phone? I think it is the potential embarrassing situations that you can be put into. Here is the list I've compiled:
1) The possibility of calling someone and then forgetting who you are calling. This is a totally embarrassing stunt that I've unintentionally pulled several times. I hate that feeling when the person on the other line picks up and you're all like, "Hey....who is this?" And they're all, "Um, you called me. Creeper." This is when having a cell phone with caller ID helps. Thank goodness for that.
2) Awkward and uncomfortable silences. Sure, this can happen in a face-to-face conversation. But it's amplified over the phone. My ability to read others is rendered useless when I cannot see their facial expressions or body language. A perfectly congenial phone conversation with me could easily become offensive when I mistake the tone of your voice because I can't see the smile on your face. I know. I'm crazy. But I've left far too many phone conversations scarred after misreading the other person.
3) Mistaking your caller for someone else. It stinks to begin a conversation with someone when you suddenly realize it is actually someone else. This happens most prevalently when calling a family. Moms and daughters or fathers and sons so often sound alike. This happens less now (mainly because I avoid phone conversations like the plague), but I ran into this a lot in high school and college, when all my friends still lived at home. It is completely unsettling to say something personal or offensive, thinking you are joking with a friend (or ::gasp:: a boyfriend) only to find you've insulted their mother (literally. To her face). I now ALWAYS confirm who I am speaking with.
4) Unintentionally inconveniencing someone. This happens to me often, so you'd think I'd learn to ask, "Is this a good time?" I usually want my conversations to be finished quickly, so I jump right into my conversation, only to be told 2 minutes later (when I take the time to breathe between thoughts) that the person I am speaking with "can't talk right now." Somehow, this always embarrasses me. Not sure why. But there it is.
5) Accidentally getting stuck talking to someone you don't want to talk to. Uggg. This is the worst. Whether you are talking to someone you KNOW about something uncomfortable (I am TERRIBLE with confrontation - but that's another post for another day), or talking to a complete stranger (this unnerves me to no end), it's just awkward. I dislike feeling stuck on the phone with no way out. It's never fun to have a pointed and potentially volatile conversation over the phone (especially when you cannot read their expressions or body language - see #2). I always stammer and stutter because I can't think fast enough on my feet. This is my problem, not yours.
And 2 side reasons that apply souly to me:
A) I hate my voice. Don't try to tell me otherwise, but I think I have a man voice. Like, it's not a pretty, feminine and alluring voice. It's kind of low. And weird. Potentially manly. And I hate it enough that I avoid listening to any messages I leave on a voicemail or recorded on a video. ::shudder::
B) I was an awkward kid. Yep, I know that was anywhere from 15-20 years ago. But I had a pretty defined awkward season of my life. You can read a bit more about it here. And I plan on sharing a bit more about my strange childhood self in another post. So get excited. Because I was just plain weird. But I think sometimes I still have it in my head that I'm the weird kid from elementary school, and that is who people talk to and interact with. Totally not true. I know. I've become a fully-functioning, fun to be around, socially acceptable adult. Heck, I'm not even half-bad looking. But it's a psychological thing, and we all know how that goes. I just feel that I much better express myself in writing. Or interpretive dance. Just kidding. But seriously.
So there you have it. I have a phobia toward phone conversations. I didn't say it was rational, I'm just here to tell it like it is. Don't judge me.
I also realize I need to get over this. It's completely paralyzing, especially when you need to talk on the phone for professional reasons. Now, technically, there is nothing professional about my present stay-at-home mom life. But I used to work for a government agency (local government, people. I promise I'm not a spy....OR AM I?!?), and I had to have confrontational and volatile conversations over the phone all the time. And I hated it. I also know that someday down the road, I'll have a professional job again. And I need to nip this issue NOW so I can be a phone savvy professional chica. Someday. So, I've decided to challenge myself: I will attempt to make casual phone calls once a week. I thought I'd start with family and friends. Nothing big. No pressure. Just a "saying hi, wanted to catch up" kind of call. These are the calls that kill me and make me feel queasy, but that's why I need to do it.
I need to get over this, so if you get a phone call from me...be gentle.
And hey - feel free to call me too. I can't promise that I won't avoid the call, though.