i’m pj, and i have telephobia | Somewhere in Middle America

There was once a girl who loved talking on the phone. She loved it so much that her Bat Mitzvah theme was telephones, and her corresponding birthday present from her parents was her own phone and phone line. Flash forward to today. The girl now has a BlackBerry, which she uses all the time… but not for chatting. She relies on it for checking email, updating her Facebook status, text messaging and taking photos.

Obviously, that girl is me. But maybe it’s also you. Somewhere between 7th grade and today I lost my gift for gab. If I have big news to share I’ll still ring up my closest companions and tell them all the details. But when it comes to chatting just for chatting’s sake, well, I have trouble with that one. Do people really want to hear about the mundane details of my day? My guess is no. And since I generally find my life to be pretty boring, I have many, many friends who haven’t heard from me in quite a while. It’s like I’m afraid to call to say hi if I don’t have anything else interesting to say.

However, I understand that if you want to maintain friendships, especially long distance ones, avoiding the phone is, well, unavoidable. Which leads me to the next challenge – when’s the best time to talk? Cell phones may make us accessible 24/7, but that doesn’t mean that we are–or that we want to be. If I’m desperate to talk to a friend or family member, I’ll answer the phone while in the supermarket or even at work. (But I’ll never, ever pick up the phone while I’m in the car, and you shouldn’t either.) Ideally, I like to be at home, relaxing on the couch without distractions. But how often are conditions absolutely perfect for any venture? I know, I know, I’m just making excuses. Just pick up the dang phone, PJ.

There are so many ways to keep in touch nowadays that talking on the phone almost seems archaic. I love the convenience of being able to draft an email with snippets and highlights from my life at any time of the day. I can start in the morning and finish in the evening. But an email is so one-sided, and there’s something to be said about being an active listener, too. If I can focus more on listening rather than on talking, perhaps I’ll feel more inclined to make phone calls. I won’t have to worry about awkward silences or not knowing what to say.

So I’d to issue an apology to all of my friends out there who haven’t gotten a call from me recently. It’s not you, it’s me! Just because I don’t think what I’ve been doing lately has been particularly noteworthy doesn’t mean I don’t want to know what’s been going in your life.

Still, I know I’m not the only one out there who doesn’t particularly enjoy talking on the phone. (To be truthful, I may actually diagnose myself with having a mild phobia of the phone.) Fellow “telephobiacs,” how do you push yourself out of your comfort zone?

(images source, source)