I think this on the Top 5 on every introvert’s list of Worst Things Ever.
I’m literally such an ass with the telephone. I hate it when it rings, almost no matter who calls, and I have to mentally prepare myself to pick it up or call other people. And, of course, I avoid it like the plague when it’s an unknown number.
Really, I need to size up the person on the other end. Even if it’s someone I know well. Like some robot I need visual and facial recognition to properly read and interact with another human being.
I think many elements of being face to face are taken for granted, but that’s also somewhat hypocritical to say because, generally, if anything, I prefer to write to and with people, and even writing has it limits (*sighs in admittance*). But so has telephonic communication. Even face to face isn’t perfect, but it sure gives a better picture of the person at the other end.
Let’s be honest, communication is and always will be a complex area. Most of all, it’s about context, perspective and interpretation. Some people are very good at masking their voices and feelings, others unintentionally give off the wrong impressions, while awkward pauses, misunderstandings and interruptions seem to be the most unavoidable and frequent occurrences during phone conversations (at least compared to any other form of interaction I’ve participated in or witnessed, or maybe it’s just me).
Personally, I just interact with more ease if I’m able to read the other person’s face, body language and eyes as well. It helps me to know if the person is being honest and sincere about what they are saying. Am I more comforted by the fact that the other person is also able to read my face, body and eyes? Good question. To be honest, it depends. Most of the time, I have no clue how the world around me see me, so to say I’m unsure how to answer this confidently would be an understatement.
Though I find that I can read people fairly well, I can also be quite naive at times; instinctively putting too much faith in the good of other people. Ironically (or maybe not?), I don’t trust the distorted mediation of the phone, and I feel like my bad sides are more pronounced because of this; that I sound so much more uncomfortable, wavering and even unintentionally curt if I can’t read the situation right.
All in all, I could just do with less awkward pauses and misunderstandings in my life, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live without the phone. Not completely. I just have to practise and get used to it, bit by bit.