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Hold the phone

Posted: March 24, 2011 5:03 p.m.
Updated: March 25, 2011 5:00 a.m.

I hate talking on the phone, probably much more than the average person.

Sure, I don’t mind making a phone call to interview someone while I’m at work. I’m a reporter, and talking on the telephone is a pretty important part of my job.

Just don’t expect me to call you to just chat after 5 p.m. during the work week or pretty much anytime during the weekend. 

Text me, email me (but no cutesy forwards with dancing bears, please), Skype me, Facebook me, Tweet me, for goodness sakes, send me a pigeon with a note attached to its foot -- just don’t call me unless it’s for something important.

And the only people who are allowed to call me are my Granddaddy Lewis and Grandma Jenkins, because something tells me that I probably shouldn’t expect a Tweet from them anytime soon.

I’d like to say that I’m a part of the growing trend of young adults who traded talking on their cell phones for texting at least 10 years ago, but that’s not the case.

I’ve always been a phone-hater.

Even as a teenager, the age when you’re supposed to giggle with your friends on the phone for hours on end, I found conversations lasting longer than 10 minutes to be exhausting.

But that’s not saying that I don’t care about how my friends and family are doing. 

I talk to my mom, dad and sisters on the telephone at least once every day, but even then our phone calls don’t last more than five to 10 minutes. (Coincidentally, no one in my family really enjoys talking on the phone for an extended amount of time either.)

Most days, I prefer to carry on conversations with four or five friends simultaneously through text messages.

And thanks to the genius of inventions like Facebook and Twitter, I, along with at least a thousand more people, always know what’s going on in my friends’ lives -- down to the type of sandwich they bought at Subway during their lunch break.

When I have free time, I’ll even stop by my friends’ apartments to visit them and have a real (gasp!) face-to-face conversation. The way  I see it, if a conversation is too important to discuss through text messaging, then we should probably sit down and talk in person.

So considering the fact that most people prefer not to have face-to-face conversations nowadays, I’d like to think I’m doing pretty good.

Luckily, most of my friends also hate to talk on the telephone and prefer to communicate talk through Facebook/Twitter/text messaging.

Now, when I do receive a phone call from a friend, I immediately panic and wonder who has died or is injured. Most times it turns out that my friend was just calling me to tell me that their computer crashed.

Is that weird and a bit crazy? Yes.

But that’s the bizarre world that I prefer to live in. 

The only problem is that I’ve never really given much thought to how other people feel about my obvious disdain for talking on the telephone.

Not too long ago, an elderly woman at my church told me she wished her children would call her more. She said her son bought her a computer and created an email address for her to use when she tries to get in touch with him, but she never uses it.

“I just like to hear his voice,” she said.

Watching her sit there, practically on the verge of tears, and tell me that all she wanted was to have a real conversation with her son nearly broke my heart.

I will probably always be a phone-hater. More than likely, I will never be able to tolerate a 10-minute phone conversation with anyone without itching to end the conversation.

But I have to realize that everyone is not like me, and some people actually enjoy hearing another person’s voice on the telephone.

And I should make more of an effort to listen, even if I do think that we could easily have the same conversation through Skype.

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