5. There are no visual cues.
Many introverts rely on body language to interpret conversations. A regular phone call only has words, tone, and pacing. It doesn’t include facial expressions or other sensory information, either. On a regular phone call, the introvert’s inner world is working on overdrive to understand the meaning, and this can be nerve-racking and uncomfortable.
6. The caller puts them on the spot.
Introverts prefer to reflect and then respond, which is why they gravitate to written communication like email. In phone conversations, there is little opportunity to think things through and then answer. Often, the caller wants a decision NOW. It could be decisions to questions like: “Will you sign up now?” or “What would you like to do tonight?” or working through a conflict with a colleague or family member. It’s not that the introvert seeks to avoid confrontation; they prefer to think through the problem and thoughtfully convey their ideas. Introverts flourish with written communication because it allows them to communicate in an exact way. Reflecting then responding is how introverts give their best to every situation.
Managing the introvert’s phone aversion
Just because introverts hate talking on the phone doesn’t mean that you must give up phone calls altogether. Here are some ways you can sidestep the issues, and get your communication needs met, too:
If you’re the extrovert, remember, it’s not personal; it’s just not in an introvert’s nature to enjoy that phone communication. Here’s what to do:
- Send an email or text to your introverted friend first to arrange a good time to chat
- Suggest using an app like WhatsApp or Facetime, so it’ll be almost like you’re in person
- Give some time for your introvert to think and try not to pressure them for a response
- Start the conversation talking about something you know they love so they feel at ease (and much happier to have an extended, more expressive conversation with you)
- Know when to hang up; let your introvert off the hook to decompress
If you’re the introvert, go easy on yourself. Figure out ways to make talking on the phone more bearable, and you’ll be much happier, such as:
- Change your ringer to a calming ring tone that gradually gets louder, so you won’t jump 3 feet every time the phone interrupts you
- Assign a unique ring tone to your primary contacts, and then you’ll always know who’s calling and you can decide if you’re going to answer the call
- You be the caller so you can think about what to say and rehearse if needed to get it right
- Give yourself the time you need to think through your responses. It’s ok to say, “I’ll get back to you tomorrow”
- Don’t feel guilty about unplugging; get your stuff done and talk when you’re ready to talk
Getting to know the differences between the types can give you a new level of appreciation and reduce friction. Who knows? With a little tweaking, the introverts may not hate talking on the phone quite as much.
Lisa Petsinis is a certified coach and a certified Myers-Briggs® type indicator practitioner. Contact Lisa if you’d like to discover your type and learn how you can use it to enrich your life, starting today. You can also sign up for Lisa’s newsletter for even more advice.
Written by Lisa Petsinis
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