Hello. My name is Kennith and I must admit that I have a problem. I truly despise having conversations on the telephone. I am a phone-a-phobic person and desperately need an intervention!
While I write this somewhat tongue in cheek, there is an element of truth to this post. I find talking to someone on the phone to be extremely impersonal because I can't see their expression. I want to look at you eyeball to eyeball and ascertain what you're thinking. If there is a task to be done that requires I either place a call or drive out of my way to interact with a person, I will choose the extra mileage in order to avoid the phone call.
Sadly, this hatred of the phone has spread into my personal interactions with friends as well. It hasn't always been like this. There were nights that I looked forward to the phone ringing in order to speak with those who were spread across the country and even the world. (The summer my roommate was in Germany was not a happy time for my phone bill! That one still brings back an ache to my wallet.) Sometimes it appears that I am avoiding phone calls because I don't value my friends. The truth is that I'm being selfish! When I talk to these men and women who are so important to me, I become homesick for their company and very dissatisfied with my present situation. Eventually I just don't think I can handle the sadness anymore and pull away....and I stop returning calls.
When I finally realize that not talking to them is worse than becoming homesick, I feel awkward that I have allowed so much time to pass since my last phone call. I want to catch up on what's going on with them while I feel as though I desperately need to apologize for my neglect of them. I know I would be upset if someone had ignored me in the same way that I have ignored them. It's completely understandable.
I always tend to make an excuse for not calling that seems completely reasonable. It's most convenient for me to call while driving during the day. Since most of them are in other time zones and hold traditional jobs, they are either at work or still in bed. I don't want to disturb them, so I decide to wait. When I assume it's a more appropriate time for them to talk, I'm so tired that I put it off again. I often wonder which is worse -- phone silence or a voicemail left during an inopportune time of day?
Before beginning this post, I began to make some phone calls that I feared were going to be very awkward. Two voicemails later, I'm waiting to hear back from a couple of important friends. The third that I actually got on the phone was a great conversation. It felt so good to share with my him and know that even when we don't talk on a regular basis, we both hold a special place in the other's heart.
I've not made all the phone calls that are on my plate right now. So if you've not gotten a voice mail, don't assume you aren't important to me. I'm just working through a very long list. (If you know you're on my list and want to move up to the top....give me a call!) Here's my pledge to myself: for the next few weeks, I'll not screen calls when I'm free and will make return calls as soon as I can. Why? Because the people in my life are worth the investment of my time. I realize that now!