#1016: How do I nicely tell potential dates “I hate talking on the phone and I don’t want to do it with you”?

Sometimes letters just stack up together in a sequence sort of perfectly. Thank you, Letter Writers!

Ahoy, Cap’n!

I am a frequent lurker, sometimes commenter, and I have a question that probably has a pretty easy answer, but as I am super awkward myself sometimes, especially in dating, I am struggling to figure it out on my own. Maybe you and/or readers can help.

Do you have any advice/scripts for what to do/say when someone you’re interested in dating wants to talk on the phone and you have an aversion to phone conversations? Like, I’m fine online, and through text, and I have no problem with face-to-face conversations. But something about sitting on the phone with someone (especially someone I’ve never actually met face to face, but even someone I’ve already met) gives me a serious case of anxiety. I only have long phone conversations with good friends who I’ve known for years, and that’s only once in a great while. I wasn’t like this as a teenager – I liked having long phone calls with boys! It’s just something that, as an adult in the dating world, I’m not comfortable with. Unfortunately, many of the men I try to date get awfully pushy about it, even when I say something like, “I’m not really a phone person.”

Do you have any advice for how to be more direct about this without offending anyone, or maybe how to explain it so that they understand that it’s not them, it’s really me? Also, am I weird for having this phobia at all?

Thanks so much!

Signed,
Always Hoping For Voicemail

Dear Always Hoping:

Entire businesses exist to let you avoid talking on the phone so, it’s not just you!

“I’m not really a phone person” is pretty darn clear. You could add “I prefer not to” or “Let’s save it for the date” or “No, I’d rather not” but you’re not being exactly mysterious in your demurrals. “I really like you and I’m excited to meet up next week, but I’m super not a phone person and I’d much rather just wait until we’re hanging out” is not mean or rude or weird. Or unclear.

In the most generous interpretation, I can see why someone you’ve only chatted with online wants to talk, even briefly, on the phone before meeting in person. It can be a safety thing, like, are you a real person are you really at this number is the person who is coming to the cafe tomorrow really going to be the same person I’ve been talking to? So, “I’m not really a phone person, but sure, I’ve got 2 minutes” can work if it’s someone you’re just meeting for the first time. If at the end of two minutes you still want to talk to the person more, that’s a good sign.

Of course, it can also be a safety/dominance thing in the other direction, like, when you give a potential date person your phone number for “I am running late to the restaurant, see you in 15” texting purposes and they use it for “Hi, you are my best new texting buddy and I will send you my every waking thought and also call you whenever I’m thinking ’boutcha, which is all the time, Lover!” purposes. There is a safety argument and a boundaries!!! argument for keeping everything inside the world of the dating site or app messenger at first vs. giving a stranger a way to constantly reach you on a device you probably carry with you everywhere at all times. Sadly some people hear “I don’t really like that” and take it as a challenge (see previous letter).

Whether or not your phone anxiety is normal, I think what you have here is can work as a built-in Are We Compatible? detector. When you say “I’m not really a phone person but I’ve got 2 minutes” or “Hey, it’s not personal, but I don’t like to talk on the phone with people I don’t know well, let’s just save it for our date?” and the other person says “Sure, no worries!” or “Listen I know the phone thing is weird but it’s a safety thing for me, can we talk for literally 30 seconds so I know you won’t Catfish me and vice versa?” you can probably work with that.

When, on the other hand, a person says, “Awww, whyyyyyyyyyyy, don’t you liiiiiiiiike me” or otherwise tries to push past your polite “no thank you”, take it as permission to say “I don’t like the phone and I don’t like grownups who think ‘wheedling’ is a good strategy, so this isn’t going to work out, good luck out there, though!” and think no more about them. Like, when they get all pushy with you, what do these men think is going to happen? That you’ll be like “Oh, baby, sorry, you’re right, I love the phone now, thanks for curing my anxiety with your big strong assertive phone-talking powers!” Ugh. No.

Phone anxiety can be part of a social anxiety disorder, and if your anxiety is fucking with your life – you wish you liked talking on the phone, you can’t make phone calls that you need to make, for instance – it’s worth checking into with a mental health pro. But for our purposes, it’s not about whether or not something is normal or usual, it’s about you giving the person you might end up dating information about a preference you have. A good person is going to say “You don’t like the phone, cool, noted” and drop the subject and be glad that they have the information. Someone who treats “no” as the opening to a negotiation is going to bug the shit out of you in all kinds of other ways. They are giving you a gift (an annoying gift, but still, a gift) by manifesting this behavior right at the start, before you’ve invested a lot of time.

___________________________________________________________________

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170 comments
  1. Bunny said:

    If it’s a safety concern prompting the requests for a phone call, could skype or similar work? Something where you’re talking and seeing each other’s face, but it’s not a phone call and there’s no exchange of numbers to enable the Overeager Texter issues. It could be a useful happy medium to balance both people’s needs, if it’s preferable to a call, and could also work as a very easy way to identify people who’re being pushy. Because someone who just wants to have had some sort of not-over-text conversation with you prior to meeting should be as happy, if not moreso, using Skype as they would be with the phone. But someone who’s testing your stated boundaries or pulling some sort of weird power play will keep pushing back anyway and can be marked on the Never List.

    • Wintermute said:

      Skype is unfortunately easy to fake, including the availability of voice changers and pitch shifting software that can be used to fake your gender and other things.

      However, a good compromise is a VoIP burner phone number that you can use for a single interaction or series of interactions and deactivate whenever you wish, with no chance they’ll have any personal information about you from what you’ve provided. That is the solution I’d recommend, honestly, for everyone’s safety: You can keep the conversation short and to the point, while still verifying identity, and if they are the type to misuse the number you gave them A) you’re not carrying it around on you all the time if you don’t want to be and B) the number can disappear effortlessly at your whim.

      • Traffic_Spiral said:

        I think if you do it the way Bunny suggests (with video so you can see each other’s faces) it’s harder to fake. Or am I just hopelessly out of the loop?

        • Using video makes it harder, but not impossible, but I would say it’s beyond the resources of a typical random jerk. In computer security we talk a lot about the “capabilities of the opposition”. Any security method can be broken given sufficient time and resources, but you can raise the technical expertise required to the point the typical “opposition” YOU will realistically face even in a worst-case scenario is confounded.

          I think that video over Skype is getting to the point that yes, you’re beyond the ability of a typical catfisher to spoof. Even using voice changing software would represent an above-average level of technical sophistication for such things.

          I would, however, feel more secure about a voice conversation over a burner phone app simply because it preserves a level of anonymity for myself. I don’t typically send pics (and I’m talking a face-shot here, not anything… er… well you know) until after voice confirmation, and capturing an image (and even using facial recognition software on it) over Skype is trivial.

          • Bunny said:

            My take was that LW didn’t express any *safety concerns* with speaking over the phone, it’s that phone voice conversations are anxiety-inducing that they want to avoid. They said they’re happy with texting, so they’re presumably already sharing phone numbers. I offered Skype as an alternative because I know that for me, it’s less anxiety-inducing if I can see the face of the person I’m speaking to – I’m able to make sense of the conversation easier.

            It would also allay any “we’ve never spoken how do I know you’re genuine” safety concerns *of the LW’s prospective dates who are pushing for phone calls* if that’s the reason they’re asking to call.

          • Bunny said:

            Pressed post before I was done because my hands are being annoying today.

            I don’t see how using a burner phone helps the LW because it doesn’t do anything to help avoid phone calls, which is the issue they’re having.

          • aebhel said:

            @Bunny, that was my impression as well. My primary concern probably wouldn’t be safety-related (I haven’t done the online dating thing, though, so maybe it’s just not on my radar) so much as I-hate-talking-on-the-phone-related. Skype or Google Hangouts would be less unpleasant for me, for many of the same reasons.

          • @ Bunny, Aebhel: Oh I agree that safety wasn’t the LW’s issue, but I was representing the OTHER side of the matter, why it may be a dealbreaker for some worthwhile partners and why it might be worth the LW dealing with a certain level of anxiety for their own safety at least enough for a brief phone verification/checkin and how to mitigate the potential of the phonecall going beyond that or the phone number being misused.

      • Hexiva said:

        Is . . . is that a thing that happens? Is that a thing it’s reasonable to be concerned about? “Faking your gender”? Voice changing software wouldn’t be enough, you’d also have to get into full drag, and at that point it’s like . . . how many cis men are actually eager to dress up like women in order to creep on people?

        I don’t know, maybe this really HAS happened to you, or maybe there’s a secret corner of the PUA community telling you how to do drag in order to get laid, but it kinda seems like . . . worrying about cis men sneaking into the women’s bathroom because of trans bathroom laws.

        • Anon, Goodnight said:

          One a related note, the people I’ve seen push the hardest for phone contact before meeting in person are cis het guys who are transphobic. They want to make sure their potential date is a cis woman by talking to her on the phone first. If you see the term “voice verify,” you are most likely dealing with a bigot who is afraid he will accidentally go on a date with a trans person.

          • JenniferP said:

            Thank you for this reminder that it can always get creepier.

          • ruinousillusion said:

            I’ve always gone for a last-minute vocal phone check-in because I’m a gay lady and for some reason straight dudes will sometimes troll the lady-looking-for-a-lady section because just thinking about their fake lady persona getting it on with a gay lady is something they found wank-worthy. Exchanging phone numbers, then calling five minutes prior to say “hey, got here early and am going to wait in the bookstore” is a good way to check that I’m not about to get stood up by a fantasizing dude. YMMV

          • Redgirl said:

            You bring up an interesting reason why someone might want to talk on the phone before a date, so thank you for that. Can we do away with the notion that “not interested in dating a transperson” = “bigot,” however? That’s as ludicrous as saying that because I don’t want to date women, I’m a misogynist. Dating is not hiring, or college admissions, or renting property. We’re allowed to choose not to date or have sex with people for any reason at all, even ones that other people might consider shallow.

        • Erin McJ said:

          Yeah, I was wondering the same.

    • Kacienna said:

      For me (also a phone hater), Skype is the worst of all worlds because it’s still not as robust as face to face communication, but they can see you, so you have to do things like wear clothes and look interested even if you’re not, and you’re kind of tethered to the computer rather than being able to walk around and do chores or something.

      • Nanani said:

        THIS

        Never again will I give my skype info to someone without being certain they won’t initiate a video call without prior arrangement =_-

      • My poor mom. I hate talking on the phone but she likes it, so I try to call her regularly. But I drew the line when she found me on skype – which I used for work – and wanted to skype me.

        1. I hate being on video
        2. I hate being tethered to a computer
        3. If I am on the phone with my mom, I can thumb through a magazine while she talks, which I know is rude and not giving her my full attention, but man do I hate listening to people on the phone

        My sister’s now husband, the first time I met him, was skyping with my mom. He asked if I wanted to jump in and I told him no, I was busy. So he brought his computer upstairs to me and tried to force me to skype with my mom. I. Was. Pissed.

      • sophylou said:

        Ohhh I hate Skype. I actually am a phone person and like phone conversations with people I know well. But I hate Skype. i hate how I look on Skype, I have to be at just the right angle not to look terrible, and I HATE when people have to look away from you on the screen to look at you on the camera and all of that. I hate trying to troubleshoot the technology (no, Dad, I don’t know why it’s not working, let’s just give up and talk on the phone, k? … all of which is 11000x worse if it’s a Skype interview)

      • sconn said:

        I hate the phone, but Skype is worse. You try to look them in the eye but you can’t. There’s always a lag so you always wind up talking over each other. If you manage to, for one second, feel natural, the connection breaks up. I imagined it would be like Star Trek, but it’s not. Their subspace calls come with zero delay — how does that even work??

        • zallie said:

          I do video calls all day for work (and hate it), but fwiw Skype is one of the worst video chat programs out there. I’m able to get fairly synchronous talking over Zoom or Google Hangouts (plus Hangouts lets you lower the video quality, which generally stops the lag). Seriously every time the client wants to use Skype I’m filled w dread bc I know it’s going to crap out on me. Doesn’t happen with other programs!

          TL;DR Skype is garbage

  2. Nanani said:

    Hi LW
    I hate the phone too, and while I’ve never had to set that boundary with dates (because I don’t date) I did have to set it with family members, service people, etc.
    I even have a history of choosing service providers specifically because they do appointment scheduling and the like by text instead of phone.
    I don’t have phone anxiety or really any anxiety, I just have a very strong preference for not being interrupted by a ringing device.

    If I can set that boundary and filter for people who will respect “no phone please” in something as low stakes as a tooth cleaning, I think you have every right to set it for people you want to go on dates with.

    One possible approach – for a lot of people and settings, phone is the default communication tool. I’ve gotten far by responding to “can I have your number” with “here’s my email, I check it constantly” or “just send me a DM” (for people I met online). If they meant “please give me a way to contact you”, this effectively solves it.
    Maybe you’ve already tried that and the other person insists specifically on phone, but just in case it helps 🙂

  3. Garbo said:

    Also, not being a phone person is also often an introvert thing. Not sure if that’s the case for Always Hoping, but that is an important compatibility issue to get worked out up front so that not answering the phone or wanting long calls isn’t perceived as a rejection if it’s not meant that way.

    • KStanley said:

      Often an introvert thing?

      Maybe, but don’t bet on it. If there are enough hateful phone experiences, ANYONE will flinch at the sound of the phone. Oddly, I flinch at personal calls, but my desk phone at work does not bother me unless someone really drones on.

  4. Psyche said:

    GoogleVoice is your friend. That’s the number I used to give potential dates when a phone was needed: not-my-number, just a-number-that-forwards-to-me.

    But +1000 that’s only if/when you want to give a phone number. Otherwise, yes, Thank You Universe for alerting me this person (who blows past my clearly stated preferences) is not someone I want to get to know better.

    • Purple snowdrop said:

      Google Voice needs to stop just being a US thing. I need it!

  5. Jiu Jiu said:

    When I was doing online dating, I would be super clear about things like this. For example, on the OK dating site, I wanted to meet RIGHT away, so I put in the “I’m interested in people who…” section “want to meet right away. Not interested in having long, drawn out chats before meeting.” For something like this particular quirk, I’d put it under the same section: “are okay with chatting or texting, but are not interested in long phone conversations.”

    When random person did start to chit chat with me online (my pet peeve), I said to him, “Hey – I’m really not much of a chat person – I prefer to use that time to chat with close friends or family. If you want to meet up, that’s awesome, but the chat thing isn’t my bag. Thank you for understanding.” I generally had zero problem with it.

    My overall feeling when dating was if I put a boundary up and dude pressured me about it, that was my “I’m done” notification. It was weird and uncomfortable, so I was just done. I would meet dudes for a quick coffee in the afternoon as a sort of pre-date. Only one guy gave me crap about it. “I’m not getting a *coffee* with you because I’m not a high-schooler.” I decided he was not worth meeting. To give the opposite, when we were dating, my husband missed his train and was stuck in my city, and rather than offering my apartment for him to sleep in, I said “What are you going to do?” I ended up helping him find a hotel/spa to stay at for the night and we met up for breakfast the next day. If he had tried to pressure me into letting him stay with him I would have never seen him again.

    • trying to figure out the “not a high schooler” comment. like. does he think only teens like coffee? 🤔

      • VG said:

        I’m guessing he thought there should be alcohol on an “adult” date, which would be even more worrying imo.

      • Sounds to me like “adults have dates in the evening when there is a cultural script for going home together and banging afterwards, whereas afternoon coffee does not provide the same opportunity for sex and thus is for people who do not want the chance to leap straight into the sack, which in my mind should only ever mean children, what kind of child are you that you don’t want to include the possibility of fucking on this our very first date”?

        To which I agree that the correct response is “Kindly get in the sea forever,” as perfectly demonstrated above.

        • Erin McJ said:

          “Kindly get in the sea forever” <- I LOVE THIS

    • the815 said:

      **When random person did start to chit chat with me online (my pet peeve),**

      But isn’t that…how you meet people on OKCupid (or did, when looking)? You didn’t chat with people at all to assess whether they were worth meeting, it was just, “Hi, I like your profile, let’s meet” or is there a piece I’m missing..?

      • JenniferP said:

        You can message them through the app (like email) or there is a built-in messenger program for back-and-forth chat (like gchat or AIM or FB messenger). I also did not like the back-and-forth chat and said so in my profile when I had one. Some people like it! Not everyone does. In my experience it was the home of a) dudes who wanted to have SEXY chats b) dudes who like to harass women c) boring lazy dudes who wanted someone to entertain them on demand and it wasn’t worth subjecting myself to that in case a cool dude wandered in.

        • the815 said:

          It’s been so long since I’ve been on OKCupid that I honestly forgot about the instant message chat function. Messages you can respond to when you have free time, but chats are “real time” – ah! Now I remember. That does make sense.

          That annoyed me, too. It was also annoying when they wanted my number to text rather than just using the dating site platform. I always assumed it was because they wanted to send me “naughty” pics that the site wouldn’t allow – that happened a couple times, so I promptly shut it down after that. That, or they just wanna text endlessly without actually meeting.

          • TO_Ont said:

            Usually they just want to text endlessly without meeting.

            Though sometimes it’s because they don’t want to install the app and get notifications, and they prefer text to having to keep going and checking their mailbox.

          • TO_Ont said:

            Usually they just want to text endlessly without meeting.

            Though sometimes it’s because they don’t want to install the app and get notifications, and they prefer text to having to keep going and checking their mailbox.

          • the815 said:

            It’s kinda like the difference between placing a sealed envelope on someone’s desk (they can open and read the contents at their leisure) versus tapping on their shoulder over and over – “Hi! Hi! Hi! What’s going on? Whatcha doin’? Why aren’t you responding?” UGH. Yeah, it is annoying and presumptuous to assume someone you’ve never met is THAT excited to talk to you and will drop everything that minute to do so.

        • Yeah, that about sums up my experience with it. I lasted on OKCupid all of two or three days before I deleted my account. There was this guy way too young for me, as clearly indicated on my profile, who kept hoping I’d be up for sexy chat with him. I can’t think of anything I’d find more tedious than sexy chat with some random stranger.

          There was a lazy guy who at least did fit my age range who kept sending me “winks”. He sent one, I sent one back, and he sent another one. When I didn’t respond, he sent more. I disabled that feature. So he started sending one-word chat messages, “hey”. Between him and young-and-lonely-tell-me-I’m-sexy guy, I shut off the chat feature. So then lazy guy and young-and-lonely both started sending me messages, with lazy guy’s being one word again, “hey”.

          In the meantime, I was getting floods of messages, and responding to the ones that at least showed a real attempt at conversation based on my profile. That wasn’t going so well either, though. For example, under “last tv show watched”, I’d answered Sarah Connor Chronicles, because watching Summer Glau beat things up never gets old. One guy started a plausible conversation on that, but then the problematic stuff came out pretty fast — he announced that the show is “misandrist”. I said I hadn’t seen the misandrist parts, so could he fill me in? He said it seemed the like most important characters who were the driving force of the action were women. I said, “So every show in existence has to center around male characters as the only important ones, or it’s misandrist?”

          I kid you not, he replied, “Yes”. At that point I decided that there was too much garbage and not enough content in what I’d seen on OKCupid so far, canceled the dates I had set up, and deleted my account.

          • the815 said:

            OMG, wow. I haven’t been on it in 3 years because I’m in a relationship, but when I was in the thick of it, I remember taking LONG breaks and learning to filter people out very quickly. I always went back to it because I didn’t really know a better way to meet people that I knew were single, but avoiding time wasters and preventing burnout was a very real concern.

        • Klara said:

          You’re absolutely right about a, b, & c.

      • TO_Ont said:

        I will chat with people on OKC a little bit if they prefer it, but to me the point of going to all the trouble of writing a profile and answering all those questions is so you have enough of a sense of whether you want to meet in person.

        I don’t find back and forth messages in text tend to add all that much, and sometimes they put you off someone just because it was a boring conversation (because they’re a stranger and you haven’t talked with them in person enough to find what kind of conversations you like to have). I don’t really mind them, and they have occasionally saved me meeting someone who text let me know was annoying or a jerk, but mostly they’re kind of a waste of time, IMO.

  6. Amy said:

    I have a definite phone phobia, and everyone in my life knows not to bother calling me. My mom is the only exception, and even that is a scheduled weekly call, not a spontaneous thing or a daily thing.

    When it comes to new people (whether it’s friends or dating), I’m pretty upfront about it. “I don’t pick up phone calls. If it’s an emergency, leave a voicemail or send a text (telling me what the situation is–‘call me asap’ doesn’t count, tell me ‘X is in the hospital’), and I’ll call you back. If it’s not an emergency, I will message you back when I have a minute (which may be five minutes later or five hours later, no guarantees).” Most people respect that just fine! It’s a silly quirk of mine, it’s easy to work around with texting and internet, it’s really not a big deal. My friends know it’s not personal, and mostly think it’s funny at this point.

    The occasional person comes along who doesn’t respect it well. Either they really want to push me to communicate the way they want to, or they’re just so ingrained in their own patterns that they forget it doesn’t work for me. I figure these people are not people I’m meant to be close to–I don’t want to be close to someone who stomps all over my boundaries to get their own way, and if someone is that firmly stuck in a communication style that doesn’t work with mine, we’re probably not going to work out well in the long run.

    I also don’t give out my phone number until we’re actually starting to get close. Pretty much everyone has smartphones–if an online date needs to let me know they’re running late, they can login and message me. They don’t need my number until I’m ready to give it.

  7. Sarah said:

    I agree that “I’m not a phone person” or “I just really hate talking on the phone but I’m excited to meet you!” are both perfectly acceptable things to say. I am similar to you, pretty much the only person I talk on the phone with is my mom, or my husband if we are in different cities for a few days for a work trip or whatever.

    Also, although I am now married, I did a lot of online dating to get there. 🙂 And I will say, anyone who started getting “pushy” before I had even met them pretty much universally turned out to be TERRIBLE. Like one memorable guy who really wanted to pick me up for our first date (previously we had never met) in his car rather than meeting somewhere transit-accessible (in our very transit-accessible city), because it would be more convenient for him. And when I declined, went on a lengthy rant about how I must assume all men are rapists and that’s really mean. Um, dude, I was not assuming you were a rapist BUT NOW I DEFINITELY AM.

    • whingedrinking said:

      In my experience, men who accuse you of paranoia for being cautious about their motives are 100% always guys who think women take “partial blame” for being raped.

  8. Nicole said:

    LW, SOOO many people hate phone conversations! So you aren’t being weird or rude by bringing this up. And hopefully it will help you find someone who feels the way you do too- after all, wouldn’t it suck to be in a relationship with someone who wants to spend hours on the phone with you? (Because some people do).

    My BF is a HUGE phone call person. He doesn’t like text and he really likes calling me to talk on days we don’t see each other. I fall squarely in the middle- I wouldn’t initiate the calls (except occasionally), but I take them because I know they matter to him. But if phone calls really stressed me out, it would be a constant stress to know that my partner had this expectation. Different communication styles are a legitimate reason to not date someone! Keep your boundaries and march on with other texters!

    • I am a phone call person because my cell phone is a flip phone. Texting on it takes way too long. I cannot afford a smart phone and wouldn’t know how to use one anyway.

      • Kacienna said:

        Funny, I’m a text person because my cell phone is a flip phone! I can almost touch type with the 10 key system. I’ve resisted getting a smartphone because I’d be so much slower with the tiny keyboard.

        • Hrovitnir said:

          Yes! I was much more efficient on my old non-smartphone. I did have a Windows phone and their swipe-to-text was wonderful. Now I’ve surrendered to Android, their swipe-to-text is pretty crap and the keyboard is not really doing it for me. *sigh* I need my fancy portable camera!

          • twomoogles said:

            I really hate touchscreen typing! I think it might be because my job IRL involves a ton of computer typing and I’m just too used to it. I used to send epic texts all the time, back when I had a Blackberry in like 2005-ish, but now only informational necessary text exchanges really happen. I love my smartphone in all ways except for this.

          • I use Swype, it’s not perfect but it’s pretty reasonable. Autocorrect manages to be the weirdest when I’m upset, though.

          • Emma9 said:

            @twomoogles

            And this is exactly why I’m clinging to my Blackberry Bold even though the screen is cracked, and will only consider migrating to the Blackberry Classic when it finally goes. No touchscreen-only smartphone can have a range of apps that makes it worth losing my beloved QWERTY keys and trackpad.

  9. Convallaria majalis said:

    Dear LW,

    I know exactly what you are going through – I am just like you, so I wanted to express you my sympathies and send you a Jedi hug (if you want one). You are not alone!

    I hope my example can bring you some hope because I happened to find a spouse who hates talking in phone just as much as I do. I actually think it is not that rare; nowadays it is just quite easy to avoid calling anyone so people might not even realize their aversion to using phones. It truly sucks that the men you have met have insisted on calling you on phone. Just like usually The Captain again gave solid advice, which I also recommend: if possible try to find compatible persons and stick to your boundaries. It is not you who are wrong, it is them; it is a clear signal that they are not that nice to begin with.

    When I was a teenager in 90’s I, too, chatted happily with boys in phone, but then again, back then we did not really have good alternatives. I actually miss wrapping my fingers around the twisting chord. Nowadays it is much easier to type; chat messages, text messages and e-mails have so many perks. They are a very good way to send instructions or information one needs to remember correctly like addresses, birthdays, shopping lists, you name it.

    I wonder whether you are like me, whether your aversion comes from aiming for perfection and trying to please others? When talking to new people, especially if they are not native speakers of your language or they have an unusual accent or dialect it can sometimes be very hard to initially understand what they are saying. To me this happens even with people who are native speakers of the same language I am (not English); for some reason some people are just more difficult to understand. Perhaps it has something to do with the rhythm they speak with, their pronounciation, their choise of words… I have always found it embarrassing to admit that for a few minutes I have a hard time understanding them. When I meet them face to face this problem does not usually exist; it only happens when speaking on a phone.

    If I am working I can deal with using phones; for some reason being in a work role helps. Perhaps work-related phone calls are different, more structured; one knows what to expect of them. When I am speaking just as my usual awkward self, the awkwardness suddenly multiplies and oh boy am I swimming in sweaty pool of desperation and embarrasment.

    This has cost me a few budding friendships (no, I really do not want to spend an hour each day talking with a warming cell phone against my sweaty ear), but I do not think we were ever that compatible to begin with. With my husband we only call each other if it is truly urgent and those calls only last for a few minutes.

    May there always be heart-warming messages for you in a text format.

    Take care!

    • sconn said:

      I know in my case I have some trouble with auditory processing. Without some visual cues to help me, the words all seem to blur together, or I have trouble paying attention. My hearing is fine, but my brain just doesn’t like audio-only. I never listen to podcasts either.

      I don’t tell people this, I just sort of avoid phone calls. I know I’m not the only one though — clearly there’s a whole lot of reasons people don’t like phones!

      • Kacienna said:

        Yes, this is me too! I generally don’t do podcasts for the same reason!

  10. Jenna said:

    I totally feel you. When I was online dating, I INEVITABLY found that this was what happened:

    1. Emailed back and forth with someone for a bit using the site messaging system; decided to meet up
    2. Guy asks for number; I give it
    3. Guy proceeds to send Very Frequent Texts over the week before we’re supposed to meet up; sometimes would get angry if I didn’t respond within minutes; texts would often be boring “how’s ur Tuesday?” texts where I am expected to carry the emotional burden of making the conversation interesting; it is all Way Too Much
    4. Sometimes guy would randomly call and want to have a conversation (usually at a time that didn’t work for me to drop everything and talk, like at work or walking somewhere)

    Occasionally there would also be dick pics or attempts at sexting too (before we even met). I had SUCH a bad experience giving out my number that I completely stopped. Then I got a LOT of pushback about not giving it out until the day of the date, and I used that as a weeding-out mechanism; if a guy couldn’t respect such a low-stakes boundary as that, then I didn’t want to meet them anyway. Needless to say most people got weeded out.

    I don’t know if it was my market (I’m in Brooklyn, dating guys in their 30s mostly, the occasional woman in her 30s–I rarely had this problem with women) or the fact that a lot of dating coaches were all giving guys the same advice–there was one whose blog I read for a while who was very dogmatic about the guy messaging a girl, then requesting a phone number and doing a phone call, then scheduling a date Every Time Like Clockwork. But my sense of things was that failing to engage in conversation at the drop of a hat was failing to entertain or cultivate them, and saying “no” at any point in this process was a total buzzkill for the guys and seemed to make everything stressful for me as well as them. I never figured out how to gracefully say it while maintaining a positive ambience. Anyway, I stopped online dating.

    • JenniferP said:

      Not just Brooklyn, this was my experience, too = SO MANY TIMES giving my number to a dude meant he now saw me as a constant free source of distraction and entertainment totally on his schedule without putting anything interesting out into the world himself. I remember yell-texting at some dude to get a dog if he needed that much attention and affirmation and then I stopped giving out my number.

      • Jackalope said:

        My personal favorite was a guy who got my phone # through a creepy method and then started hitting me up. A week or two into this he texted me to ask what would be a good present for his mom since he *knew* I was good at that sort of thing. Ummm…. My mom died when I was a preteen. I have NO clue, dude. Even if I’d met your mom.

        • CommanderBanana said:

          Whhhhhhhhhhhhhat. Unless you are the Gift Psychic, Psychic of Gifting, that is just bizarre.

    • rj said:

      yeah dudes often give me their numbers before meeting up. (am woman who dates men). I never reciprocate. Until I have met, and decided that I liked them. Because of all the reasons you list above happening to friends. It’s not just a brooklyn thing.

    • Anon, Goodnight said:

      Ugh. That whole getting upset at not receiving a return text quickly is awful. Years ago, I worked in a high-security building. I was literally not allowed to bring a cell phone to my desk. In fact, I had to leave my whole purse in a locker outside of the secure area. I went on a date with a guy that went really well, and I was open to more dates. I explained that the lack of access to my phone meant that I frequently didn’t respond to texts 4-8 hours, possibly more and that it didn’t mean anything. He said he was cool with that. He was not cool with that. The next day when I got off work, there were at least TEN texts on my phone from him, with several of them being the “why won’t you answer?!!?!?” variety. Then he called a few minutes after I got home from work. I used my words (again) to tell him clearly to NOT DO THIS if he was interested in dating me. He apologized and agreed to change his behavior. We went on to have a nice conversation, which ended with him saying that he would call me later in the week. He didn’t call, and I got busy with other things. And then out of the blue, I get a barrage of texts accusing me of leading him on when I wasn’t interested, whining about why didn’t I reach out to him, and telling me never to contact him again. WTF?

      • What a twerpwaffle. Sorry you experienced that.

        • Anon, Goodnight said:

          It was weird and frustrating, but I was kind of amused when he flounced off at the end–saving me the trouble of telling him to go away. “Never contact me again.” No problem, dude. No problem.

          • *snerk*

            I once told a guy I went out on a date with: “I hate talking on the phone. Also, I don’t carry my phone at work. I only answer my phone for my children and my best friend. Text me! Please text me, I like you and would love to chat with you. But do not call. If you call me I will not answer the phone. If you text me I might call you back; more likely I will text you back and we can have a lovely chat and that would be awesome.” I literally told him this, in these words.

            He called. I ignored him.

            He called again. I ignored him again.

            A few days later I ran into him in public (at work, actually; I work in a public-facing environment, which is why I don’t carry my phone) and he asked me why I didn’t answer his calls. I told him, “I told you I don’t answer the phone. Text me anytime!”

            He did not text me. Self-ghosting creeper! Bullet dodged!

      • Jack V said:

        It often seems like people literally don’t understand someone not being on a phone (or computer). Like, yes, sometimes they’re seeing your messages they’re just not getting back to you immediately. And bothering them about it is rude or creepy, but could theoretically work. But if I’m, say, driving, then if you send me a bunch more messages [1] I’m not going to psychically see them somehow because you’re more intense…

        [1] Exception: if someone calls me multiple times I will try to pull over somewhere and call them back. Please do this if you’re meeting me and can’t make it, or something. But only when it’s actually urgent!

        • whingedrinking said:

          I’m a teacher and a tutor. For up to eight hours a day I may be in a room with a computer and my cell phone, but I don’t generally use either of them except for things related to teaching my students. You would be *amazed* at how many people don’t understand that I cannot have a phone conversation, or more than a very quick text or email one, during class time (I can literally dedicate about 90 seconds to drafting a message then). If you want to call me during business hours, I can be reached between 1:45 and 2:30 PM, when I am prepping before I go to my private students. Why yes, that is a narrow window. It’s also the only time you won’t definitely get my voicemail. Email me and I will get back to you!

      • aebhel said:

        Ugh, what a jerk. I’m generally bad about answering the phone and responding to text messages; part of it is just flakiness, and part of it is that I resent the expectation that I’m going to interrupt what I’m doing because somebody wants to talk to me Right Now–and that’s with people I know! If some dude I went on one date with acted like that, I’d be beyond furious.

    • Nanani said:

      WTF people who expect immediate response to text

      It’s ASYNCHRONOUS COMMUNICAITON for a reason

      • Anon, Goodnight said:

        Right?!?

    • Convallaria majalis said:

      Oh, Jenna, that sounds awful! And unsolicited dick pics, eww! It still escapes me why would anyone send a dick pic unless asked first.

      Thank you all for putting these things in words: emotional labor, providing entertainment = work. You would not ask your future date to vacuum clean your house; you should not ask them for any other kind of work, either unless there is a mutual agreement.

      Thank you so much. Reading this site is slowly liberating me from doing emotional labor for everyone around me and I believe I am not the only one.

      Best of luck to you, Jenna!

      • This is not the only reason, but it was interesting (related to dick pics): Tumblr Link

        • Yeah, I’ve heard the like of that before. If dudes want women like me to feel free to tell them they look good or sexy, they need to band together and make each other clean up their acts, so that women like me CAN tell them they look good or sexy without the threat of terrifying consequences. Until they do that, I’m unimpressed with that kind of whining.

          • Not arguing your point at all. Just throwing it out there as a data point.

          • Convallaria majalis said:

            Uh, I am clearly quite late with the comment, but… I still do not get why they want to send dick pics. I mean, why not send a picture of their elbows or knees or feet first? I wonder if anyone has ever formed a relationship with someone who sent and unasked-for dic pick to them?

            I do not really get the thing about compliments. In my culture it is quite uncommon to comment the bodies of other people at all; compliments may be offered in certain situations (like for a bride), but other than that… Nope – and still people in here send dick pics.

            Now that I think of it, perhaps that is a plus for a phone call.

        • Oh, ugh, I read further and it gets worse, about poor men who have never once received a compliment from a stranger on their appearance. If that is so very sad for these guys, WHY ARE THEY NOT BANDING TOGETHER AND COMPLIMENTING EACH OTHER? SHEESH.

          • JenniferP said:

            #dudesgreetingdudes
            #dudescomplimentingdudes

            It is the answer!

          • Yes it is.

            Women compliment each other a lot. We have complicated mores about it and how it is done or not done varies from place to place and group to group, but we do it enough to keep it low stakes and we band together against anyone who tries to make it high-stakes or mean.

            Men can do the same with each other.

            Shout out to all you nice women out there: I’ve been having some issues with weight gain to the point of not recognizing myself and having some trouble finding clothes that fit as I am now. But when I managed to find some, so at least I look nicely put together, all of you have been saying things like, “You look so pretty!” when I least expect it. Thank you all.

        • …. this is why dudes need feminism too. All the things they’re complaining about are things that feminism is trying to change.

    • EM said:

      Is that “dating coach” Evan Marc Katz? I sometimes read his blog and then imagine what it would be like (how. much. better!) if Captain Awkward wrote the replies instead. It’s sort of like reading the comments at the bottom of YouTube videos – I hate myself doing it, but sometimes I’m curious.

      • Jenna said:

        Omg yes it was!!

    • omg, that part about being expected to make the conversation interesting! so many dudes do this!

      • slfisher said:

        I used to use IRC and that sort of thing happened all the time.

        “Let’s chat.”

        Ok.

        “What do you want to talk about?”

        Uh, you’re the one who wanted to chat. What did *you* want to talk about?

        • SingHallelujah said:

          When this happens to me I always assume they want me to send them masturbatory fodder.

          • Friendly Hipposcriff said:

            You want to know what really, REALLY excites me? Here’s a raw dataset I just found…

          • OMG! I just got hold of 15 gigs of data from a transient event! Let me narrate my thought process to you while I spend the weekend spelunking through it!

            What do you mean that’s not sexy? I’m not even wearing a bra!

      • aebhel said:

        Ugh, yeah. I’m extremely introverted, so for me to engage with a person socially–especially a person I don’t know well and have no relationship with–it has to be more enjoyable than sitting and scrolling through Tumblr or reading a book or whatever it was I would be doing otherwise. People who want to take up my time and social energy but can’t be bothered to contribute anything to the conversation are the Worst. Like, you’re the one who wants to talk, it’s on you to be entertaining!

        I mean, I’ve had nice conversations with strangers, but not a one of them has started with ‘hey. let’s chat. about whatever.’

    • AndTheRest said:

      It’s happened to me, although not often, and I’m in the western US. The last time it happened, the man was extremely unpleasant (blew up my phone with angry texts) when things did not work out for our first date. I feel very lucky that things went wrong and we couldn’t meet — hail of bullets from .50 caliber machine gun dodged. But it has made me very reluctant to try OLD again.

    • Sarah said:

      A now-former friend once gave my phone number to some random man her boyfriend lives near under the impression I must be interested in dating since I was newly single, and he’d met me, he was interested! Except she accidently gave him the kid’s number. His first communication was a dick pic. That went badly for everybody.

    • 3. Guy proceeds to send Very Frequent Texts over the week before we’re supposed to meet up; sometimes would get angry if I didn’t respond within minutes; texts would often be boring “how’s ur Tuesday?” texts where I am expected to carry the emotional burden of making the conversation interesting; it is all Way Too Much

      OMG thank you for putting this in words. I could not figure out why I HATE the “good morning beautiful!” or “how’s your afternoon?” texts. Like, now I have to stop what I’m doing, figure out HOW I am doing, and then make conversation with this person I don’t even know. Though, I’m a bi-lady and most ladies do this as well and I hate it from everyone (including friends!) – regardless of their intention.

      Also, I recently had a guy block me because I didn’t respond to him fast enough. It had been 3 hours. Good. Riddance.

      • Emma9 said:

        Yeah, this is my Reason B for not responding to messages that don’t refer to anything from my profile on OKC. Reason A, obviously, is if you’re not interested enough to do more than copy-and-paste the same thing you’re sending to every female you can find, go away, but it’s already convenient to ignore them because if I *did* want to respond to one of these charmers, I’d have to be the one who dug a conversational hook out of ‘Hi’.

  11. isabeausuro said:

    LW, you are so not alone! I haaaaate talking on the phone. Always have, probably always will. I will do it as necessary but I don’t enjoy it.

    …and I have been in a relationship with someone who wanted to talk All. The. Damn. Time. Phone calls! Video calls! Everything! And I was trapped in the vortex of OMG Someone Actually Likes Me, This Is A Stunning Revelation I Thought I Would Die Alone so I was willing to sacrifice my own desires in favor of hers.

    I can tell you this: I didn’t get any more fond of phone calls. I tolerated them but never went “ooh yay” at getting a call. And after our relationship fizzled it was SUCH A RELIEF to not have phone calls.

    In retrospect, there were plenty of things I tolerated for the sake of Being In A Relationship that I shouldn’t have felt obligated to. Not that my partner was bad for preferring phone chats, just … not compatible.

  12. letter writer, there are multiple entire bits comedians rely on about how millennials won’t talk on the phone, and over 50% of the people I know (including myself) have serious phone anxiety issues, so no, it is not remotely weird! also, like cap said, I don’t think you need to worry about being rude; if someone is offended or pushy when you say you don’t do phone convos, that is not someone you want in your life.

    • Friendly Hipposcriff said:

      Just wanting to nth this – not a millennial, and I have worked in computer support where I had to call strangers for a living, but I *hate* phone calls, my business card says ‘SMS’ and I always ask to be texted/e-mailed or warn people that I will not pick up the phone.

      My ringtone is silence. Non-negotiable boundary.

      • You are the one who will get just how insane it felt to me the time I had to call a client in Germany and had to just start speaking English down the phone and hope whoever was on the other end could figure out how to connect me with the person who wanted my help.

        After that I memorized enough in German and a few other languages to at least ask for the right person to come to the phone, but the Germans never stopped laughing hysterically at my pronunciation. So I started speaking French at them mixed with random Japanese words.

        • Friendly Hipposcriff said:

          Boo to the Germans!

          That reminds me of the time when our French-speaking helpdesker was away, and I needed to urgently tell the person with the fucked-up computer that no-one was available to help them. In French.

  13. One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given by a therapist was that my phone is for my convenience, not for other people’s. I now only answer the phone IF I recognize the number, IF it’s someone I want to talk to, or IF there’s a non-zero chance it might be an emergency. I also tend not to listen to my voicemails. People who know me know to text and (with the exception of my mother because boundaries) that it may take me as much as a day to get back to them.

    I, too, am a not-fond-of-phone-conversations person, to the point that if I had my way I probably wouldn’t ever call anybody even for work-related things. I’d rather text or face-to-face, where I can actually read your body language. Phones mess up my ability to read tone.

    Basically: I agree with everyone else. I think this is a good way to winnow people out — it’s a small boundary, and if they won’t listen to you about small boundaries I’d hate to see what they’d do with bigger ones.

  14. MJRawr said:

    I hate talking on the phone. LOATHE it. I only do it begrudgingly with my parents, and to make the occasional appointment (but holy crap, the number of places that will text or use FB messenger or *insert method of electronic communication* has skyrocketed over the years and I love them all for that). I text the partner the vast majority of the time (or email). And nothing puts me in a bad mood more than people that think they can help me “get over” it. I more or less never answer my phone unless it’s my parents (and even they get relegating until I feel more up to it not infrequently). Most people know to text me, and other people that don’t know that but may be important will leave a voice mail. I haven’t been in the dating pool for a while, but someone insisting upon berating me for not wanting to talk on the phone all the time would absolutely be a deal breaker for me, so do not feel bad about this! It’s ok!

    I don’t really have any solid advice for getting the message through kindly, however, I’m sorry. I’ve just made my peace over the years that if it hurts someone’s feelings that I don’t want to talk on the phone with them, so be it. I just do my thing of not answering the vast majority of the time (sometimes I will text them right after not taking the call. But only if I’m pretty certain that person will not ‘see that I’m available and call me when they get the text,’ that’s the worst >.> )

    • Nanani said:

      Responding to asynchronous (email, text…) with synchronous (voice and/or video) call IS. THE. WORST.

      *unless the text says something like “call me when you see this” or the like, obvs.

    • Where I work, I’ve noticed an increasing trend to ask people’s permission on chat before calling them. The technical people seem to prefer this, whereas the business development and management people would rather you just call them without asking.

      With anyone who asks my permission before calling me, I try to make sure I always do the same when I want to call them.

  15. +1 for anti-phone conversations.

    My bf prefers phone conversations – even short ones – instead of texting but that’s mostly because he has a tremor and texting is physically hard for him. Thing is, when I met him I liked him so much that I *wanted* to have phone conversations. just with him, though. Not anybody else – I still hate phone calls with other people. Phone calls are reserved for situations where the information is too complex for text and it’s easier to explain via phone; and for calling family/friends when voice calls are needed (ie my mum’s birthday, when my sister got a job and needed some enthusiasm etc).

    In the end it comes down to: do you like this person enough to tolerate phone conversations?
    Best case scenario: you like this person so much you naturally overcome your dislike of phone conversations.
    Otherwise: it’s fine to walk away.

  16. Haha, I had the exact opposite problem! I agree that this can be a good litmus test of whether or not you and this person should keep interacting. Here is my success story below:

    When I was doing online dating, after the first date this one guy starting texting me pretty regularly. I decided to message him via the dating website and explicitly stated that texting was not my preferred mode of communication. How he responded to my message was really a make or break moment for us. He not only respected my boundary, he actually thanked me for sharing this with him and said that he really respected how upfront I was being. He told me after we had been dating for a while that the interaction made him like me a lot more because it showed him that I was good at communication. We have been together over >5 years now.

    If it helps anyone with scripts, here is what I said in my message:

    “I wanted to apologize if I was being offputting when you were texting me yesterday. It did not at all have anything to do with me not liking you, so I wanted to explain: 

1) I honestly just really dislike texting as a mode of communication. I know some people send a constant stream of chatty text messages with their friends, but I am not one of those people. I think texting is great for quick functional messages, but it is just not how I like to communicate with people. I would prefer to have high quality interaction time or none at all…so I generally prefer email, letters, phone calls, and best of all in person interaction. 

2) I am sincerely a busy person. I go to a very challenging school and I take my academics very seriously. I really do spend most of my time working, so when I say I can’t talk because I am working it is the honest truth. And I do find it extremely distracting to get a stream of texts while I am working. This might be my fault…I am not very good at ignoring text messages. 

Anyways, if you are feeling like you want to talk with me before I see you again next Thursday, I would recommend sending me a message and then I can get back to you in my own time, when I feel like taking a break. 
”

    • peeta8 said:

      I love this — I wish everyone had a script to share with new people re: their preferred and disliked communication methods.

      I noticed what I called “the Just thing” when a colleague and I were both trying to reach people; he would say “why don’t you JUST call them?” and I would say “why don’t we JUST email them?” Our defaults were different. He preferred the immediacy & no paper trail; I preferred the not-interrupting and yes paper trail.

      I like to learn people’s defaults — especially when making new friends or trying to date.

    • Ginger said:

      As I was reading through all these comments, I was working on a similar script for myself for dating: I do like texting BUT I have come to realize that, since I can *rarely* see anyone I am dating more than once or mayyyyybe twice a week, having regular phone calls or skype is actually really important to me! So when a guy I was into has been having Major Life Issues and I suggested that since we could see each other so infrequently due to that, that he should call me sometimes, and then he…didn’t…I backed off big time because I need more than words on the screen. Odds are good that if I saw someone more frequently this would be less important to me, but that’s just not my life right now and this is a basic need of mine that I’ve realized is…actually super important to me! Yay for figuring out another compatibility basic. 🙂 (And I like your note to DatePerson, it’s great.)

  17. I am also a person who generally hates phone calls (it’s actually a pretty common dislike/phobia/anxiety). I hate it to the point where it almost is a real anxiety issue in that while it doesn’t quite stop me from making calls I need to make, it comes pretty close. It is something I would maybe like to fix about myself.

    That being said, there is absolutely no reason why someone (especially a relative stranger) is OWED phone contact from you, especially when you’re making efforts to contact them in other ways. I would happily use this as a weeding-out mechanism. If you can’t handle a simple (and totally reasonable) “I’m not a phone person. Can we text/email/whatever instead?” then you aren’t someone I want to date.

    • TO_Ont said:

      I dislike phone calls but can handle them, so when someone asks to talk on the phone I often end up with the dilemma of a) do I agree and then risk spoiling a potential relationship with an awkward, stiff conversation when we might have actually got along under more favourable conditions or b) do I say no to something I mildly dislike but that isn’t the end of the world and risk missing out on meeting some perfectly nice interesting person who just has anxiety about meeting people in person and finds a phone call helps.

      Plus I’m rarely home in the evenings so scheduling a phone call is a pain unless I am willing to skip a hobby day.

  18. Serin said:

    Aw, man, I’ve been in a commuter marriage for two years, and my spouse (whom I have loved since 1982) is turning out to be a Phone Call Every Day person. Like we spent this weekend together, and then he came to my place on Monday and stayed over until Wednesday morning … and then he called me Wednesday night! My darling, I just saw you this morning, and the part of my job that isn’t boring is confidential, and there is just nothing to talk about!

    I have nothing useful to add, just sympathies and reassurance that you’re not the only one who doesn’t enjoy talking on the phone.

  19. Lurker2209 said:

    I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 7 months and we’ve had exactly one phone conversation, about three months in when a relative passed away unexpectedly and I just needed to process my shock out loud. I’m not really phone adverse and neither is he; we just see each other in person very frequently and text a lot. It’s never seemed necessary to talk on the phone. We didn’t meet online; we were aquainted before he asked me out so I didn’t have any safety concerns that hearing his voice would have helped. So it’s totally possible to have a relationship without phone conversations and not have it be a big thing–with the right person.

  20. Amy said:

    Slightly off topic thing: Is calling someone in advance of a date really something people do for safety? I mean…I’m all for safety in online dating–you are meeting a stranger from the internet, and strangers always involve a certain amount of risk, so trying to mitigate that makes sense.

    But I’m not understanding how calling first does that. I’m realllly not a phone person, so this might be lack of experience talking…but all I feel like I know about a stranger after talking to them on the phone is whether they have an accent (which has nothing to do with whether the person might be safe for me or not). What’s the theory on this?

    • MamaCheshire said:

      In my admittedly limited and not at all recent experience, part of what you would know after talking to this person on the phone is that this person did actually intentionally sign up for a dating site and this isn’t all an elaborate prank or worse (and potentially that you aren’t hearing certain kinds of sounds in the background that are not congruent with what this person has said about themself).

      It may also be a holdover from when more people had land lines and were in the phone book and you could look up that last and first name and see that yep, there is a John Doe at 555-6789 listed.

      • Amy said:

        I can definitely see how it would be more useful if you could cross-reference it with the phone book. By the time I started dating, cell phones and Google Voice were normal, so that’s maybe a generational difference!

      • 5 Leaf Clover said:

        I’ve been on lots of internet dates and never requested a phone call first. For your exact reasons – we’re meeting in a public place that will be safe, and I will find out then if they’re a real person. I more got the sense that the Captain was giving the pushy men in question a tiny sliver of the doubt – “maaaaaybe they want to talk for safety reasons?” – as the only sliver of a reasonable explanation someone could reasonably give for insisting on this.

        • lunchcoma said:

          I think that’s the wrong sliver, for sure, but I’m a little bemused that the comments are full of phone-avoidant who cant understand why someone would want to talk on the phone. The answer is pretty easy – some people dislike texting or emailing, but still want to communicate a little with someone before agreeing to a date. People have all sorts of communication needs, and that means people can be incompatible without ill intent.

          • Viva said:

            This.

            I’m a phone person (came of age in the 70s and 80s) and I’m very extroverted so I love to talk. Dating someone who only texted or emailed would be a dealbreaker for me. I can’t read tone or get a sense of personality quirks through text or email. Neither preference is wrong or right; communication preferences need to align or it’s dead in the water from the get-go.

          • Amy said:

            Oh, yeah, no, my question was specifically about how this could be a SAFETY measure. Using them for general communication is definitely legit (though not compatible with me personally).

    • meadowphoenix said:

      If the person on the phone sounds nothing like the person you meet, that can be a quick clue to end the date. Also, occasionally people present themselves as a gender they don’t identify with online for malicious catfishing/revenge reasons, and they would need to get someone else to agree to their plan and talk to you if they want to continue the deception, so that weeds out some of the people who do that. I think most people do not find Cyrano de Bergerac romantic in real life.

      • Amy said:

        Avoiding catfishing is a good thing, for sure. With things like Google Voice and voice changers, though, I’m wondering if a phone call is still effective for that. I’ve never tried, but I’m betting there’s an app out there that I could get on my cell phone that would make my voice deeper or higher pitched.

    • TO_Ont said:

      Maybe that it’s harder to lie well when you’re having a spoke conversation?

      The people I know who have asked for it didn’t seem to be doing it for safety, though. More as another way to ‘get to know someone’ before they decided if they wanted to meet in person. Supposedly because meeting in person was more effort/time/travel.

      I don’t find it useful personally.

      • Viva said:

        That’s a big reason I prefer phone calls. I’m an extroverted talker to begin with but I also can suss out a person’s ‘vibe’ and general personality WAY better through the phone than by text or email. I wouldn’t meet someone without the phone call step first. Not saying it’s the one right way, but it’s the only way for me personally.

        • TO_Ont said:

          Can you still get a sense of their personality if they’re tense because they hate phones? Or do you feel like enough of ‘them’ gets through to still be worthwhile?

          • Viva said:

            Definitely enough ‘gets through’. I’m a career receptionist so that helps – it’s second nature for me to immediately pick up on whether someone is comfortable or uncomfortable on the phone. If they’re uncomfortable, I can steer the content and length of the conversation appropriately.

            In person meetings are of course the ‘gold standard’ for me to get to know someone, but telephone conversations are important for me when it comes to dating and relationships.

        • TO_Ont said:

          For me personally meeting someone is how I get a sense of their personality. Anything we do before that (text, chat, phone) is for me just dragging out the process and making it more difficult and time-consuming to meet people. Unless they’re extremely rude or something, I guess.

  21. slfisher said:

    I use the phone a lot for work, so I end up sounding very terse and businesslike when people call, and if they’re calling to “chat” it can kind of put them off. So I usually tell them, I’m fine with using the phone to set up appointments and stuff but i don’t really “chat” much, ok? and most people get that.

    • Nanani said:

      Haha! I’ve had this too!
      I’ve been like “….so why did you call?” to a chatty friend and only after the fact realised it was meant to be phone socializing.

      • I have one friend who told me, “I will answer the phone anytime I see it’s you because I know you have a reason to call and don’t just want to waste my time.”

    • TO_Ont said:

      Maybe that it’s harder to lie well when you’re having a spoke conversation?

      The people I know who have asked for it didn’t seem to be doing it for safety, though. More as another way to ‘get to know someone’ before they decided if they wanted to meet in person. Supposedly because meeting in person was more effort/time/travel.

      I don’t find it useful personally. I am just uncomfortable enough on the phone that I’m usually going to end up having a mildly bad time, regardless of how nice the person is, and I will probably end up sounding a bit unfriendly too.

  22. DropTable~DropsMic said:

    “Someone who treats “no” as the opening to a negotiation is going to bug the shit out of you in all kinds of other ways.”

    I see you’ve met my mother!

  23. I know this is not helpful for most of you guys but, since I moved to the US, I escape this same situation with “I am not really comfortable talking on the phone – I don’t understand English very well when I can’t see the person talking to me”. If the guy is not OK, he can kindly fuck off; he probably won’t be OK with me having a foreign accent either. But they’re usually very understanding. The other side of the same coin is that it was already true that calling on the phone used to give me a lot of anxiety in my own language, and here it’s much worse – when I have to call the doctor, or the tax return thing, or whatever other official thing, I am absolutely terrified. And most of the time I don’t understand half of what they say.

  24. Expat Egg in an homage to Andy Griffith said:

    “CALL THE MAN.”

    My family uses the above phrase, from an episode from The Andy Griffith Show, when a situation arises when we MUST use the phone.
    We are all phone-adverse, which is why it took my mother over two decades to send her first text message (we now text regularly and it’s a fantastic mom-managing tool). Via text, we’ve even abbreviated it to “CTM.”
    In the show, Andy probably tells Aunt Bea to “Call The Man’ well over a dozen times.

    What’s the connection?
    Not wanting to call, or be on the phone, is a common malady.
    Somehow, making the call seems to make the event/ problem/ situation/ relationship too official.

    IMDB Episode description:
    S4E24: Bargain Day To save money, Aunt Bee buys a side of beef from a discount butcher shop. When she gets it home, the freezer doesn’t work right but she won’t pay ‘the man’ from Mount Pilot to come and fix it.

    Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN5fXxVMFkI

    • Wahlee said:

      Always good to see an Andy Griffith show reference. I love how the beef is terrible, too.

    • rikibeth said:

      Oh my god is THAT where it comes from? My dad always says “Call The Man” in a certain tone of voice if something is broken beyond his usually adequate ability to fix. He’s taught me to be fairly handy as well but if I run into a household repair I haven’t tackled before, I’ll sometimes check in with him to see whether the tutorial I’ve discovered is misleading about how manageable the job is. If he says “Call The Man” I know to save myself a lot of swearing.

      Sometimes it SEEMS fixable and turns out not to be – this is why I have a 25 foot drain snake and still had to Call The Man.

  25. lunchcoma said:

    I think the Captain’s advice is great for the “cool!,” “is there an anti-catfishing compromise?,” and the dreaded “whyyyyyyyy?” responses. I do think there’s a possible fourth response from a person who who isn’t a pushy wheedler but who also isn’t interested in meeting without a phone conversation that goes beyond 30 seconds to prove you’re a real person. Those people are basically your opposites – they dislike or don’t put much faith in written communication as a way of assessing compatibility and want to have a spoken conversation before meeting. That doesn’t mean you should call them by any means! It does mean that you might run into some people who decide not to meet you given your conditions but who aren’t jerks. They’re just incompatible with you, and probably would be even more so if you tried to navigate a relationship.

    • Jen Erik said:

      Yes, LW could match with someone incompatible, but for a non-jerky reason. My daughter has had social anxiety, and while she copes well now, she finds texting tricky – it’s the asynchronous nature someone mentioned above – gives her time to get into a tailspin about what the person on the receiving end may be thinking. (Also, she’s very dyslexic, and I think the constant coding and decoding creates stress.)

      One of her most successful coping strategies has been, when she gets in her head about an interaction, to give herself permission to phone and ask the stupid question: “I know this is probably silly, but I’m worried I offended you when I said I like the third Harry Potter more than the fourth, are we okay?”. Her friends take this in their stride, but I could imagine it being properly annoying to someone who hates taking calls. (‘Seriously! You phoned me about this?’)

      Anyway, she’s pretty much the polar opposite of LW, but with a similar outcome – some of the people she matches with take the fact she doesn’t like texting well, some ignore the information, and I think a proportion just can’t wrap their heads round the idea.

      I totally agree with the Captain, though – the sort of person who can take that sort of information on board, and respond appropriately – it’s an indication that they may be a person worth following up on. (So, rather than ‘weird phobia’, ‘useful screening mechanism’.)

    • Ginger said:

      ^Yes this! As a phone-call-enjoyer (with some limited people but definitely with people I date), I make no apologies for liking what I like but *also* it may mean that dating a phone-call-detester is just not a good match for me (or them!). I similarly wouldn’t date anyone who strongly dislikes children or who is very religious – those things are both fine, but not compatible with dating me.

    • Viva said:

      Yep. We phone people are not all jerks, I promise 🙂 But it’s a fundamental compatibility issue.

  26. Oh man. I’m cool with the phone in general, but my memories of phone conversations longer than two minutes with would-be Match.com dates are unfond. There was the guy who treated the call like a job interview and didn’t understand why I found that off-putting (“You can do the same with me!”). There was the guy who tried to get me to tell him how big my breasts were. Just … no.

    And this was in the days before dick pics were a thing. If I’m ever single again, I’m going to be a little more hesitant to dip a toe into the online dating pool.

    • Lily said:

      Did you also get the heavily breathing “say something dirty to me” guy? 😀

  27. target said:

    I loathe phone conversations. One time I was on my way to my friend’s wedding rehearsal and I got hopelessly lost, so I called her. She said, “Oh, god, Target is lost! Target, talk to X,” and handed the phone to someone else who had already arrived. X knew I was lost, late, and frustrated, and the rehearsal was starting in, like, two minutes, so naturally the first thing she says on the phone is, “Hey, how are you?”

    I get that that’s just a nice thing, she was just trying to be nice and have a nice phone conversation, she was raised on proper phone etiquette, but that’s why I loathe phone conversations. How am I. Peachy. Thanks.

    Anyway, everybody else has already pointed this out six ways to Sunday, LW, but give yourself permission to dump these dudes in seconds. That’s the whole point of online dating, is so you’re able to Yes and No potential dates very quickly and with minimal pain. I don’t have to “just give him a chance” if he’s got one of my dealbreakers. Weed? Gone. Dog? Gone. Hiking? Gone. Sexism? Gone. Goofy pickup line? Gone. Gives me shit about not wanting to talk on the phone? Three guesses, LW. Gone. You don’t have to feel bad about that. The entire goal is to find someone that has all your good things and doesn’t have your bad things. There is no “He would be great if he didn’t have my dealbreaker.” That’s the whole point of having dealbreakers!

    Don’t settle for shit, LW. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

    • Viva said:

      There is no “He would be great if he didn’t have my dealbreaker.” That’s the whole point of having dealbreakers!

      QFT.

  28. Jackalope said:

    This isn’t directly related to the dating thing, but with people you already have a relationship with, I’ve found success in having a signal. My family and I use the signal that if we call once you can ignore it. If we call back immediately that’s the sign that it’s an emergency and you need to answer if at all possible (someone is actively dying or in labor). For those who want a way to know if it is urgent then that might help.

  29. lowbudgetcyborg said:

    Another phone avoider here! There are so many of us. Chances are you are not the first phone avoider that any potential date has known. It is not weird. Anyone who makes you feel weird about it is probably someone to stay away from.

    I second the advice to just say something like “I don’t like talking on the phone; the best way to reach me is X or Y.” If you get pushback than that’s a good sign the person isn’t worth your energy.

    • aebhel said:

      Exactly! It’s not like this is an incredibly unusual thing; a lot of people hate talking on the phone.

  30. Jack V said:

    “Oh hey, sorry, I’m just not much of an ignoring people’s boundaries person. If you are, maybe we just won’t get along together! nm,”

  31. Allison said:

    I don’t entirely hate the phone, but I’m not a fan of making calls to make appointments or cancel services, and I only like chatting on the phone with people I really know and enjoy talking to, like my mom, a good friend, or my boyfriend. When I was younger, hour-long phone conversations with the boyfriend were pretty standard. Basically, I’d chat on the phone with anyone I’d change out of my yoga pants and leave the house for at 9PM.

    When it’s a guy I’ve never even met in person, or a friend I’m not super close with, I’d really rather not chat for the sake of chatting. It feels weird then. Call if you really need to, otherwise message me. If someone I met online wanted to chat on the phone (full disclosure: never done online dating), I’d tell them “I’m really not a fan of chatting on the phone with people I don’t know well. If you need a realtime conversation before the date, we can Skype, otherwise let’s wait until the date to get to know each other.” If he pushes, he’s not for me, bye bye!

  32. Laura said:

    It’s so interesting to read the comments here! I see a lot of people are Not Phone people, so I just wanted to throw in an opinion as a Phone person.

    I agree 100% that this is a great test of compatibility. I personally do not like texting or chat, and overwhelmingly prefer either meeting in person or speaking on the phone. I feel that I lose the ability to read someone’s tone, emotion, and personality over text, and I’m just not interested in conversations without those things. Also, I find texting more disruptive than a phone call because a phone call is usually a one-and-done kind of thing, whereas text conversations just can go back and forth for quite awhile. Text conversations with someone I know well are fine, since I already know them and can “read” tone into their texts, but I hate hate hate it for those I don’t know well. I just can’t get to know someone over a screen. It feels sterile to me.

    Not that I’m dating anymore, but when I was, I would know right away that my communication style wasn’t compatible with theirs if they weren’t interested in a phone call or just wanted to text/chat as their preferred style of communication. So a script like the Captain gave would be perfect on my end because then I’d know right away that things probably wouldn’t work out, and I would have appreciated hearing it so I had that info.

    Obviously, this “but whhhyyyyyyyy” response is gross and should be Shut The Fuck Down – just wanted to throw another perspective out there.

    As an aside: I would consider calling someone before a date a type of safety measure, because I feel like I could glean information from speaking with them briefly. If someone’s tone is rude, sharp, dismissive, patronizing, uninterested, or condescending, then I already know I don’t want to meet them.

    • I totally get that, which is why I tend to offer skype as an option. Video calls are somehow easier than phone calls — IDEK. Even audio calls online are easier than phone calls for me! I’ve guested on podcasts without any issues. Anxiety is a strange ‘un.

      • Lix said:

        Also, as someone in a LDR who met her boyfriend IRL for the first time in a different country — we skyped a LOT. We’re from diff countries so phone didn’t really come in as an option but skyping was plenty. I was still terricited the whole day I was getting to Vienna, but still.

      • dorrie6 said:

        I agree, for me, video is better than a phone call. I have trouble understanding people when they are talking if I can’t see their faces, so I’m a lot less anxious on a video call.

  33. CommanderBanana said:

    Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh yes I am familiar.

    I feel like generally, at least in my particular dating pool, someone insisting on a phone call was an anomaly, but O, the Texts (or Chat) Neverending! A big frustration of mine and my friends was meeting guys on dating sites who just wanted to chat ad infinitum,when we really wanted someone to actually date.

    I only had one guy who kept insisting that we have several phone calls before meeting, and it was a dealbreaker for him that I wasn’t interested in doing that. Which, great! May he find the One Call To Rule Them All, just not with me.

    LW, disliking talking on the phone is totally normal. I live with my boyfriend and I still don’t really like talking on the phone with him and we rarely do, unless I’m traveling, and even then it’s weird and we use Facetime or whatever. I think it’s completely 100% fine for you to tell potential dates it’s not your thing, and if they insist on it, well, that’s actually a plus, because it’s helping you weed out people that probably are not going to respect your boundaries anyway, and that’s a GOOD thing!

  34. AndTheRest said:

    LW, you could be me, except I didn’t like talking on the phone as a teenager. The Captain is right about it being a compatibility detector — there’s no reason why you should force yourself to do something you don’t like just to appease a stranger.

    Back when I was doing online dating, a guy refused to meet for a first date because I wouldn’t talk with him on the phone first. I had written something similar to the Captain’s scripts, and his response was kind of rude, implying that I/my behavior was wrong and that he would not meet me in person without talking on the phone. We never met in person, obviously. I look back on that as a bullet dodged, not just from a compatibility perspective, but more importantly that the guy behaved badly when I didn’t do what he wanted. He could have responded more kindly, but he did not, and that is very valuable info.

    But I should also say that there were a lot of guys who didn’t care at all that I didn’t want to talk on the phone. There are people out there for whom your phone preferences will not be a problem. Do what is comfortable for you.

  35. dorrie6 said:

    LW, I don’t know if this will be helpful, but I will share with you some observations as a long-time non-phone person.

    First, my own aversion to the phone has only gotten stronger with age, and though I’ve certainly identified some particular reasons I dislike the phone (I feel put on the spot, and I express myself much more clearly when I can think about my words first; I have trouble understanding people on the phone, even if their speech is very clear, because I can’t see their faces; I feel trapped by the conversation; it feels like an intrusion; I could go on and on here, there are so many) none of that self-awareness has made talking on the phone any easier, and at this point, I generally don’t ever do it unless there is no other alternative. I have lost touch with friends who refuse to communicate in any other way. I have rejected business relationships with people who require everything to be done on the phone in favor of those who don’t (I actually dislike the phone even *more* for business, because it leaves me with no record of the conversation except what I could hastily jot down, which leaves a ton of room for misunderstanding). I’ll do a quick business-related call when needed to make something happen, but I vastly prefer email or (to some extent–thought I’ve had the same problems with “no record of what was said” at times) in-person meetings for anything important. This may sound really harsh, but truthfully, the stress of attempting to keep up relationships with people who always insist on phone conversation has become something that is just not worth it to me. This may not be you at all, but I wanted to let you know that I don’t think you’re weird.

    Secondly, this is depressing, but my personal experience with people who love to talk on the phone or who easily talk on the phone is that they, for whatever reason, will never understand why other people don’t, or what’s so hard about it. They will always insist “it’s just easier!” and it’s really difficult to get across to them that, wow, it is really never easy for someone like me to talk on the phone. I understand that they don’t understand, and I understand that they may not enjoy other forms of communication the way they do talking on the phone. But I do think this is a real compatibility issue, and you’re not weird to wonder about that.

    This stuff is probably easy for me to say, because I’m an old, married (monogamous) person, who isn’t trying to navigate the dating world anymore, so it may not help you at all. But I can at least say that there are a lot of us out here, and as non-phone communication becomes more and more convenient, we’re increasingly more able to keep in touch with the people who are important to us without having to spend hours feeling uncomfortable and trapped on the phone. I don’t think there’s anything wrong or weird about having that as a bit of criteria when establishing new relationships.

    • Laura said:

      “Secondly, this is depressing, but my personal experience with people who love to talk on the phone or who easily talk on the phone is that they, for whatever reason, will never understand why other people don’t, or what’s so hard about it.”

      Commented up thread, but just wanted to say – my personal experience as a person who loves to talk on that phone is that you’re absolutely correct here.

      I always want to be respectful of others, and I want to say upfront that I’m not at all interested in “forced” conversations. I want everyone to be comfortable, not just me! And if someone can’t be comfortable on the phone, then that’s okay and I will respect that.

      But I do agree with you here that I honestly just don’t understand it. Not understanding it is NO excuse for pressuring someone, and frankly, I don’t NEED to understand it to not be a jerk, so I’m careful not to be a jerk. Inside, though, I have to admit that I don’t get it and I probably won’t ever get it.

      • dorrie6 said:

        Thank you for not being a jerk! I am sure you have non-phone friends who are really grateful to you for that!

        I don’t think most phone people are *trying* to be jerks, but the lack of understanding can lead them to be without them even realizing it. I have an old friend who I haven’t been in touch with for a long time, because he will only talk on the phone. If I reach out to him by email, he will *always* respond with a phone call or a request for a phone call. For a while I tried to keep up the phone conversations, because I was really happy to be in touch, but it quickly became too stressful to continue, and I found myself not answering his calls, or trying to respond to a call with a text (I value small touchstones like that with distant friends, but he always would bring it back to wanting a call again). Now we just don’t communicate. I don’t email, because I know that will lead to being pressured for a phone call. Even if I found myself in the rare position of wanting to call him, I wouldn’t, because I know it would just lead to pressure for more phone calls. He also refuses to use social media, so there’s no way to establish even a regular sense of his life and presence in a way that doesn’t just constantly feel demanding to me. So we are just completely out of touch at this point. It saddens me, but I couldn’t go on just being in constant dread of my phone ringing, and the guilt I’d feel if I didn’t want to answer it (which was pretty much all the time).

        I think it’s probably too simple to try to link phone comfort with being an extrovert or introvert, but I do know that a good amount of my phone aversion is linked to *my* introversion, at least. I work with people all day, so I really need my off hours to recharge, and since I don’t live alone, any time by myself is precious and necessary to my sanity. Emails and texts are things I feel comfortable with, even during my alone time, because I know I can leave them until I’m ready to reply. A phone call, however, feels like an intrusion into that important alone time, especially since that’s pretty much the *only* time it can be addressed. I can answer an email or text while sitting around with my husband and/or friends watching TV or whatever, because it doesn’t require me to talk out loud or to give it my complete attention. I can’t talk on the phone during that time, so it ends up eating into my alone time instead. A phone call to a phone person probably feels casual and easy… to me, it feels heavy and demanding.

  36. I just tell people I don’t know if my phone works. It’s true, too. I hate phone calls so much my contracts run out (I’m pay-as-you-go and they STILL run out, esp with all my country hopping). Email me. Give me a time for skype if you want. Fuck the phone. Thankfully no one’s given me grief about it; I think I just project ANXIETY WEIRDO loudly enough that everyone’s like, ooookay.

  37. quinalla said:

    Just some solidarity from another who does not like the phone except for talking to people I really want to talk to and can’t always see in person (mostly my siblings and parents). I don’t even like talking on the phone much with my husband, he likes it, so we meet halfway on it which works for us. I have to call people for work pretty often and every time I have to pep talk myself internally to do it, it does not help that I’m in an open office so all conversations are on display. For me, it is definitely an introvert thing, phone calls are draining to me and if there is another media I can use, I much prefer it – emails, IM, text I am all about. I used to get anxiety around them too when I was younger, but over the years of forcing myself to make calls for work and myself, I’ve gotten over that part of it mostly.

    Anyway, the Captain has great advice. You are being clear and anyone being pushy about it I would just not date. Avoiding the phone is definitely a thing for a lot of people for various reasons, so you’ll be able to find another phone avoider or at least someone like my husband who likes the phone but is cool with respecting my needs for shorter/no calls at times.

  38. Jenett said:

    Not a phone fan either. Couple of things I do that work well for me (and might help other people). I work under a steel ceiling (designed for library books) and live in a basement apartment, so I often have poor signal, but I just plain find phone calls disruptive. I’m fine with them at work, but not when I’m at home doing other specific things with my time.

    – Tell people I’m not a phone person, and the best way to reach me is email. (I text only when email won’t work for some reason, because I type 85+ wpm, and I am about a third of that on a phone keyboard, and it annoys me a lot.)

    – If they really want a phone call, do it at pre-arranged times. (The bad reception is a great reason for this, but “I get tons of spam calls, so the ringer’s usually off” or “I don’t want my phone to distract people at work, so the ringer’s always off” or whatever work too.)

    – I also am pretty explicit about “I have a lot of projects going on all the time, and I’d rather focus on the conversation when we have one than be frustrated I was in the middle of something.”

    – Be responsive to them contacting me by the methods I prefer. Not instant, necessarily, but timely. And if they’ve got preferences about how they email (or whatever) I do my best to accommodate that, because it’s less frustrating for me to do that in email than phone.

    • Emma9 said:

      Your description made me think of a delightful House quote: “I’m sorry, I’m about to lose you because I’m about to drive into a tunnel in a canyon on an airplane while hanging up the phone.” I so often wish I could end a conversation that way…

  39. Rhoda said:

    I’m not crazy about phone conversations either, and I think it’s because that disembodied voice isn’t connected to any facial expressions or body language. So I second (third, fourth?) the suggestion for something like Skype.

  40. Rincat said:

    My husband and I are both very much anti-phone, him more than me. We’ll call each other for quick things (like, pick up some milk) but rarely do long phone convos. So I don’t think you’re weird! I hate phone talking, especially if it’s just small talk…I can do okay with business calls because they have a purpose to them, but just “getting to know you” is definitely not something I want to do over the phone (talk or text).

    I have found when stating preferences like this to people, if you keep it casual and brief, then *most* people get the message that it’s not about them, and they are fine with your preference. Just state it as a fact, like Captain suggested. I think most people won’t think twice about that. Of course like everyone has said, if someone does push back against that, that’s a flag.

  41. Indie said:

    How can this be an international dude culture thing? (I’m in the UK) So many online guys got my number for a date whe’d set up only to go ‘whoops can’t make it now after all. Turns out though I have endless time to blow up your phone!’ One guy texted me to say he was bored and stuck in a hotel for work. I said ‘well try to relax n have fun!’ Because I literally didn’t understand this was my cue to tap dance over text. His response ‘oh you not talking to me now’ just baffled the brain because I HAD responded – and with more than he’d given me! When I ended up going exclusive with my now boyfriend (who kept the date we’d set! And entertains himself/me) I told constant text guy I was off the market only to get a snarky ‘no need for me now then’ response ..I’m sorry inappropriate stranger dude…did you think you were meeting a need of mine?!

    • YESSS. This is a Type of Dude and my friend almost exclusively dates them. The ‘no need for me now then’ sent my shoulders to my ears.

      Super sensitive and needy but not actually emotionally available and a Super Fan of passive aggression? A deep sense of entitlement that women should take care of their needs, and when one doesn’t, it’s WOE IS ME? Fun times!

  42. I call it “telephonophobia” and I’ve had it all my life.

    I am trying to convert my life to e-mail as much as possible. Not texting. 1) because I have disability that affects my ability to use touch screens well, so I don’t currently have a smartphone and would need an external keyboard if I did, and 2) texting still comes in on a phone, which means I have to have the phone near me to get it. I don’t keep my personal phone with me during my workday as a pediatrician. I can make a brief call during the workday but I am not reliably available

    I do keep a computer with me during my workday as a pediatrician, because I have an electronic medical system. I typically seen an e-mail within 10-15 minutes. A phone message could be hours, sometimes not until I set my phone as an alarm clock for bed.

    I don’t date so I don’t have that problem, but I am fighting what seems to be a loosing battle to convert my life to e-mail. Businesses insist on filing me under my phone number rather than name, date of birth or account number. My insurance makes me order medical supplies through a company that works over the phone and requires a phone number to verify I’m me. Finally they agreed to e-mail and to note not to call me on their account. So I e-mail them and they call me and send me an e-mail that they called me. And yes my account was noted “do not call.” Finally someone put 555-555-5555 in for my phone number. It took me 3 days to set up a doctors appointment for myself because they couldn’t do it when I called them, and of course I was seeing patients when they called me back.

    I handle work calls because there is a script and they typically called me for a reason. I hate them, but they are part of the job. Although I am hoping we get a portal so we can e-mail patients, because it can take hours or days to reach busy families by phone, and because it creates a log of who said what, when, without my having to document the conversation. Aside from that, I may call a business for a brief call, or a friend to say I missed the bus. The only person with whom I have meaningful social communication on the phone is my mother.

  43. historycat said:

    I went on a date a few years ago and towards the end, he asked if he could call me and I told him flat-out no.

    This wasn’t exactly the response he’d hoped for. I explained that I very much liked talking to him and would email be ok please? Because phone calls are a Thing I Do Not Do. He thought it was a bit weird but respected it, as most people will if you tell them the truth.

    Not really being able to use the phone in any capacity whatsoever is limiting (I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety disorders) and I’ve had problems with employers etc. but *anyway*, in a social capacity it’s completely fine and appropriate to have your preferences respected.

    That guy I went on the date with continued to support (and healthily challenge) my ‘quirks’. We got married last year.

  44. New word for the day: To catfish someone.
    Old thought for the day: People are crud.

  45. thetigerhasspoken said:

    Re: catfishing solution. I had a guy who thought my profile was fake ask me to send him a pic of me giving the thumbs up to “prove I was real.” So I did. He did the same. We met up 4 hours later, dated for several months, and he was positively wonderful with boundaries.

    Am I missing something about why not to give out your number? Can’t you just block someone if they get creepy? Truly curious in case I am putting myself in a potentially bad situation.

    • Emma9 said:

      Creepy Someone could always call you from a different number, or post your number online so you get barraged with spam calls, or or or *cringe*. I prefer to wait until after the first in-person meeting to give people any information it would be inconvenient to change (hence separate email address for dating matters and ‘texting’ through the dating website’s message interface only). I also have an uncommon enough last name that you can find my address that way, so potential datefriends don’t get that until down the line either. Ditto no Facebooking.

      But that’s my personal comfort level, and fwiw I’ve never had someone give me grief over it. Really, I think the more important factor is having that first physical date be in a safe public setting, so there’s less risk to both parties regardless of who may or may not have been misleading whom.

      • thetigerhasspoken said:

        Ah. Those things had not occurred to me. Thanks for filling me in on the pathetic levels creeps will sink to.

    • slfisher said:

      Back when I used to do IRC, people wanted me to “prove” I was really a woman. So I would drop them. Sorry, if you’re going to start right out assuming that I’m a liar, this isn’t going to work out.

      • Like . . . a passive-aggressive way of asking for nudes or because they are super transphobic? In my case he was worried about being catfished – which apparently is pretty common on certain dating apps – not about my biology.

        • slfisher said:

          Supertransphobic. Because chatting with someone presenting as female while secretly male will give them cooties.

  46. vvwolfe said:

    I have the opposite disposition I hate testing unless you are sending me an address or phone number or maybe a super brief I am running late or similar. I feel like texting is annoying because i have to stop what i am doing to reply and I loath typing. I have found many more people who prefer texting to phone calls and must agree with captain in that his is a good comparability tester/boundary determiner. If I tell someone I really hate texting and they insist to text me all the time I take this as they are terrible at boundaries and they are also not a good communication match.
    But really I am very clear about my communication style I dont like texting and if you cant carry a conversation/have nothing to say do not call me either. I am not your portable entertainer for when you are bored and I have no desire to hear you breath on the phone because you have nothing to say and/or you have no ability to hold a conversation.
    I have found many people do not have this same communication style and it has helped me avoid wasting my time very often

  47. Redgirl said:

    LW, you are definitely not alone. I hate talking on the phone and I was beyond thrilled when ordering takeout online became a thing. Fortunately, my boyfriend hates talking on the phone as much as I do. We’ve been together for 13 years and have probably talked on the phone about as many times. I talk to my parents, who are in their 80s and do not have internet or smartphones, and to people at work when it’s the most efficient option. Otherwise, hell no!

    You are totally within your rights to decide you aren’t willing to talk on the phone with prospective romantic partners. They are also within their rights to decide that’s a dealbreaker. But if they do, it’s unlikely you’d be compatible long-term anyway.

  48. PantingPet said:

    I just want to speak up for the phone-lovers out there. When online dating, I ALWAYS had a phone call first because:

    – conversation is a big part of what I enjoy about the people close to me
    – I don’t want to meet someone in person who turns out to be a monologuer, or a needler, or a patronizer
    – It’s kind of a pain for me to put on makeup and make sure my best outfit has been taken to the wash etc, as well as taking time away from current friends/other dates/Netflix, so I don’t want to bother to meet someone in person if I don’t think I’m going to like them.
    – I have insecurities about my appearance, so I wanted to make sure we had a personality connection / that the person wasn’t just trying to get a look at me to make sure I was cute enough. (My pix matched my reality, but still)

    Anyway. And the Captain’s analysis of the “How’s ur Tuesday?” text is SPOT ON! Hate those.

    It’s so heartening that Captain held onto expectations for the most basic standards of human decency and still managed to meet a great guy.

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