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Bonny Albo

What If You're Not a Phone Person? Dating Question

By May 28, 2013

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Naomi asks, "I just read your article about talking to someone before meeting them online and I totally agree. I have saved myself plenty of dates by having a phone conversation beforehand. I'll hop on the phone, only to realize that the person on the other end is negative or just really dull. The one question I have, though, is "What if someone just isn't a phone person"? I know that some people are uncomfortable on the phone and great in person. What do you think?"

Great question, Naomi! Let's jump right in.

If you had asked me this same question ten years ago, I would have given a different answer. Most folks who would go out of their way to share, "I'm just not a phone person," really, truly meant it, however (in my experience with clients and readers) they'd still choke through that first phone conversation. Why? It shows interest, proves you're actually a real person, and shares information you'll never get through the internet alone. Plus, it says that, even though your potential date dislikes the phone, they're willing to invest the time and energy into you, while displacing their distaste temporarily. Not only did it say a lot about their character, including, "I want you to feel safe, so I'll do this one small thing for you to help with that."

That isn't to say talking on the phone precludes any sort of dating scam; take a peek at the extensive list of stories from readers just like you over at the Avoiding Internet Dating Scams blog post to understand what I mean. You still have to do the work, look for red flags, and so forth. To me however, giving the excuse, "I'm not a phone person," puts up a few fairly significant red flags, or at least orange ones.

Statistically, very few people suffer from social anxiety, and even fewer from social anxiety related to phone conversations. Sure, some folks would rather meet in person than spend the day texting or chatting on their cell; definitely put me into that category. Having said that, if someone I'd met on a dating site said to me, "Hey, let's talk on the phone prior to meeting," I'd suck it up and make the call. If I was concerned about my own personal information being shared with a relative stranger, I'd use Skype or one of the various dating sites that offer this kind of cloaked phone service, like Lavalife. It's easy and painless, and if I'm really interested in someone, I'll make the time.

So, why would someone say, "I'm not a phone person?" to you as you're getting to know them, and refuse to chat beforehand? Well, there's a lot of guessing on my part, so I'll just share what my readers, clients and my own experiences have shown over the years. Usually, when says they don't 'come across well' over the phone and thus just want to talk, it's because they:

  • Have something they want to hide; such as a partner or family member they're living with;
  • Are a player or Pick Up Artist (PUA), and it's easier to juggle multiple people without investing one-on-one time over the phone;
  • Don't have a phone because they've hit a rough spot;
  • Have decided they'd like to focus elsewhere, or that you're low on their priority list.

Really, it comes down to this: if they're a potential life partner or mate, and it's important to you to talk on the phone prior to meeting, they'll get over or put aside their dislike of phone conversations to get to know you. Or, and this does happen occasionally, they'll tell you outright they have a phone phobia or other, legitimate issue with using the phone. Either way, they'll have shared with you they are at their best in person. You can then decide if their being vulnerable and sharing their fear deserves a bit of leeway and compassion when speaking with them on the phone.

What do you think, dear readers? Are you a phone person? Do you talk to your date on the phone prior to meeting, if you've met online? Does 'not being a phone person' lift any flags for you?

Signs of an Internet Dating Scam, Why Am I Not Getting Responses To My Internet Dating Profile?, Am I Dating a Liar?, Find Social Freedom.

June 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm
(1) Lian says:

great article, useful for me and gives more information about, i’ve beccome more experience

June 11, 2013 at 2:32 am
(2) Vivian Ai says:

I actually disagree with this article, because I am not a phone person. One, I hate my voice. Two, in today’s world, we do not need to the phone what with texting, chatting, and social networking. Three, I NEVER use my phone… I almost got the point that I can live without the phone. The truth is that the phone is taking it to the next level. I guess if you want to meet the person the day before, talking on the phone is okay. SKYPE is good. I don’t count that as a phone. However, the other day, this guy from that I was chatting to from a dating site, asked for my LINE info. We started chatting on LINE, but he started to pester me about talking on the LINE phone. I met him TWO WEEKS ago and call me slow or whatever… but that was way too fast. It’s not that I am not interested in the person… as your article implies… because I was. But I was not about to suck it up and talk to someone I met online after two weeks. You need to build up a good background before taking it to the next level. So I guess, when it comes to life partner…. if you have been chatting for a good couple months and want to take it to the next level… maybe calling is a good thing… but in general. I have nothing to hide, I am definitely not a player, no rough spot, and am curious about the people I make the time to talk to… I just really really hate phones.

June 13, 2013 at 11:59 am
(3) Mattias says:

While stammering/stuttering is a statistical anomaly as well (around 5% of the population have had at least a period with stuttering) it can be a reason why one develops a fear of phones, and phone calls in particular.

Being a stutterer I have had a lot of bad experiences with talking on the phone with random people who doesn’t know that I stutter (results vary, but most of the time the other part hangs up on me before I’ve managed to say anything) which in turn have given me a form of telephonophobia. I don’t use telephones unless there is no other option, and even then there’s a big chance that I’ll just skip the phone call.

My point though, just as Vivian says, is that you really need to get to know the human on the other side before starting to demand someone to make a phone call. I’m not (too) stupid, I just have trouble speaking.

In my case, chatting is probably the easiest and best way to start to know me and what makes me tick, and I’m sure there also are many other “legitimate” reasons that people can have for not wanting to use a phone as a way to getting to know someone.

June 16, 2013 at 6:48 pm
(4) Bev says:

This article is SO OFF BASE!! I am not a phone person and have nothing to hide–I am not a player, and I am financially stable. I just absolutely hate getting stuck on the phone.

I find phone calls painful because call quality is SO BAD these days, particularly if you are one of those people who disconnected their landlines to put a stop to campaign robocalls or fundraising telemarketers and opted for a smartphone that you can do everything on easily but calls.

Half the time i find myself getting talked over or talking over someone like a guest on the O’Reilly Factor. Or there is an echo so I feel as though i am in some kind of Alice in wonderland acid nightmare. Oftentimes my eyes are left to see stuff I see that I need to do or would prefer doing while my ear is held hostage by a chatterbox.

I prefer to arrange dates over the okcupid app and then meet in person when i can focus all of my attention on the person i am meeting and have the benefit of seeing body language/facial expressions etc.

June 16, 2013 at 8:46 pm
(5) Christine says:

The link for the “Avoiding Internet Dating Scams” blog post has bad code. Because there’s a colon missing after the http part of the link, it goes to a site named http.com, not to http://dating.about.com/b/2008/01/02/avoiding-internet-dating-scams.htm.

June 17, 2013 at 9:50 pm
(6) dating says:

Thanks Christine! Fixed it.

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