I am really awkward on the telephone. I don't know when this happened to me. I recall a time, not so long ago, that I could handle a phone conversation with skill and artistry. Now...well it gets weird fast.
First, let me start by saying that this whole post was inspired by a rare successful phone call, so I am definitely going somewhere with this. I think I am going somewhere with this.
Anyway, when I was a young girl I picked up my phone skills from my Mom. For the first 12 or so years of my life I would answer the phone, "Hello, this is Maria. How may I help you?" Eventually this got weird and I had to scale back my professionalism. Although I do admit to occasionally using my work voice to answer my own phone. Usually I realize what I am doing halfway through and then I start laughing hysterically, making the caller uncomfortable or entertained-depends on the caller.
I remember being able to talk on the phone for hours in high school. For the life of me I cannot recall what was so riveting or important. I do seem to recall watching TV with friends while talking on the phone. Also, there was a lot of talk about boys.
Since high school and the widespread use of the Internet my phone skills have begun to wither and die. While living away from my family I would talk to them once a week, but awkwardness was never really a problem, because immediate family doesn't count. My skills were stagnant at best. I began to turn into a phone recluse, refusing to be the one who ordered take-out (thanks for stepping up Eric) or to call the landlord.
Now, when the phone rings I really don't want to answer it. It's not that I don't want to talk to the caller, but I fear those weird moments when we talk simultaneously. I have forgotten the elegant dance of conversation. I need eye contact and body language to talk comfortably.
Yesterday afternoon my cousin, and dear fried (the one with whom I went to the New Kids on the Block concert and if you haven't read that post then you're missing out), called to catch up. Of course I wanted to talk to her so I answered the phone. I am not going to lie there were some weird pauses as we both tried to speak at the same time, but in the end we managed to have a very pleasant phone call. We caught up, talked about potential projects, planned for the future and it was overall witty and charming. I hung up the phone feeling more confident in my telephone skills. So now if you call me I may just avoid an awkward melt down, but don't hold your breath!
Are you weird on the phone too?