Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Month of Uncomfortable Calls

I declared August "The Month of Uncomfortable Calls." I got the idea during a post-phone interview high when I was feeling energized and invincible. There's an amazing intimacy and feeling of connection that comes with speaking over the phone. You cannot get this feeling via email. It isn't the same.

I challenged myself to call people that I would normally email. "The Month of Uncomfortable Calls" was enlightening because I discovered that sometimes the discomfort was so subtle, that I could barely detect it, and instead chalked it up to innocent laziness or procrastination. I also discovered that most of my fears were simply tied to basic human insecurity ("I don't want to bother him.") and feelings of unworthiness ("Why would she want to talk to me?").

I promised to make a difficult call everyday, but I didn't. I gave myself weekends off, and would make two or three other days. I left many messages, got a couple of wrong numbers, but mostly succeeded in getting through.

I called long lost friends....

I called Beverly. I felt very badly for not having sent a handwritten note or calling when I found out that her father had died a few months before. Her home number was not in service; her cell was not taking calls.

I called Kristi who is one of the most inspiring people I ever met. Just lost touch, felt bad about it and was reminded of this at Christmas when she'd send me a really nice card. I think about her often and wanted to let her know she was still in my mind. We played some phone tag and finally talked. She was so happy to hear from me.

I called Eric, my first real serious boyfriend. His father passed away and I thought calling was nicer than emailing, but it was hard because calling anyone under these circumstances is hard for me. His phone wasn't taking calls, we have since texted twice.

I called countless people for work related stuff. The usual dialogue that goes on in my head to dissuade me from calling is "They're too busy to talk to me." which I translate to mean "They are not interested in talking to me." which therefore seems like rejection. I had many great conversations.

I also called several doctors. These calls were difficult because by making appointments I was committing to paying sizable chunks of change and also taking the risk of unpleasant news. Between the dentist and Planned Parenthood I spent $400 and was deemed healthy. I will, however, be forking over about $750+ to the dentist in months to come.

I learned a lot from this exercise. I learned that I make too many excuses. I learned that most of what I fear is bullshit and that this habit of getting in my own way prevents me from giving what I am capable of. I also learned that phoning can be contagious. I plan to make some really good calls this month too.


Nancy said...

Loved the post, Jane! There are certain people that I want to talk to but hesitate to call (for the same reasons you give). My finger will actually hesitate over the keys or the Send button. But once I've taken the leap and we've talked, I feel so much better and so glad that I made the call. :)

cheryl rogers photography said...

You can call me anytime. No matter how long its been, I LOVE to hear from friends and I don't know why, but I forget even if its a friend I've somehow allowed myself to lose contact with, my friends likely feel the same way. I make the same assumptions! Great article!