You Don’t Have to Answer Your Phone

Introverts: here’s your permission slip.

You are hereby excused from answering your phone.

Decide when you want to answer your own phone.Even when you’re in a job search, there’s no need to respond to that ring tone (unless it’s a scheduled job interview).

Let callers leave a message. Then you get to deliberate about what you want to say and call back with your carefully phrased response.

I hate answering my phone, and I hear from countless clients who cringe at the idea of sliding their fingers across their phones to accept a call. “Ignore” sounds like a rude option, but it’s totally cool to respond on your terms. You’ll be composed and present and in a spot where you have great reception.

Take Your Time to Compose and Engage

A hallmark of introversion is taking time to compose and engage, and hitting the “pause” button in a conversation is absolutely legitimate.

You’re not alone if you glare disgustedly at your phone when it rings. It’s a clear sign that you’re in this tribe.

Show up in ways that matter. Let your calls go to voice mail when it makes sense and it contributes to your well-being, and then later, respond on your terms in ways that preserve the connection and honor the purpose behind each call.

Some places you might put your attention:

  • Make sure your outgoing message is clear and represents you well. If you have the default message with just your number, it doesn’t let the caller know that they’ve reached the right party.
  • Respond in a timely manner so that you encourage the communication if that’s your agenda.
  • Allow yourself to have additional time for deliberation if something unexpected comes up in a call when you’re live with someone. “Let me think about that and get back to you,” is one of my mantras, and if the caller is offering me something that I don’t want to block (a job offer, for example), I check to make sure my suggested timing suits the caller: “Will Tuesday morning be soon enough to get a response to you?”

No need to squelch your introverted wiring at every turn. Route your phone calls to voice mail when it makes sense and release any guilt that you were holding onto about that practice.