It hasn't been that long since I got an iPhone. I knew my first reaction to hearing it ring - or "ding" with the arrival of a text message - would be stress, as opposed to anticipation of a fun conversation (don't even get me started on group texts; they're the worst!)
I used to feel guilty about not liking to answer my phone, but then I learned that it's a common trait among introverts, not just an aversion to cell phones because of my exposure to bad smartphone etiquette.
So, when I finally succumbed to getting a smartphone, why did I choose a portrait of Jane Austen (a fellow introvert) for my phone cover?
|"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!"|
- Jane Austen [Notecard, source]
We introverts would rather be lost in a book, or spend one-on-one time with a close friend, then be on the phone or in a group setting. (Unlike Mrs. Bennet, it takes a huge amount of thought and effort for me to make small talk.)
We introverts treasure alone time. When I'm alone, I'm generally recharging my batteries from being with people, and a phone call feels intrusive and takes energy I may not have at the moment ("Resting your feet is also important, especially after a ball," Jane would interject). Downtime doesn't feel unproductive to us.
We introverts like face to face time for conversation. Of course, a short email or text is the most convenient way to answer a quick question, but I'd much rather spend time face to face with a friend if we're going to have a meaningful conversation (I can just hear Jane now: "especially if that friend is Mr. Darcy").
We introverts don't like distractions when we're in the middle of something (in Jane's case, writing a novel). When I'm with someone, or in the middle of a project, I feel frustrated taking a call or answering a text message. I'm focused, and getting interrupted by a phone call from someone who is not there can feel overwhelming.
Don't get me wrong, I look forward to chatting on the phone and catching up with family and close friends whom I don't live near enough to visit with face to face.
I just can't handle being available for unexpected interruptions 24/7. That's why, when it's not convenient to talk, I let my calls go straight to my voice mail, and call people back.
You can imagine I felt very validated when I came across an article, "Nine Signs You Might Be An Introvert", and read Number Six: You haven’t answered a ringing telephone in years!
"...The telephone is intrusive, especially for introverts, whose brains don’t switch gears all that quickly. When we’re deep in thought, a ringing telephone is like a shrieking alarm clock in the morning. And we often give bad phone—awkward, with pauses. We struggle without visual cues, and our tendency to ponder before we talk doesn’t play well on the telephone...Dislike of the phone is often presented as a moral failing. But honestly, it’s not the people on the phone we dislike, it’s the instrument of delivery." [source: Nine Signs That You Might Be An Introvert, by Sophia Dembling.]
By the way, I'm pretty sure Mr. Darcy is an introvert. Maybe I'll put him on my next phone cover...
Have an Inkling You Might Be an Introvert?
Not sure if you're an introvert? In a nutshell, here are the Nine Signs to consider. (Read detailed descriptions here.)
1. You rarely think, "the more the merrier".
2. You consider doing nothing about something.
3. Sometimes you feel like your head might explode.
4. You hide in the bathroom sometimes.
5. You are ready to leave parties shortly after arriving.
6. You haven't answered a ringing telephone in years.
7. You prefer one close friend to a 100 lovely acquaintances.
8. You can't imagine what all those people find to talk about.
9. You actively avoid anything that might involve audience participation.
So why do I think Miss Austen, if she were alive today, would understand me and my lack of enthusiasm for phone interruptions?
A Few Awesome (Introvert) Austen-isms
Take a peek at these quotes, which have led many to think Jane was an introvert. Most of them are taken from letters to her "one close friend", her sister Cassandra...
Ah! There is nothing like staying home, for real comfort.
Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.
Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies.
There is a monstrous deal of stupid quizzing, & common-place nonsense talked, but scarcely any wit.
I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.
We are to have a tiny party here tonight. I hate tiny parties, they force one into constant exertion.
. . . tho’ I like Miss H. M. as much as one can at my time of Life after a day’s acquaintance, it is uphill work to be talking to those whom one knows so little.
But for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.
- Jane Austen