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Is is ok if I just text you?
April 1, 2012 6:39 PM   Subscribe

I have some dating questions.

I had a coffee date yesterday with a guy I met on OKCupid. It was fine; there weren't really any sparks. He was nice and cute though so I gave him my number at the end.

He sent me a message today that he's going to call me tomorrow night, but I forgot to tell him that I HATE phones. With a fiery, burning passion. I am willing to text and talk to people face to face but I am just awful at talking on the phone, and I avoid it whenever possible.

So now I need to let him know that there's a significant chance I might not pick up the phone when he calls. There's an even bigger problem, though, that I'm not entirely sure I want to keep seeing him. He's nice, but I don't like him enough, nor am I comfortable enough with him, to add him to the short list of people I'm willing to talk to on the phone. But I gave him my number and insinuated I wanted to see him again, so now I feel stuck.

How do I navigate this well? I have (sometimes crippling) anxiety issues and I'm worried that I'm just chickening out of a nice thing.
posted by sockysocksock to Human Relations (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Just text him and say, "Ah, I'm rotten at phone calls. Let's text instead. :)"
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 6:41 PM on April 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Let him leave you a message and then you can decide whether or not to text him back.
posted by Forktine at 6:41 PM on April 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Or, have some guts and (1) talk on the phone for a minute and (2) tell him the truth. When he calls, pick up, and instead of starting a conversation, just take a deep breath and explain that maybe you gave him your number too soon, and you're just not interested in seeing him again even though you thought he was cute, because you just didn't feel a spark. Apologize for not telling him sooner, and then bam, it's over quickly, and you don't have to play games with not picking up the phone, or rejecting someone over a text message.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 6:49 PM on April 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


You're definitely not obligated to talk to him on the phone or go out with him again if you don't want to. See how you feel when (if?) he calls again and go from there. Letting him leave you a message and texting him back (or not!) is OK.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:52 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Never's answer is ideal. Short of that, let it go to voicemail as Forktine said, and then text him back and let him know that you're not interested.

While you are not obligated to acknowledge the call, it'd be polite to let him know that you did actually receive the voicemail.
posted by AaRdVarK at 6:55 PM on April 1, 2012


Unless you're awaiting life-or-death news, there's no reason you can't let a call go to voice mail.
posted by elizeh at 7:01 PM on April 1, 2012


Actually the best thing to do is to send him a comment like what never... wrote by email asap.

the end.
posted by special-k at 7:02 PM on April 1, 2012


Why stop dating him if he was nice and you had a decent time... don't cut off decent people too quick.
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 7:03 PM on April 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


So now I need to let him know that there's a significant chance I might not pick up the phone when he calls. There's an even bigger problem, though, that I'm not entirely sure I want to keep seeing him. He's nice, but I don't like him enough, nor am I comfortable enough with him, to add him to the short list of people I'm willing to talk to on the phone.

Please do HIM a favor and text to tell him you're not interested.
posted by jayder at 7:06 PM on April 1, 2012


You said that you are worried about "chickening out of a nice thing" so don't pull away just yet unless you are getting a negative vibe from this person.

If you are just uncomfortable because of your crippling anxiety (which I understand) then take it slowly and figure out what he's like.

Let the phone go to voicemail, wait less than 30 minutes and respond by saying 'sorry for missing your call. it's easier for me text instead of talking on the phone most of the time. so, how has your day been going so far?'
posted by livinglearning at 7:12 PM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


You have to decide whether you want to see him again (I'm not clear whether you do). But the phone conversation thing is really easy.

The best option: Text him in advance and say you're really a texter and not a phone conversation person.

The less good option: Wait, don't answer his call, then text him back later. This forces him to deal with the anxiety of psyching himself up to calling you, then wondering why you didn't answer. And he may return your text with a call. But theoretically it could work.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:25 PM on April 1, 2012


Let the phone go to voicemail, wait less than 30 minutes and respond by saying 'sorry for missing your call. it's easier for me text instead of talking on the phone most of the time. so, how has your day been going so far?'

I am a phone-hater, and this is what I usually do -- not always intentionally. I will say that I have been making a real effort to get more comfortable on the phone, and the only way to do that is just to woman up and talk on the phone. It's not so bad. But bear in mind that a LOT of people would rather text anyway and are just calling because they feel like that's the thing they're Supposed to Do and will be thrilled when you say, "ugh, I hate the phone."
posted by Countess Sandwich at 7:30 PM on April 1, 2012


oh wow. hmm. I agree with the others re: what never.. said. that does seem ideal.

I have the opposite problem - I hate text with a deep and abiding passion. It takes forever to type even on my blackberry, and I'm crap at reading emotion properly in text based communication - it makes me as anxious as it sounds like phone calls make you. Plus I totally obsess over wording in texts, which is another reason it takes me forever.. at least with a phone call I be awkward and put my foot in my mouth in real time and it is over and done with faster. Sometimes I even wish it was the early 90s again so I could be done with cell phones, text messages, and endless email (not to mention all the hours wasted on the interenet!) Just goes to show different strokes for different folks. Human beings are so diverse!

Anyway, this is perhaps not the most honest suggestion, but another option might be to use sly dial. It lets you dial directly to someone's voicemail. It's, well, a little sly, but that way you won't be doing the dreaded "text message rejection" thing.. though I suppose it's not actually all that different. Still, for myself, I'd rather someone have the ovaries/balls to tell me on a recording than by text, because I'd be able to hear/read the emotion in their voice and it wouldn't seem as cold and ambiguous. just my two cents..
posted by elgee at 8:28 PM on April 1, 2012


Just tell him you hate talking on the phone. A LOT of people hate talking on the phone, but it is ingrained in us that we must talk on the phone. I do this and a lot of times I find that the guy hates the phone as much as I do, he's just conditioned to say he will call because it seems that most people want to be called.
posted by fromageball at 8:54 PM on April 1, 2012


Yes, text him back. The waiting absolutely sucks. I was just stood up for a date today (worst April Fools! ever) from a woman online who is now completely out of contact. I would have much preferred a "hey, changed my mind. Sorry" text than waiting around forever.
posted by bswinburn at 9:33 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since he has txted you, you text him back with - I'd be more comfortable texting atm. And then do that for a bit since you're not too sure about him just yet.
posted by mleigh at 2:16 AM on April 2, 2012


If you were absolutely sure you weren't interested, I'd say this wasn't much of a problem (leaving out your social anxiety), but I do think (based on you post), you should, at least, consider whether or not you're preparing to write him off just because you feel it is moving too fast and he's pushing at boundaries you aren't ready to push yet. Do what you like, but, as someone who has had similar feelings in the past, don't write off a good guy just because he's pushing at boundaries you haven't made clear yet. But it's clarifying them that's important.

Once, when I was sorta seeing someone but had made very, very, very clear that I was only interested in something casual, I let a call go to voice mail because (a) I was on the bus and (b) didn't feel like talking, but I did what I thought was the polite thing and texted back a little while later to let him know that I got his message. The guy on the receiving end of my message took this opportunity to explain that he felt that one should respond back in the medium a message was received and that anything less was rude. Trust me -- the message was received on my end loud and clear; we weren't, at all, on the same page when it came to what 'casual' meant and that if he was already crossing lines like this, we weren't going to be on the same page Sure, it can be somewhat flattering when someone wants to communicate more with you than you do with them, and because of this, you can feel guilty if you aren't giving them back what you are receiving, as if you are somehow in the wrong or manipulating their feelings. But frankly, at the beginning part of relationship, that's bullshit we've been socialized to accept -- women much more than men -- and you shouldn't give into that guilt, especially because it's a guilt that manipulative assholes will prey on, even unintentionally.

But I think that's all much more harsh language than your situation needs. If you think you might want to see him again, just let him know that 'no phone chats' is the price of admission for a relationship with you. As others have said, it's not particularly uncommon these days, and if he can't respect that, then you'll have some of your other questions (re: the potential future of this relationship) answered for you.

Good luck -- feel free to give me a call if you need to talk about this.

Just kidding -- if you're not my mom (which I'm pretty sure you aren't), I probably wouldn't answer.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:47 AM on April 2, 2012


I hate the phone, too, but when past love interests insisted on phone conversations, I just bit the bullet and went along with it anyway. I figured my anxiety might benefit from some phone practice. I made sure that most of my communication initiated in other ways, though (text, IM, e-mail).
posted by phatkitten at 8:56 AM on April 2, 2012


I'm curious what prompted you to give out your phone number in the first place, with your deep and abiding hatred for the phone? I mean, you didn't momentarily forget about your deep and abiding hatred for the phone, did you? Was it just an easy way to make the date end? Did you feel put on the spot? Or maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time because you do like him a little but only changed your mind later when you over-thought things.

You are certainly welcome to change your mind. And I think just letting his message go to voicemail is no problem whatsoever, and texting back with a note about preferring to text.

I do think it wouldn't hurt to give the guy a chance. "Cute" and "nice" are actually quite big bonuses, and that whole "spark" thing can happen later. Or maybe it won't. Or maybe you don't want to give him a chance, which is also fine, but to be fair you need to tell him as soon as possible.
posted by Glinn at 9:04 AM on April 2, 2012


Originally I thought your question was "how do I get out of talking on the phone" but further reading makes me think it's actually "how do I get out of talking on the phone with someone I'm not interested in?" And the answer is that you can either espond back to his text with a "thanks but not interested" or email him on the site with the same.

If you're really on the fence about seeing him again, which was where my original response was going, you can just say "I'm not big on the phone, let's text instead?" and go from there. Some people are put off by that, some poeple aren't, but either way you're not obligated for another date until you've gotten to know him enough to make a decision one way or the other -- and vice versa for him; you don't know if he's calling you to ask for another date, to tell you there's no spark (oh yes, I got that one before), or just to get to know you better.
posted by sm1tten at 9:19 AM on April 2, 2012


Ok, so I emailed him and said that I don't like talking on the phone. He then texted me to say he hated phones too. Yay!
posted by sockysocksock at 7:26 PM on April 2, 2012


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