No, I won't give you my phone number

Please don't call me, and not because I'm socially awkward

Posted on January 05, 2023

I love you, gentle reader, I really do, but I certainly won't give you my phone number. Why? Because then you'll call me. And this is how it'll play out:

  1. Almost inevitably, you call at a time when I won't pick up. I'll be deep in the flow with some programming task and I won't interrupt that. I'll be sleeping. I'll eat my lunch, without my phone, in another room, and I won't sprint over mid-bite. I'll be with my girlfriend, and I either won't be in the mood to talk to you or oh God, I'll definitely not be in the mood to talk to you. You get the idea.
  2. I call you back because I'm such a nice person. Now it's you who it won't be suitable for, and you won't answer.
  3. You call again. No jackpot still.
  4. It's my turn to call you back. Miraculously, you answer. You tell me that it's not a good time since you're in a meeting (I don't understand why people do this instead of just not picking it up or replying with a text) but you ask me to please call you back at 14:00 when it ends.
  5. Since I know how it goes with meetings, I call you back only at 14:10. And finally, we can actually talk about the thing!

However, the mind-numbing inefficiency doesn't stop after we finished our awkward dance of kolo. Unless I was sitting in front of my computer, I couldn't take notes. So, I now need to do that from memory, which, given the reason why I take notes rigorously during meetings (it being me not trusting my ability to recall arbitrary information precisely in the distant future), will be error-prone. Then I'll ask you about details we talked about, and you'll forget things too that I'll have to repeat to you. Most possibly there are other people outside of us who need the information we discussed as well, so now I take on the role of postman and write down our conversation for them.

People call because it'll be "quick". Unless both parties' day is a vast emptiness, it'll be anything but. I get it though, it's about not having to think: If you have to send an e-mail, you need to gather your thoughts upfront instead of using the other person as your copilot to navigate the matter. And thinking hurts, your brain starts to suck up glucose and every cell in your body screams for you to stop. You may also not be able to type quickly. Unless a disability prevents you from it, the better investment of your attention is to learn it though. You'll also feel like a hacker magician typing away blindly soon enough!

So, please, unless it's an emergency, send an e-mail (or any other message). Am I being selfish? I'm trying to be respectful not to interrupt you, and considerate of both of our times. Calling randomly is selfish, actually, since it says, "I want something from you right now, so throw away whatever you're doing and listen to me".

Needless to say, when it comes to family members and close friends, or urgent matters, calling is fine. This is about more of a professional setting. Arranged calls and meetings scheduled in advance are not what I'm talking about either.

I'll be looking forward to your e-mail!