There is something to be said about being able to see the person you are talking with.
I have an ongoing struggle with talking on the phone. In my professional world I have always been able to do it without an issue. I know what purpose I am making (or receiving) the call for, and there is little place for emotion or misunderstanding. But in my personal life it is a different animal, and I would always rather a text or email exchange. I have improved massively over the last few years, with trusted friends and sharing in depth conversations. Each time I talk to someone new things get easier, I am less crippled by the fear.
The fear comes in no small part from my voice.
It is my biggest insecurity and there is not one thing I can do about it. well, other than get over the fact that I find it irritating. So I am gaining evidence that my voice does not irritate others… by humiliating myself through calls to friends. With my closest circle I barely even notice I am exposed in that way now. Which is lucky, given the current Covid situation!
The other side of my worries about talking on the phone is that I can’t see the other person.
I rely heavily on body language to interpret the meaning of conversation. In a text message or email exchange it is almost a given that things will get lost in the words, explanations are easily asked for. But on the phone if I misunderstand the tone then I worry that the person I am talking to will get upset if I ask. There has been a lot of research into communication and it is no surprise that I find this a challenge. With one research professor stating that 7% of communication comes from the words we use and 38% from the tone of our voice. This leaves 55% to non-verbal communication. Body positioning, facial expressions and eye movements…
The body language that we rely on is intrinsic to our understanding of others when we communicate.
Something that I have learnt through kink is the ability to really listen. To be bound, vulnerable and blind to the world around me made my ears hear in a whole new way. This has helped reduce my reliance on body language, most likely because the man who initiated me into the world of blindfolds has always been very direct, straightforward, easy to understand. There are no hidden meanings in his words so the 7% is clear. Tone of voice clarifying the meaning behind his words in a way that I had never heard before. Humour, patience, passion, concern, reprimands, admonishments… nothing hidden behind them. Just simple, intelligible, transparent communication. The need for the other half negated by the trust that he would use those same crystal clear words to tell me if something was wrong. No twisted meanings what-so-ever. I trust, he keeps me safe. This has always been the way for us.
For me, clearly relayed verbal signs with those I trust, it has become easier to over-ride the need for body language and gain confidence with talking on the phone.