Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When You Finally Talk on the Phone

Talking on the Phone with Someone You’ve Met Online. I know very few men who like to talk on the phone, and, apparently, women do like to, though I’m not one of them. If you don’t like talking on the phone, don’t feel compelled to do so at length because it will not be to your advantage if you‘re terrible at it.

I’ve noticed that men who don’t like to talk on the phone, but feel they have to, end up expecting the woman to carry the conversation. This is not her job. Especially if you called her. So have a reason when you call. Know what you’re going to talk about. If this is the first call and you’re calling to set up a meeting, script out the conversation if you’re nervous about it.

And do what you can to put yourself at ease and relax before you get on the phone (see earlier posts about relaxation).

And remember that just because you have a reason to call and you’ve fulfilled that reason doesn’t mean it’s time to hang up. If you do want to wrap it up after setting up the date, be sure to leave the conversation by saying something upbeat like “I’m really looking forward to meeting you.” No need to make this first phone conversation much longer than that. If you want to talk more, or sense that she does, asking broad open-ended questions is fine (how was your day? How’s work going?). Such questions leave it very open for her to respond anyway she wants--details or no, and what tangent in particular to focus on--her hated boss, a cool co-worker, a fun project at work, how she’s looking for another job, etc . If you ask a very specific question, it locks her into responding in a particular way and she may not care at that moment to talk at length about why she recently put her cat to sleep, so you’ll get a short answer, and then silence as she waits for you to ask another question (that hopefully won’t be a yes/no question that again will result in a short answer, then silence…). Your best bet, anyway, is to wait to do in depth conversation in person. It’s hard to gauge a person’s reactions on the phone since you’re missing all the body language. But if you do end up chatting for a bit, keep the following in mind:

Avoid saying/doing anything that makes you seem like a psycho/weirdo: sarcastic joking (really hard to judge how any type of humor is being taken on the phone but especially sarcasm); being “cute” or indirect; being too brusque; long silences.

Keep it light. Save the deeper conversations for in person.

Up on Friday: When You Meet

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