My phone’s not ringing. Is that you not calling?

phoneMy pal Manslations blog writer Jeff Mac wrote about how to get a man you’re seeing to call you instead of just texting, IMing and emailing. He had some good wisdom about how we often think the other has the same preferences as us, so we don’t think of doing anything differently.

Jeff wisely suggests being honest (honesty — what a concept!) about your desire to talk on the phone. He said to try, “I notice that you don’t seem to be into making phone contact.”

He linked to my posting “Do you both have the same dating rhythm?” (thanks Jeff!), so I felt compelled to comment. Here’s what I shared:

My only tweak would be instead of “I notice that you don’t seem to be into making phone contact” I’d say something like “I notice we don’t talk on the phone. I like chatting live periodically. Would it be ok with you if we talked on the phone every few days?”

The reason for the suggestion is the “I notice that you…” puts the onus on him — that it’s his responsibility for calling. And it hints at blame that he hasn’t called. I hate it when someone says “I haven’t heard from you in a while.” What — are your fingers broken? You can’t make the call if you want to talk?

In any communication, whether in dating, work, or personal life, your word choice speaks volumes. A little word like “you” can be inclusive and persuasive or blaming and repelling. When you want someone to grant your request, be conscious of your word choice and work to eliminate words that could be interpreted the opposite of your intention.

And I’m sure you know this, but perhaps it will serve as a reminder: Use “I” messages whenever possible. “I’d like to talk on the phone more often,” or “I love it when you call,” rather than “I’d like you to call me,” or worse, “You never call.” The latter are more likely to be off putting.

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6 responses to “My phone’s not ringing. Is that you not calling?”

  1. walt Avatar

    If the problem is that you are calling and not getting any reciprocation, then I like Jeff’s version better. If I’m calling a woman I’m seeing regularly and she never calls me, that suggests to me that she may be ambivalent about the relationship, no matter how things may be going when we’re together. I once challenged a woman on her lack of phone calls in a similar way that Jeff suggests. It led to a resolution. She made some ridiculous comment like “it’s the man’s job to call”, and we stopped seeing each other shortly thereafter. I was glad to find out sooner rather than later that things weren’t going to work out!

  2. Lulu Avatar

    Walt, you sound like an evolved man. Many aren’t. There are men out there who prefer to be in charge of contacts and arrangements, at whatever stage the relationship is at. They do the ringing, instigate contact etc. If women try to call regularly, they are given the “I was just about to call you” response, slightly defensive, or the “I’ll get right back to you” response, as if to say, I have a busy life and I’ll schedule the calls, thank you. This isn’t just my experience. My dating friends report similar dilemmas. If they respond to regular phone calls with their own phone calls, their dates back off. The trouble might be that some men see women as lovers, not as lovers and friends. Or that they have a rigid sense of who does what in relationships, and their job is to call. Women often don’t know what to do for the best!

  3. Mitsy Avatar

    I agree with what Lulu is saying. I don’t mind calling a guy when I’m in a relationship and I never want to feel like I can’t call. However, I have been in the spot more than a couple times where it seemed that after so long the guy just did not call as much or assumed “I” would call and didn’t call as much. I found myself playing the “wondering if he was going to call” game in my head–I really dislike that about as much as anything else when it comes to dating.

    Now, I’m letting the current “guy in my life” do most of the calling as I could see myself falling back into that mode again. If you let the guy do most of the calling, you soon learn where you stand in the grand scheme of things. If he continues to call and pursue, then things are good. If not, don’t waste too much time phoning as that is when he is likely to quit returning your calls. I’ve also been there and it’s not much fun.

  4. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    I love this post. I’m not much of a phone person myself, and would much rather communicate via the written word, as I can do it on my time and at my convenience. Most of the guys I’ve dated have felt the same way, so this has never been much of an issue for me. I can see, however, if someone who was a big phone person got together with a non-phone type like myself, regardless of gender, that this might pose a problem. IMHO clear communication at the outset and perhaps even setting a few ground rules might be helpful, (as you mentioned with calling frequency). This would certainly be a much better method of resolving differences in personal communication styles, rather than simply assigning blame to the other party because he or she places a different priority on the importance of phone calls versus written communication.

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  5. Lulu Avatar

    Can anyone tell me what IMHO means?

  6. Ally Avatar

    “In my humble opinion”