Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Thresholds for outside stimulation : Media of interaction

After the « who » of my interactions with the outside world, I need to classify the « how ». I don’t know if it’s just me or if it’s the case of most introverts, but the way people reach out to me have a huge impact on the whole interaction.

My friends and family often make fun of the fact that my husband is the easier way to get a hold of me on the phone. They even tend to call him before they try my number. The reason behind this is simple: there is other media I dislike as much as phone calls. I answer my phone for work related calls all day, but avoid doing so after hours. Here are 4 of the reasons for my hatred against phone calls:
  •      My attention is always drawn to other places: incoming emails, TV, people around me, my previous activity, my computer…
  •    You can’t delay a phone call: it’s not always the right time / place to talk, you can be interrupted / interrupting while doing something else…
  •      It is impossible to read the other person’s face and body language.
  •      Speaking a foreign language over the phone tend to be a challenge.

Face-to-face interactions are usually better but depend on other factors like how many people I’m interacting with at once and how comfortable I am around them. It is a lot easier to focus my attention on them as they stand in front of me. I’ll fully interrupt what I have been doing if someone comes to talk to me. Though, I am not always comfortable initiating these face-to-face talk, especially with people I don’t know, at a party for instance.

I am very comfortable with emails as a medium. They tend to be somewhat formal because mostly work related but allow me to proofread myself and take my time to perfect my answer. I read and answer them when I’m comfortable to and I assume others do too. Also, they help me keep track of details and tasks I need to complete.

Office Communicator (OCS) is in between emails and texts. Messages tend to be short and casual, but I can still proofread my answer. The answer is usually expected immediately, but these interactions are not usually of high importance. Most of the time, I know well and am comfortable with people I interact with this way, whoever initiated the interaction.

Although I don’t like phone calls, I do spend a lot of time on my phone, and typing texts is fast and easy and comfortable to me. I can delay an answer, I’m sure the person I’m texting will answer when comfortable to do so. They are more personal than emails and people usually expect little of them (usually the answer to a precise question or some small chat).

Social media have become a part of my DNA. I don’t Instagram a picture of everything I eat, but I still share easily my pictures and like those of my feed. Same goes for Facebook: I share only what I want and keep in touch this way with all my contacts at once and easily. I have been blogging and using Google+ quite often lately with considerable ease, but also a certain fear of social judgment (or shyness).