I am personally reluctant to ask people I am attracted to for their phone number. Giving them my email address and phone number, no problem. Accepting offered contact info, just as easy. Asking for it though… I worry about me.
I do not recollect ever being told by someone that I was smothering them, but I feel very much like I am unreasonable or excessive when seeking the attentions of friends and (potential) lovers. I’ve said it before, but I worry that somehow I’ll be like Jon Favreau’s character in Swingers, calling too soon and too often and perhaps inarticulately and somehow ruining whatever favorable impression I may have made in person. I feel somehow that if I give my information out and get no response, that it was better that I didn’t have their contact info anyway, as I would have tried to contact someone who didn’t want to contact me. That if I give out my contact information and do get contacted, that perhaps I’ll have someone new to talk to at the least. Human contact is appreciated.
Mobile phones have changed everything. It used to be that if one gave out their number, there were some great opportunities for false hope. While one is away from home, they could call at any time without one knowing. Perhaps they called and were too nervous to leave a message. Perhaps they are leaving a message right now, while I am away. Opening the door when coming home was a moment of anticipation as you hoped to see the light on the answering machine blinking away, a sign that someone was thinking of you. If you didn’t want to miss a call, you had to stay at home, literally sitting by the phone, waiting for it to ring.
Now I carry my only phone with me at all times. I am always sitting by the phone, waiting for it to ring. The fact that I’ve been having trouble getting steady signal lately gives me reason for a tiny amount of false hope, since perhaps their call didn’t get through to my phone, but it is hard to believe. I simply don’t miss calls. Even when I don’t answer the phone (because I am in a movie, for instance) I know when someone is calling me, and usually who is calling me as well, the moment they call me. That old anticipation of coming home and hoping for new messages has been displaced to mail and email, but it is not the same because I can’t hear the voice. Plus, I never used to get SPAM on my answering machine.
Everyone I discuss the activities of mine I am most concerned about crossing some line or turning into stalking tells me that I have nothing to worry about, that I am not doing anything wrong. Some even say I am doing everything right, but I wish there were some sort of auditing system for it all. Some way I could submit every email and transcripts of every conversation to trained professionals who could let me know where it all went wrong. Why they stopped responding to my email, or why the conversation dried up all of a sudden, or what I could have said or not said or done or not done so things could have worked out even a little better. I keep trying to imagine a handheld device, or maybe a combination of a bluetooth omnidirectional microphone and a device in the pocket or backpack, that has not just voice recognition in the standard sense of being able to recognize words and transcribe them, but also voice recognition in the sense that it is able to properly transcribe who said what in a conversation. I keep trying to figure out how to write software to do that, plus to be able to recognize context and figure out what people’s names are on its own, then build a database of all the conversations I’ve been involved in, searchable by date/time, people in the conversation, keywords, whatever. Because my memory just isn’t what I’d like it to be.
I’ve gotten off track, here. I meant to be speaking about why I’m still too shy to ask for other people’s phone numbers when I feel just fine giving mine out. Probably something about putting the burden on the other person’s shoulders. Revealing that I feel that understanding how soon and how personal and the expected contents of that first conversation is a burden. That I don’t understand, or at least I worry that I don’t. Perhaps that I feel that by giving out my information I am expressing my interest, and that in contacting me or volunteering your information you are expressing yours. That without that return I will doubt that there is any interest.