There are many reasons why people don’t answer the phone. I am among those who shun ringing phones, but maybe not for the reasons you might expect. I am not shy nor do see phone calls as an intrusion. It’s just that I can’t resist agreeing to a possibility only to regret having said yes later on. Yes and!…
At the height of my former career as a speech pathologist, I was on the on-call list for at least a dozen facilities at once. The sheer number of places I worked at gave me the variety I craved but it also tended to overextend me regularly. Moreover, although I had glorious flexibility in my schedule, it also meant that I had to field numerous phone calls asking me to work. Just about every time, I would say “yes.”
ENFP personality types come out of the womb saying “yes.” As dominant extraverted intuitives, we are game for just about any possibility, especially those that occur as a result of the energy in the moment. Yes and! is a phrase that is used in improv theatre. It means move the energy forward on that idea. No but kills the energy. To say that ENFPs (and our personality cousins the ENTP) are made for real life improv would be very accurate and fitting.
However, there is a downside to this adaptable, move the energy forward approach to life. A brilliant scheme might have a schedule conflict that was ignored as mere nuisance detail at the time. Or upon further consideration, you may realize the idea is incompatible with your values (In type-speak we call that Auxiliary Introverted Feeling). There were many times that I agreed to go to the hospital only to regret that I wasn’t spending the day with my children. Or what if the idea was perfect at the moment but really perfect for someone else to execute instead of you?
Strategies. Long ago, I developed the strategy to let most phone calls ring through to voice mail so I could control the “Yes And!” energy and make more conscious decisions about what I would agree to do. I really hate disappointing people (one of my introverted feeling values) and I found this was a way to curb that possibility. I do find that if I have just a small buffer period between when I get a request and when I respond to it, I am more likely to make a good decision. At the same time, it isn’t my only strategy. Email is another way that I tap into my judgment function. I have also learned to say, ‘Let me get back to you.”, although that requires a heavy dose of mindfulness, because I can quickly get caught up in the energy of the moment.
Everyone has specific blind spots associated with his/her personality type. Much of the time, we struggle with these challenges without really understanding what underpins them. Self-knowledge is a way to learn how to compensate for the areas that are likely to trip us up. Sometimes it’s one of our strengths that can be overdone and actually become a liability. ENFPs/ENTPs, does this sound like you?