Had a weird phone conversation today with someone I used to work with and have determined this: I am not good on the phone. I do not "chit chat".
Now, if you're my friend and you want to talk - to really have a conversation - I'm all over it. I'm involved and active and interested. If you call up and chit chit, taking many minutes to expound upon the weather, I'm calling that chit chat and will probably itch to get off the phone. Unless the weather is crazy like tornadoes or mud slides or blizzards.
I'd also like to point out that my not being good on the phone extends to calling people on a regular basis. I don't even call my mother on a regular basis (and I love my mom), so if you're a friend of mine, you'll need to accept the fact that while I do love you, I won't be calling you any more frequently than I call my mom. That it doesn't mean that anything is wrong, or that I'm mad at you or anything like that. It just means I just don't call people regularly because of Item the First. I don't like to chit chat.
Related to the concept that Not Calling does not equal Does Not Care, is the concept of Greeting Cards. I don't send Greeting Cards. The Greeting Card Industry has spent a great deal of time and money on advertising to convince you that cards are necessary for every single event, significant or otherwise, that occurs in the human life. Hell, they made up Secretary's Day and massively cashed in on Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, etc.! To do what? Sell cards. So in general, I don't send or buy cards for people. Xmas cards I make on my own, so it doesn't involve third parties (other than Michael's). So for your birthday/anniversary/new job I won't remember to send you a card. I, personally, don't expect anyone to remember my birthday other than my mom and Eric, so that leaves you off the hook, too!
This is how it usually works: I will remember that your birthday is coming up a week ahead of time and will make a mental note to myself that I should call you. Then, the day before, I remember again. The day of your birthday, I've probably remembered that I should call you while I'm in the shower, but this tends to be an inappropriate time to call most people, so I'll wait until later. Next thing you know, the day has been spent on whatever it is that I do throughout it and all thoughts of your birthday (or other significant event) have been blown out of my brain (by tantrums, most likely). The end of the day rolls around and I'll suddenly remember that it's your special day while I'm brushing my teeth at 11:30 pm. This leads me to forehead smacking and recognizing that it's not a good time to call you, especially if you are in a different timezone than I am. This is why I call you the very next day for a sheepish and silly conversation.
And yes, I do have your birthday on my calendar!
On playing The I'm Fine Game: If you have a problem with me, you're going to have to come straight out and tell me. This is something I've learned from Eric and from reading Your Erroneous Zones. It's all about not accepting guilt from other people. Eric cracked me up when we were first dating, when he told me of ex-girlfriends that would tell him "I'm Fine", when clearly they were not and he would take them at face value. The idea was that if they were going to lie just so that they could feel emotionally wounded was not going to ruffle his feathers any. To this day, I don't play that game. If I have a problem with Eric, I may tell him "I'm mad at you.", but then I will think on it until I come to the full understanding of what exactly it is that I am mad about and then we'll talk about it. So if you're mad at me, you're going to have to spell it out, otherwise I'm not going to know or pursue you in a paranoid frenzy that I've wronged you somehow.
I mean, if you're mad at me and you can't verbalize why, how am I supposed to do any better?
On Collecting Stamps: I don't Collect Stamps, or try not to at any rate. What do I mean by this?
It was an expression I learned in a Project Management course when working for The Man (back when projects I managed involved more than just my immediate family) . Emotional stamp collecting was when, for example, someone would do something to irritate you and instead of broaching the subject and getting the issue out into the air and resolved, you'd let it slide. And be irritated. Several such things would occur, you would begin to seethe until one day, you'd finally have had enough and then you cash in your page (or even book!) of stamps (ala Green Stamps). Then: POW! You explode all over the person for a single final infraction which in no way deserved that level of anger. The other person is left confused, defensive and angry.
Finally, don't hit me. I don't care if you think you're being funny or cute or whatever. Don't hit me. I don't like it. I don't do it to you. You don't get to do it to me and then depend on my social skills to keep me from hitting you back. This is not how grown ups who respect one another treat each other with respect.