As a millennial- I don’t like answering my parents’ house phone.
- The call is never for me.
- Telemarketers are as stubborn as I am and are always selling something.
- Answering the house phone requires me to leave the oasis of my room.
So last Wednesday, though I was already perturbed that the phone was ringing- I answered it.
I checked the caller id, and realized that it was our neighbor. A kind older woman who had been a widowed a few years ago. She has shown me nothing, but kindness, patience and sincerity for the last 20 years that I have lived in this neighborhood.
Knowing she was on the line and knowing her background, I changed my demeanor as I answered the phone. I was obligated and honored to speak to her with kindness.
Then I thought- answering the phone without caller id is like life. We don’t know the culture, personality and background of everyone we interact with, their hardships, traumas, their causes of pain or joy.
People don’t come with caller ids.
Before caller identification, everyone was anonymous. The caller couldn’t be identified until the phone was answered and a conversation ensued.
People are the same way- appearances and surface level conversations offer a mask of anonymity. True identity is revealed through time and concerted effort of getting to know someone.
When the phone rings, I can look at the caller id and immediately know who is calling, choose whether or not to answer and choose my attitude.
Takeaway: When I interact face to face there is no caller id or immediate way of knowing a person, but I have the same choices. I can choose whether or not to interact with them, I can choose my attitude, I can choose learn about them and maybe choose to make a friend.
So… does anyone enjoy answering the phone, or have an interesting story? Tell me in the comments!