Sunday Tittle Tattle: Don’t Call Me, Ever

answer the phone

There’s a joke that’s been going around the internet for a while, concerning phones and how nobody likes to answer them anymore. Or perhaps not a joke so much as an observation, but then there’s always humour to be found in the frank depiction of a trait or habit that we haven’t previously recognised in ourselves. And this one is just so spot-on, at least for me:

Does anyone else do this? Stare at the phone screen in abject horror when it suddenly starts ringing? The caller ID flashes up and my palms start sweating, my heart beats faster – I’ve developed what could possibly be classified as a mild phobia to answering phone calls! Phonecallophobia! And I’ve been trying to work out what it is about people ringing that triggers this reaction – I don’t get the same feeling if I receive a text message, or an email, or if a Whatsapp pings through. Why is it that answering phone calls strikes such fear into me when years ago – certainly in my childhood and up to my late teens – getting a phone call was one of the great joys in life?

I remember my Mum talking for hours and hours on the phone – she’d answer it in the little study underneath the stairs so that we wouldn’t interrupt her – the wire would be stretched taut all the way along the hall and underneath the door and we’d hear her chatting away to one sister or another, or to Granny. Phone calls were a brilliant thing – the sound of the phone ringing was filled with a sense of optimism and opportunity. Who could it be? What news might they bring?

answer the phone

But there was a difference with this old-school phone, wasn’t there? The “house phone”. Firstly, people usually rang up at mutually convenient times. At eight o’ clock in the evening, for example, when all dinners had been served and cleared away and kids were going to bed. Or on a Saturday afternoon, or a Sunday morning, or at moments when there would be likely little pockets of time to chatter away in a relaxed manner.

(If people didn’t ring at the socially acceptable times, then you knew something was up. If the house phone rang after ten, there was only one thing on everyone’s minds as your parents glanced meaningfully at one another: WHO’S DIED? If it was early in the morning (“who would be ringing at this time?”) then we would wait eagerly to see if a pipe had burst at school and there was a day off. Or if squirrels had eaten through the electricity wires at school, and there was a day off. Or any combination of fantasy scenarios that meant that – yes – there was a day off.)

The second thing that was different about the house phone, after the fact that people usually rang at the socially acceptable times, was that you had the option to simply ignore it and the caller would be none the wiser.

“Don’t answer it!” said my Dad, quite regularly, knowing that it would be Motormouth Mike or Great Uncle Bob with the verbal incontinence. Or, if one of us had already answered, he would stand there silently screaming “I’M NOT IN! TELL HIM I’M NOT IN!” whilst making rapid slicing movements across his neck.

And this was the thing – you could, if you so desired, pretend to be out. And that was you, if you’ll excuse the pun, off the hook. The problem with the mobile phone is that it is always on your person. And everyone knows that. If you don’t answer, then perhaps you’re in a meeting or at the doctor’s or what have you, but if someone calls two or three times over the course of the day and you don’t pick it up? Then you’re just being rude. Oh God, the stress of it – the stress of the caller ID persistently flashing up when all you want to do is continue your nap, or finish answering your emails, or eat your lunch in peace.

Mind you, at least you can silence the modern phone. With the telecommunications of yore you had to wait for the blasted thing to stop. And it would ring for ages! Whole minutes that felt like days. The entire house would be filled with the sound of it, and the little silences in between the rings were heavy with your own sense of uncomfortable guilt.


“Don’t touch it. It’ll stop soon.”


“How long are they going to keep going for? For Pete’s sake! We’re obviously not at home!”

On our modern phones, we just flick the little button and the problem is silenced. Although – and this is a mean trick – sometimes the person’s photograph comes up! It fills the whole screen on the iPhone, their eyes stare into your eyes as you purposefully avoid their call. You look straight into your own granny’s face – that person who gave you penny sweets as a child, who you take flowers to every Sunday, who bakes you a cake when you’re feeling low – and you cold-heartedly ignore their smiling request for communication.

“Answer me!” pleads granny, “answer me, my dear! I know you’re there, because you’re always on your iBerry when you visit, you never put the bloody thing down!”

“No, granny,” you say (indirectly), “you can go away with your cakes and your penny sweets, I’m tweeting about #loveisland and the sooner you bog off and hang up the sooner I can get on with it.”

Oh, modern life. It’s the fact that we are expected to be constantly accessible that has made us like this. Or, I should say, has made most of us like this. Mr AMR loves a phone call, can’t abide a text. In fact, being the belligerent sadist that he is, he will make a point of calling someone up the moment they send him one.

“I know they’re there,” he says, “because they’ve literally just typed the text. They’ll have to answer.”

For me, that’s the equivalent of someone bursting through your bedroom door at 2am, playing the bugle and shining a flashlight into your face. “I know you said you were sleeping, but I thought I’d just pop in and say hello!”

Oh that’s another thing, he loves to just pop in on people in the daytime. No warning, no appointment, he just stops by and rings the doorbell. Who does that? In this century? I’m sure people must hide from him. “Yoohooo! Anyone at home?”

Anyway, what are your feelings on answering phone calls? Vote in my little survey below, if you would, or leave a comment. Obviously I’m not talking about all phone calls – I mean, I spend half my day answering calls, and I love a catchup with friends and family – it’s just a general fear of answering them. That you’re always obliged to be present and available, that you can never switch off. Emails and texts can be answered at your leisure, calls are pressing and immediate and – ugh. I’m coming out in hives. And don’t even get me started on withheld numbers…


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  1. Catherine
    July 2, 2017 / 8:28 am

    I’ve decided it’s being a bit of an introvert. It’s taken me a long while to realise ….. but sometimes I simply don’t want to talk at that particular moment. It’s not to do with who’s calling (for the most part!!) but just a matter of timing. I loooove me a text.

  2. Sarah
    July 2, 2017 / 8:36 am

    Love this! Really well written

  3. Zoe Brannigan
    July 2, 2017 / 8:46 am

    What a great blog post! Remember when you used to be able to dial a number to make the phone ring to pretend that someone had called for you and then you could call your friends? My sister and I would need to do covert missions to get away with this and my dad would go crazy at our phone bill and could never work out why it was so high. Awwww happy times (a child of the 80’s) x

    • Philippa
      July 2, 2017 / 7:25 pm

      I am literally crying with laughter as all of this is SO true. Oh so many memories of the landline – can’t stop laughing. Also are we married to the same person? – my husband is always saying ‘why don’t you just CALL them’ as I send a whatsapp to a friend / say to him, ”I don’t know if we’re seeing X and Y for dinner, they haven’t text me back yet’. Call them? Seriously, WTF? It’s basically borderline rude nowadays to call someone. Crying

  4. Linda
    July 2, 2017 / 8:47 am

    Yes, yes and yes to all of that! I also have it with the doorbell ringing, especially when I’m not presentable!

    • July 2, 2017 / 2:39 pm

      Oh yes Linda, I hate that too!!! I’m freelance so like Ruth, often in my pyjama/underwear…

  5. Kelsey
    July 2, 2017 / 8:58 am

    Oh I cannot STAND phone calls, glad I’m not alone. I’m starting to sweat just reading this!

  6. Emma Moseling
    July 2, 2017 / 8:59 am

    I am on my own with my son and have no family nearby so I love speaking with people. It’s lovely to have that contact and get out of your own head and thoughts and hear expression in people’s voices. Phone call over texting any day x

  7. Amalia
    July 2, 2017 / 9:01 am

    Well said! I have two teen boys and two adult men at home… I feel you have spoken for me!

  8. Sofie Aspeslagh
    July 2, 2017 / 9:48 am

    I always thought I was the only one. My friends know me and just text, when we want to catch up it can happen face to face. My horror story at the moment is when caller ID is unknown. I’ve been applying for loads of jobs, so who could it be? So and so from such a firm. Panic sets in. I must remember the job specifications and what I wrote on my cover letter, at 9am on a Sunday morning when I’m not even properly awake yet…. oh the horror!

  9. Anna
    July 2, 2017 / 10:18 am

    Withheld/private numbers are the WORST… too scared to answer them but then get so curious/concerned/convinced I’ve won a competition or something. Even though it’s usually a cold call.

  10. Emily
    July 2, 2017 / 10:32 am

    Spot on! Trying to get dinner ready & you’ve two kids scrapping over where they want to sit at the table, dog at your feet waiting for a bit of dinner to drop but just gets tangled up in your feet & then the phone rings ahhhhh. I also have a work phone & if that rings after 6pm my first thought is oh pi$$ off. Then I quickly decided based on whose calling what will happen if I don’t answer . My kids 5 and 6 love answering my phone though! Mam your work phone rang I told them you were in the toilet & you’d ring them back!!

  11. Isabell Schulz
    July 2, 2017 / 10:49 am

    Loved the post! I made it a point to tell people that I don’t in fact have my phone with me at all times. Whether that is true or not… :-)

  12. Tessa
    July 2, 2017 / 11:04 am

    I agree with all you say. It’s such an imposition – you’re expected to stop whatever you’re doing to take the call, which is usually not urgent. Emails are so much more mutually convenient!
    As for the very thought of someone turning up at my door unannounced…the horror. My parents once answered an unexpected knock on the door and found distant relatives of my Mum’s from Canada, whom she had never met, requiring food and lodging for the night (my great uncle had given them the address). Since that day, unless I am expecting someone or something, the doorbell goes ignored!

  13. Wendy
    July 2, 2017 / 11:22 am

    I have a phobia of the ‘video call’ why the heck would I want you to see me with make up smears from last night, dirty pj’s and my wailing small person?! I like to remain aloof and texts allow me to do that, I may be a long way off instagram perfect lifestyle, but at the end of a baby sick covered text.. you don’t know that!

    • Claudia Liang
      July 4, 2017 / 6:52 pm

      Yes! Unexpected FaceTime is the worst!

  14. Madalyn King
    July 2, 2017 / 11:25 am

    I do agree to some degree, especially if it’s at an inappropriate time or when I’m in the middle of something. However, what really really irks me is when someone sends a long rambling text with a ton of questions which is going to take you about 2 hours to reply to, I always humph irritably ‘but why didn’t they just call to ask me all that’, I hate having to type long replies to a text when a phone call enquiry would have taken 2 minutes to answer, so I always make a point of ringing back to to respond. Turning up at someone’s house though, unannounced and unplanned, to me is just the height of bad manners!
    Nice, wittily written post though.

    • Madalyn King
      July 2, 2017 / 11:06 pm

      What’s even worse is when someone leaves a voicemail asking me to call them! The cheek! if I’m not answering then I’m either busy or frankly just don’t want to talk to that person at that particular time, I also get annoyed by the presumption by a lot of people that if they call you should answer or call back immediately. Yay to the modern technology we all take for granted in this day and age but the accountability that comes with having a mobile phone drives me nuts sometimes, it’s why I stopped using whatsapp, people can see when you were last or currently online and consequently, know if you’ve ignored their message or taken a while to reply, sod that for a game of soldiers, now I only text or phone as described above.

  15. Jana Rtz
    July 2, 2017 / 11:36 am

    God, am I waiting for your first book! Am pre-ordering now!

  16. July 2, 2017 / 11:40 am

    When the house phone would ring, if I (the youngest) wasn’t allowed to answer it, I’d be in a right oul grump (For all of 10 seconds before I found something else to interest me), LOVED answering the phone so I did haha!!


  17. July 2, 2017 / 11:58 am

    Phone calls are work for me, so I get a uneasy feel if I get one on my day off. Much more of a texting person, especially since I had kids and ten uninterrupted minutes are rare anyway.

  18. SuWu
    July 2, 2017 / 12:07 pm

    “Who died?” Favorite line, oh, and Mr. AMR…what a saint! Ruth, you are a brilliant writer.

  19. Patrizia
    July 2, 2017 / 12:24 pm

    Yes to all of that! To be honest I hate phone calls and I think it really has to do with the time we are living in. I do not want to be present all the time and give everyone the feeling I am available 24/7. Glad I am not alone with my opinion.

  20. Poorani
    July 2, 2017 / 12:51 pm

    I have the oldest cell phone (smallest) and I prefer calling from it than texting. Now I know why nobody answers. I should try Mr.AMR’s idea sometime. You should have made a blanket apology to him last week. I too get jumpy when my phone rings, but I feel so exhilarated after answering the call like I have climbed Mt.Everest.

  21. Hannah C
    July 2, 2017 / 1:04 pm

    There is literally nobody I enjoy talking to on the phone. My Dad likes to ring, describe the weather in minute detail and express surprise if mine, 140 miles away, is not identical. Mum provides a blow-by-blow account of everything my toddler niece and nephew did, said and ate the last time they visited. I long for the days of handwritten letters. Or even better, telegrams. I’m only half joking.

  22. Danielle
    July 2, 2017 / 1:14 pm

    Oh my this is me, even in my teens (late 90s early 00s) my husband jokes that song by the feeling ‘I love it when you call’ was about us as I hate making phonecalls.
    He rang me up before we were dating to test the waters and because I wasn’t rude but obviously like ‘why is he calling me?’ It took another 3 years before we started dating!
    I much prefer a text!

  23. Belesya
    July 2, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    Thank you for bringing up this subject Ruth

  24. July 2, 2017 / 2:36 pm

    I hate phone calls too. I see we’re 90% to have answered the same. I thought I was the only one! THe only calls I’m happy to get are family and 1 or 2 best friends.

  25. July 2, 2017 / 3:36 pm

    No, to phone calls. No, no, no. They absolutely should be banned/made illegal. Loved them as a child, when they were never for me: pleasecanianswerthephone, pleasepleaseplease? Now as an adult, they fill me with a deeply-over-dramatic-dread. Incredibly gratifying to know I’m not alone!

  26. Vera
    July 2, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    I love this post! <3
    I remember my auntie calling (when we already had a phone where you could see who's calling) and answering the phone with my mom standing next to me. "No, she isn't here, she just went to the grocery store, do you want me to tell her something from you?" Because I wasn't supposed to ask if mom could call her back later. :D

    Also, Whatsapp voice messages. Why are people using those? And it's not that I'm too old to get it, there are friends who are much older who use those voice things. They are so inconvenient! With a text, I can just read it quickly and type a reply, even if I'm at the loo or on my desk at work or in the train. With those voice messages, you have to be careful how you start them so they don't blast at full volume. And you look absolutely ridiculous if you speak an answer into your phone while you're in the train or at work.

  27. D
    July 2, 2017 / 3:50 pm

    I love Mr. AMR! I have had my first good laugh of the day! Thank you!

  28. Cait
    July 2, 2017 / 4:26 pm

    In the US we suddenly have a terrible problem with telemarketing calls to cell phones, so I’m always pleasantly surprised when I look at my phone and someone I know is calling. Texts are a much preferable means of communication with someone I am just getting to know– I will happily maintain a witty text banter with a guy I’m interested in, but would feel nauseous if they called.
    For some reason I really dislike voicemail and almost never listen to messages. I like that iPhones now give you a transcription of the message so you don’t have to listen to it, though there have been some hilariously bad ones.

  29. Ria
    July 2, 2017 / 5:51 pm

    There is nothing more ghastly than a phone call! Even if it is a dear friend, I still stare at the screen, sweating, then leave it an hour before texting with an excuse as to why, for the first time ever, i was not glued to my phone. What’s worse is when they also leave a voicemail… ugh.

  30. July 2, 2017 / 6:10 pm

    I must admit that I tend to worry when someone calls me unexpectedly! I generally will text someone first to see if/when they’re free to chat before calling, as otherwise I think it can be a bit inconsiderate, like I’m saying ‘drop everything you’re doing because now is a convenient time for me!’ but maybe I’m just overly sensitive

    Jasmine xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

  31. Bekah
    July 2, 2017 / 7:10 pm

    I always find it horrifying when I accidentally tap the green button and accept a call. You know when you’re dilly-dallying on your iPhone and instead of ‘swipe to answer’ in lock mode, up flashes a green and red button?!
    Also, if I need to grab a pen and write something down from said phone call, it’s far too easy to accidentally hang up/mute/speaker with an iPhone sandwiched between your cheek and shoulder! #firstworldproblems

  32. Jo.C.
    July 2, 2017 / 7:19 pm

    I occassionally answer my phone. But what gets me is when someone FACETIME’s me …aaaagggghhhh! Decline call, decline call, decline call. Lol

  33. July 2, 2017 / 8:05 pm

    You legit look like Beyonce in Telephone!!

  34. Lisa
    July 2, 2017 / 9:22 pm

    How about the phone calls from the unknown number? I don’t know the number but I have to wait and see if they leave a message before I add it to the blocked callers. Just in case it really was someone I know but I can’t take a chance and answer because it could be a telemarketer…sigh….and Mr. AMR is a rebel popping in unannounced at someone’s house!

  35. Barb S
    July 2, 2017 / 9:37 pm

    I loved this post and Ruth, you are a born writer. You write with humor, honesty, emotion, intellect, and I hate for your posts to end. I can relate to the way things use to be, since I am a child of the 50’s. And now, I love texting and have to say that my reaction when my phone rings is not very nice. The nerve….and then, if I don’t answer, I am filled with guilt and eventually call the person back b/c I hate feeling like I’m the meanest person around. I like Jasmine’s idea of texting someone to see if it’s convienent to make a call. Brilliant.

  36. Lisa
    July 2, 2017 / 11:02 pm

    I agree with all of this- I emailed Topshop customer service yesterday and the auto reply said that they may call me to deal with my request quicker. Urgh

    Also, having to ring to cancel car insurance renewal and buying any sort of insurance over the phone – it just takes ages and isn’t convenient when you’ve got young children.

    I also hate it when you have to ring someone about something important and then they turn out to be busy and say that they will ring you back and you spend all day waiting for your phone to ring. The anxiety!

    I have to be in the zone to talk on the phone.

  37. Amy Benjamin
    July 2, 2017 / 11:43 pm

    1000% same boat Ruth. I freeze! Then the confusion and frustration sets in, and ends in either answering the damned thing because it’s my dad and he’ll call nonstop until I do, or shoving the phone back under the blanket/pocket/lab coat.
    I think my issue is the same as yours (and majority of readers) but also I’m likely to say yes to everything anyone asks me! I get anxious and put on the spot, not enough time to conjure up an excuse (lie) and then get roped into things I reeaaaalllly don’t want to do! (Read: babysitting, actually going out and being social, brunch with Mum.) Texts allow me to prepare myself/my answer, as well as respond in my own time.
    Much love Ruth x

  38. Jayne
    July 2, 2017 / 11:54 pm

    Phonecallophobia..hurray! At last I have a name for my problem..its a real condition and I suffer terribly…

  39. Susan Wilken
    July 3, 2017 / 12:32 am

    Maybe it’s because I’m ‘old school’ (emphasis on OLD), but the phone is a convenience for ME, not for anyone else. And besides I get so many robocalls that I always let the answering machine take it.

  40. Maria
    July 3, 2017 / 8:31 am

    I had this attitude for a few years, panicking when phone called. Then, after I lost a family member and an old friend (aaand two job opportunities), and was so so ashamed thinking of all the times I ignored their calls thinking ‘I’m too busy and stuff I do is too important, I can always call back when it’s more convenient for me’ (‘cos it’s always about wrong time for ME – might well be an emergency, either good or bad, for the caller, but I’m too self important to care). So I taught myself to value each time phone rings.
    Text and actual conversation correspond as looking at a digital picture of your dog and actually playing with him/her. Sensory experience is poor, no real connections are being made. Text is good for business (“I’ll be 10 mins late”), call is a sign of real attention and readiness to spend somebody’s time on me. So I learnt to appreciate each time somebody takes time to actually call me (and there’s block function for phone promotions, heh).

  41. July 3, 2017 / 9:07 am

    Finally someone have said it! I have the same feeling, i dont like phonecalls, maybe because during the day I work at the office and have to pick up every phonecall.. I like texting much more :) it’s quicker and easier. I dont have time to talk for hours

  42. Allie
    July 3, 2017 / 9:32 am

    I never liked using the phone, even when it was our only option apart from writing a letter (I would have loved the excuse to send a telegram but it never arose!) It’s definitely the introvert thing with me and a desire to control what I say; if you write me a question I can take the time to consider my answer, not get bounced into a quick reply.

    I haven’t wholly embraced the mobile phone either. Not as a phone. I have one that can connect to the internet & I use it all the time to check email, Twitter or the news &c. But hardly anyone has the number and we have kept our landline. That is connected to an answering machine which picks up after 2 rings and everything is screened! Works brilliantly to put off junk callers & everyone I want to talk to knows to leave a message.

    • July 3, 2017 / 7:57 pm

      Maybe that’s what I need to do with the house phone!

  43. TM
    July 3, 2017 / 9:49 am

    This is so true, it really is the truest thing ever written. I hate having to answer the phone, texts ALL THE WAY.

    Mr AMR IS a belligerent sadist! And the randomly knocking on someone’s door thing – shudders – that is my idea of Hell! It most be the introvert in me (getting worse the older I get). I do like people, but I just don’t want to interact with them most of the time.

    I think Mr AMR is hilarious by the way – love hearing all the anecdotes about him!

  44. LC
    July 3, 2017 / 11:19 am

    I love this blog, but I can’t believe everything I’ve read here, I thought it was an early April Fools Post. I can only suggest that everyone needs to get a grip and stop taking leave of their senses.

      • LC
        July 3, 2017 / 10:02 pm

        LOL – either way! But I always prefer to look forward rather than back.

  45. July 3, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    I hate talking on the phone. I’ll do anything not to have to call people. I had charity shop donations in the lounge for 4 months because I couldn’t stand calling for collection (why can’t I just do it online?!). I will happily pass off any job to The Husband if it requires actually speaking to a human being.

  46. Eliza
    July 3, 2017 / 10:30 pm

    Bwa ha. Such a delightful read…and about phone calls! Yaw!

    Another heh at Mr AmR and his random house visits! Laughed at that… everyone else desperately and/or warily texting and blabbing and tweeting and snapshatting away into their little 4×6″ (American here! :) ) handheld universe, and over there is a dude, hands in pockets, lumbering leisurely, happily, contentedly under the blue skies not a text signal in sight, and DING DONG. There he is at your door. My dad’s farm friends would do this from time to time, I remember as a young girl. I remember the first few moments of awkward ‘uh, hello’s from both sides as they acclimated to the random and immediate task at hand. The Unannounced Visit. It was fun to analyze from my toy box. :)) xx

  47. July 3, 2017 / 11:10 pm

    Phonecallophobia and doorbellphobia

  48. bella
    July 4, 2017 / 6:44 am

    I was one of the two people who said they like talking on the phone vs. texting. I love texting, but I also love talking on the phone. If I have to text some more than five times, I really just want to pick up the phone and talk. I am also like your husband, in that I like to go over people’s houses, but I text first! LOL

  49. Vero
    July 4, 2017 / 9:47 am

    I laughed throughout the entire thing :-)

  50. Lindsay
    July 4, 2017 / 3:50 pm

    Hilarious! Actually lol’d. Not the fake text kind.

  51. Emily
    July 4, 2017 / 5:24 pm

    I thought i had something wrong with me, feeling petrified when the phone rings and then I freeze because somehow I think the person ringing can see me and if I freeze then they won’t know I’m there.

    But it looks like we are all in this together.

  52. July 6, 2017 / 5:02 pm

    The worst is having to leave a voicemail. Especially ending the voicemail – I always end up doing a ‘okay thanks bye’ inexplicably in a really high pitched squeaky voice.

  53. Sarah
    July 7, 2017 / 1:05 am

    It’s not just the phone ringing I hate but any kind of noise or vibration can feel so intrusive. I now live with it in sleep mode which is blissful.

  54. Mansi
    July 9, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    THIS. I absolutely detest having to answer the phone just for the sake of being polite.

  55. July 10, 2017 / 2:12 pm

    I love getting an expected call – my best friend and I speak on the way to work most weekdays, but when it’s unexpected it always comes with a sense of worry – especially when they leave a voicemail!

  56. Claire-Polina
    July 14, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    Why would I mind since this is why cell phone’s were invented? I don’t mind texting, but only for very small matters… but I have to say I love answering the phone. It’s pretty simple : no one annoying has my cell phone number. If I don’t feel like talking to them, then I send an sms and say so. Now, it depends on where you place yourself these days, but isn’t this the exact reaction that is bringings us further away from what is real? I remember talking to my girls for HOURS on the phone , also getting to know that guy I had a massive crush on for hours, hearing him laugh and breathe, listening to his tone etc… The fuck would I want to do that now threw texting? not only do I not see his face ( or my friend’s ) but also you can get so many things wrong with just texting someone… For example you could be taking something to wrong way or god knows what else. There was an art in talking on the phone, it’s the person’s voice. What’s wrong with that? Who knows now , maybe the next thing will be : ” oh let’s go on a date but like sit in different restaurants and text each other cause like I can’t deal with either your face or reality”.

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