Top of my list is answering the telephone. I don't know why it is, but I never answer the house telephone. I might deign to answer my mobile, but I won't speak any longer than is necessary when doing so. It has nothing to do with cost, but rather more to do with an often perceived interpretation of time wasting by me.
If someone phones me and asks a specific question, I will politely answer it and if no other immediate question is forthcoming, simply put the phone down. I have to admit that I wouldn't speak to the Queen (were she to phone me any more regularly than she does), one second longer than is necessary.
While not knocking those who do, I have never been able to indulge in 'small talk' or 'tittle tattle.' When I was first married and attended some social gathering or house party, my then wife had this annoying habit of apologising to the present assembly in advance, just in case I said something that may not have been as polite as an untruth would have been.
Anyway, back to the telephone. Here are a few helpful tips I have developed over the years of my anti-socialness. To get rid of the Friday night telephone sales team wanting to give you the prize you have won, simply tell that that you have had such a good day that you'd like them to give the prize to some other poor soul who needs it more. Or; if the cold caller begins by saying,' Hi there. I'm Jack the lad. Do you have a few minutes to give me?' just say, 'So glad that you phoned, Jack, as I've been trying to get through to the Samaritans for the past hour and If I don't talk to someone soon, I'll not wait 'til tomorrow to top myself!'..............or......... 'Take as long as you want,Thomas, but just hang on two minutes while I get my Jehovah's Witness Bible!'
I have just devised a perfect phone message for when I am not available to take a call on the house phone: 'Hello there. This is Bill. I haven't come to the phone at this precise moment because there is a particular nasty person whom I want to avoid talking to. Please leave your message after the tone and I'll get back to you soon...........unless of course you are that nasty person!'
William Forde: February 2Oth, 2014.