I like hearing from folks that I haven't heard from in a while on the telephone, but there are times that I honestly don't want to hear from anyone. I don't have an answering machine on the telephone as I found it more of an annoyance than a help, but I am rethinking that option. The cell has voice mail for when I don't answer it, and if it is important- friends and family have the cell number. Maybe I will have to put one back on the family phone. It seems to make people feel better if they can at least leave a message.
At those times I decide not to answer the phone, everyone always asks when they finally get hold of me: "What were you doing? I tried to call you and there was no answer." I hate to say, "yeah, it was because I didn't want to listen/talk to anyone". People get upset with that much honestly. I prefer living my life giving honest direct answers, but let's face it, there are times when a less than perfectly honest answer is the better option. It saves hurt feelings.
I am in a person intensive course of study. Listening will be one of the major focuses of my life work along with some talking. There are moments when being alone, listening within and letting go of those thoughts is the best course of action to revitalize self, and that requires silence and no interruptions.
There are other times I need to study or I just want to do what I want to do without being interrupted. And no one seems to understand that, so perhaps the easier course of action is to put a machine on the line. Everyone gets to feel like they connected and I get to choose when to answer the phone and listen/talk. And the telephone returns to being a convenience instead of an interruption.