WhatAEs the Real Reason for Phone Calls at Work?

Article excerpt

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Q. I have a happy marriage with one seemingly silly problem that keeps getting bigger: IAEve asked my wife countless times not to call me at work unless the matter is urgent. She doesnAEt do it as often as she used to, but she still calls about nonurgent matters every other week or so. At this point, the principle is more annoying than the distracting chitchat, and I donAEt know how to make it stop.

Nashville

A. I agree that itAEs about the principle, not to mention annoying, easily avoidable (yoo-hoo, e-mail?) and possibly even a power grab on her part. You say this is "one" problem, and IAEll take your word for it, but if she shows other signs of keeping you on a short leash, then thereAEs probably more to her calling than chitchat.

That said, one call every other week strikes me as minuscule in the scope of a marriage, the kind of thing presumably youAEd be willing to brush off as a small price for having her as your wife. So the question becomes, why the "presumably" canAEt be presumed.

Is your work (or brain wiring) such that interruptions break your concentration for long after the call ends? Is your supervisor on your case? If it is something concrete, have you made that plain to your wife?

Meanwhile, has she explained her reasoning? Have you encouraged the truth i.e., set a precedent of not batting her down for admitting difficult things, like "IAEm lonely" or "IAEm insecure?"

If neither of you is upfront about your reasoning, or if neither of you has a real reason beyond digging in to make a point, then your small problem starts to resemble the tip of a big one. …