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NMRNO

How to say "please don't call" without upsetting anyone?

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  I have always struggled talking on the phone with people.  I need to see faces to "read" them.  After my mom passed away in November, i had to turn my phone on silent and walk away because I could not emotionally handle talking.  I still can't talk about my mom on the phone.  Then, yesterday my dad died.  My sister understands me and knew to let me know via text message because we just went through it with our mom.  I had to have my husband call his wife for me to find out more because I am terrified to talk on the phone.  I freeze.  I can't do it. I break down into a panic.  However, with that said, I think people think I am blowing them off when I don't answer.  So, how can I ask people nicely that though I appreciate them reaching out to me, I am not up to speaking on the phone?  

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Dear NMRNO,

I’m so sorry for your losses.  That’s really traumatic to loose both your parents 2 months apart.  I’m so sorry.  I think if you let the calls go into voice mail and then send a nice text saying thank you for your message, I’m not able to talk right now, I hope you can understand and thank you for thinking of me.

That should do it.  People want to reach out.  A lot of us don’t have that.  After a while no one reaches out, they all just get on with their lives.  I think it’s important to acknowledge them but also looking after your own needs.  

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Hi NMRNO,
From experience, you can't tell people not to call. I had the same situation a decade ago. Only the people that are close will understand and hear us (like your sister), the rest can't comprehend why anyone wouldn't want to talk to them on the phone.
As sadandlost said, voicemail is the only way to go. You can have a message saying something like you are not taking calls at this time. They shouldn't be offended as it is not personal, it is to all calls.
I ended up dealing with it by disconnecting my phone. It got to the stage where I felt like I was being "hunted" by the callers so I changed numbers.

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