Don't Say It

Don’t say, “I love you.” Don’t say it. Just say, “Thank you, goodbye.” Do not say, “I love you!” Do not make the kissing noise.


I go to school in Vermont but I’m applying for summer jobs in San Francisco. Over spring break I went to a handful of interviews in person, and over the past few weeks I have had about a dozen phone interviews.

Interviews don’t fluster me. I am comfortable with myself, I am applying places I think I would fit in. And I like people.

Phone interviews are a bit harder. I can’t tell when the interviewer is nodding along with my lengthy answer, or looking at her watch. I can’t tell if my interviewer is done talking, or is taking a long pause. I get distracted. These are things I’m getting better at.

The hardest part of these phone calls usually comes at the end. I feel the call winding down. I have asked my questions and told my story. The interviewer has all the info she or he needs. When it’s my turn to talk, it takes all my energy to avoid saying, “I love you” to my interviewer. … I just want to say it. “OK, thanks. Love you, talk to you later.”

These calls are not with family friends. They are with mostly strangers. The first time I was beyond weirder out. I hung up after these calls wondering what was wrong with me. Was I falling in love with my interviewer?

Now, when I feel the calls winding down, I begin an internal dialogue with myself: “Don’t say, ‘I love you.’ Don’t say it. Just say, ‘Thank you, goodbye.’ Do not say, ‘I love you!’ Do not make the kissing noise.”

While I’m still weirded out, I have a theory as to why I’m doing this.

I figure that 95% of the phone calls I make are under a minute. I call my friends to ask where they are. I call a store to ask when they close. I order food. I ask someone to meet me at a certain time. 

5% of the phone calls I make are about 25 or 30 minutes in length. Recently these calls have been with potential employers. But since I moved out of the house 5 years ago, most of these 20 or 30 minute calls have been with my family. These calls always end with  “OK love you, see ya.”

I think I have been conditioned to say, “I love you” after all long phone conversations. 

Am I the only one with this problem?