Social Question

hobbitsubculture's avatar

Is anyone else telephone-phobic?

Asked by hobbitsubculture (2156points) September 3rd, 2010

If you are, how does it affect you, and have you found any ways of dealing with it? I tend to put off calls until the latest possible time, if I make them at all, and I rehearse what I will say. I know for me it’s at least partly a social anxiety issue, and I do the same thing with e-mails.

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19 Answers


One of the things that scares me about phones is when I’m in a quiet house all alone, and the phone suddenly blasts out with its loud, disturbing ringing. I find that very disconcerting and unsettling. :(

I am also phobic when it comes to phones ringing in the middle of the night, abruptly waking me from my peaceful slumber. It’s almost nightmarish and “Twilight Zonish”. I hate those kinds of calls, as they can mean either something bad happened or a nut is on the other end of the line. lol

TexasDude's avatar

I’m the same way.

I actually get physically shaken and scared when I feel (or think I feel) my phone vibrating in my pocket. I can’t talk on the phone in front of people, and I usually have to flee to an isolated area to talk, no matter who is calling. I tend to get tongue tied when I’m talking, too, and I dread anyone calling, usually.

I also almost never make calls for myself.

I am actually aware of the origin of my phobia, unlike many people. When I was a teenager I was involved in my first romantic relationship, which lasted for several years. My girlfriend at the time would call me every night and day and berate me mercilessly to the point of tears. I couldn’t not answer the phone, because she would only yell more if I didn’t pick up.

Now, I’ve been conditioned to expect to be yelled at when answering the phone, so I get scared when people call and I have to find a secluded place to talk because when I was talking to my ex, I would have to hide so people wouldn’t see me crying and begging her to stop berating me.

Phew… that’s some shit right there. I’ve been getting a lot better in recent history, though.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I always think I’m bugging the person I’m calling. I don’t have long distance either, so it’s irritating making phone calls in general.

Your_Majesty's avatar

Yes,especially If I don’t really know people who call me and their intention,and I’ll try to avoid any conversation with them if it’s possible. And I’m not email phobic.

le_inferno's avatar

I get a little anxious about calling up employers or banks or companies, because I am worried I won’t know what to say or get stumbled over my words.

My friend has anxiety over phone calls with anyone she doesn’t know. I always have to order food because she hates doing it.

YARNLADY's avatar

I always feel anxious when I am talking on the phone or Skype because I’m afraid I will say the wrong thing. It’s bad enough when I type things out where I see it in advance.

Frenchfry's avatar

I have alittle phone anxiety. Thank God for caller ID. Back in the day when caller ID did not exist, I always thought it was a creditor and would not answer the phone. Sometimes it was my friends.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I hate talking on the phone. I hate talking, period.

Austinlad's avatar

I’ve never had a problem talking on the phone. What I hate is when it rings after 9:30 or 10 at night. My first thought is always that something is wrong.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes. If a name doesn’t pop up with the call then I let it go to voicemail and if no message is left then I don’t bother to return the call at all. Anymore I have so few days off work, so little idle time in my off hours that I almost dread the phone ringing. I blame my use of the internet for spoiling me to be able to catch up with people, reach them almost instantly and what not and be able to do it while at work so that in my off hours I actually feel put upon if a phone call comes in.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

The ring freaks me out, I always think that some bad news may be announced. For some reason I hate answering!

Fyrius's avatar

I’ve had something like that. I think I’ve mostly overcome it.
It’s much like public speaking; to me it was always scary for the same reasons, and it’s not so scary any more now for the same reasons and to the same extent.
I have no real tips on easy ways to overcome it. I can only say that practise helps.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t want to talk on the phone. I’d rather someone else did it. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s strangers. Maybe it’s because when I talk to strnagers I am asking them to do something for me and I don’t want to be in that position. Anyway, I procrastinate until my wife makes the call.

There are only a few people I will call. I have two friends I will call just because. I do make business calls, but I push them off until I have to, because usually I don’t really want to talk to those people. I’d rather write than talk, and I’d rather write to strangers than to people I know.

I don’t know what to make of it, because I was a little like this before I got sick, but it’s a lot worse now, and even though I’m better, my phone calling is not much better.

I don’t like answering the phone, either. I feel like someone is going to ask me to do something I don’t want to do. I just hate that.

But once I get past that initial reluctance, I’m fine. I like talking to people. It’s just the way it interrupts my life that I don’t like. It’s like a thing. You know? A thing you have to do in some kind of awkward way that doesn’t fit into the natural flow of your mind. It’s just a thing. I can’t really describe it any better. Just one of those things, like when you say that you say the word as if it is freighted with meaning. A thing. Make a call is a thing. Answering a call is a thing.

My wife wants me to make these calls or handle them, and I hate it. I don’t know what she wants me to say and I know she will always ask me if I said this or that, and I haven’t said it. If she wants answers to all these questions, why doesn’t she make the fucking call?

God! I didn’t know how much this bothered me. I guess I’ve been suppressing it. God! It’s just such a…..... thing!

hobbitsubculture's avatar

@wundayatta I get what you mean. That’s how it is for me too. It’s like… if you have a doctor’s appointment that you’re dreading, or some other nerve-wracking experience on the horizon, and you can’t even visualize your like beyond that moment. That’s how I get with phone calls. It is a thing indeed.

The other day I had to call my boss to make a request, and I had written out a paper of what I was going to say, because I thought that would make it easier. Problem is, I view phone calls antagonistically, so that was how I had written my paper out. Like I was going to win that phone call! The phone call would not get the better of me! Wasn’t counting on my boss being easy to deal with, easy-going, and unantagonistic, even though that’s basically how he’s been the few times I’ve talked to him in person. So, my paper ended up being useless, except for the one part I read way too fast, and probably sounded like I was reading. I was so relieved when he took over and said a bunch of stuff, that I missed a lot of what he actually said.

My partner is trying to get me to call and e-mail people about apartments we want to look at. I’m just waiting for him to get sick of me not doing it, and make the calls himself.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

I don’t mind taking calls, but I hate making a call if it’s someone I don’t know.

But like @shpadoinkle_sue, if it is a friend or family member or what have you I always feel like I’m bugging them.

When I’m with a friend and we need to call to order food or see movie times or something like that, I almost always ask them to do it. If I’m with my mom and I need to call a doctor or make an appointment, I always have her do it. I absolutely hate dealing with anything over the phone and if I can do it by email, text message, or online, I will.

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Reading that broke my heart a little bit – I’m sorry you had to go through that :<

TexasDude's avatar

@tragiclikebowie, it’s okay dear, it’s all in the past.

TexasDude's avatar

@tragiclikebowie, thank you dollface.

laureth's avatar

My husband makes most of the phone calls. It’s awesome!

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