Telephobia

I have had a mobile phone for over 10 years now but, would you believe, I hardly ever use the telephone function. Back when I was a child, I hated using the telephone. Where my sister would rush to answer a call, I would pretend that I hadn’t heard it because, after all, it probably wasn’t for me anyway. I much preferred writing thank you letters after Christmas to making a call, and I spoke to my friends at school every day so had no reason to speak to them when I got home. As a teenager, working for WH Smith, I got over my fear of the telephone slightly because I had an idea of who would be on the other end of the phone – customers. Answering questions and putting calls through to the shop floor seemed much less daunting than phoning my grandma, and I even managed to pass the ‘dealing with a difficult phone call’ part of my NVQ.

However, out of an environment where I’m forced to make and answer calls, things are always a little different. In my first year at university, we only had one phone per flat and I usually avoided answering it unless I was expecting a call. Because of my ingrained dread regarding making and receiving calls, I thought for years that a mobile phone was unnecessary. I always worry that I’ll be interrupting something, calling at a really inappropriate time, or faced with an answerphone, so I’d much rather speak face-to-face or use a text-based form of communication instead. It was only when the short messaging service really took off that I decided a mobile might be useful and for years that was all I used. A pay as you go tarrif was all that was required because I never spent more than 20 on text messages.

These days my mobile is mostly used for checking email, keeping up with Twitter, browsing the web, plus sending SMS and MMS messages. I couldn’t be without it, but I still hate making calls. If I have to make an appointment for anything, it takes me days to find the right time to call when no colleagues can overhear the conversation, as it always adds to my anxiety. I’ve always preferred text. Am I the only one?

7 thoughts on “Telephobia

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  1. Not the only one, although I find the opposite. Phone calls to friends and family do not concern me but I have to work myself up to answering and making any other calls. I do find I heavily favour using text messages also.

  2. Must admit I don't use my mobile to make many voice calls mostly because I'm hard of hearing and because I'm just not a natural phone user. Most people who know me realise a voice call is the least effective way of reaching me. I used to miss pagers (no really) but the world of texting ,social networking, IM and email on the move are my main communication tools now.

  3. You are not alone- I've had a fear of phones since I was a kid. I was so scared I used to make my mum call my friends to invite them over. It wasn't until I had a job that involved phoning companies that I learned how to hold a phone conversation. But calls still make me nervous to this day- it doesn't matter who is calling, I still hate picking up a ringing phone.

  4. I am so reassured to read this and find it's not just me. Hated answering the phone as a kid so stopped doing it. Still hate anything like calling for a taxi, making hairdresser appointments, etc, and even phoning friends unless I know that they are only ones who could possibly answer. I'll use the phone at work but only when I absolutely have to. I'm still not sure why it concerns me so much though!

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