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Turns out I suffer from…Telephonophobia? September 17, 2008

Posted by patrick.klepek in horror.
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https://i2.wp.com/img.slate.com/media/1/123125/2110471/2134208/2135431/060208_mb_Cell_phone_Tn.jpgI’m being serious here. For a long, long time I’ve experienced mild-to-annoying factors of stress when faced with the prospect of using a telephone. It happens most often when someone is calling me, especially so if I don’t know who they are. Whereas other people don’t answer unknown calls out of principle, I do it because it causes me a relatively mild panic attack.

I always thought it was a result of my mostly defeated social anxieties, but it’s actually…telephonophobia.

Telephonophobia is the fear of telephones. I’m not talking about that actual telephone itself, I am referring to making and receiving phone calls. Social anxiety is a fear of being judged by others, as well as fearing social situations. Those suffering social anxiety may also have telephonophobia which is the fear of telephones.

The symptoms have never stopped me from doing my job, but I’d joked to Katie that perhaps it was actually a phobia others shared. Turns out it is. I never knew I had an obscure phobia! You learn something new every day.

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1. Jenn - September 17, 2008

I have it. Bad. Probably worse than my problem with planes or, uh, showing up places. My voicemail is always full, and I rigorously screen my calls. If a number I don’t recognize rings my phone, I research the area code before deciding whether to call back. Before I make an important call, or receive a scheduled one, I have a beer and several cigarettes. While I drink that beer, I always make an outline of my half of a phone conversation, bulleting key talking points that I know I might stall and forget. I’ve found that I can give an extremely professional interview this way, and it keeps me from hyperventilating.

2. Chris Furniss - September 17, 2008

I also have it. I used to screen my calls until I figured out I could just *not* give anyone my phone number and people will stop calling. I hate talking on the phone like i hate fire. I won’t call tech support if I can get away with it, and even if I have a billing dispute or something with a company I will put off calling them for weeks until the bill becomes overdue. I always chalked it up to normal procrastination. Most of my phobia comes from having to engage in casual conversation and small talk. I despise small talk and just end up coming off as really awkward. Since phone calls usually end up being mostly small talk and social niceties (hello, how are you. okay that sounds great, I will call you later bye) I dread them immensely.

3. Kathy - October 1, 2008

Glad I am not alone! Wow! I can send emails, text with no problem. I don’t panic as much if someone is calling me, but I do panic when I have to call someone I don’t know.

I work for a telephone directory and have to talk to people on the phone to obtain permission to print website information in our books. I will end up sending as many emails to different people for permission and only calling when the emails fail, or looking for a disclaimer on their website giving me the right to use their stuff! Sad isn’t it. It has not effected my job much, yet, but I know I will have to contact people one day.

I am not selling anything, but giving them the opportunity to have more or less free advertising if it deals with the community in some way. I don’t know why I have this phobia of fearing the telephone, and I have no idea how this happened.


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