Thursday, January 29, 2009

Phone-a-phobia.....


In case it isn't an already-established fact, I'm a bit of a wacko.

This morning, I am sitting here with a list of calls to make ~ all of them toward a positive end, all of them for a good purpose, non-threatening. They are not call centers with the multi-layered "if you want this, push that" call-routing systems.

I can't bring myself to pick up the phone.

I hate making phone calls. As in really hate it!

Receiving them is fine, although I recognize that I tightly control incoming calls. Everyone who calls me knows they don't have to ask "are you available?" If I'm not, I don't answer. There are times when my phone is unplugged for days. Any time the phone gets picked up around here, I welcome the call.

This is something my housemate, as an example, can't understand. More than once she's said, "you can't just unplug your phone!" She looked at me with horror in her eyes because she honestly believes her phone is for the convenience of others.

Really? Watch me.

Frankly, I wish everyone else would do the same thing. The "are you available" dance is really rather annoying.

"Are you available to talk right now?"

"Actually, no. I'm on the other line" or "Actually, no. I'm just getting ready to go out."

Then don't answer the phone. There's this new invention called "voicemail". Even old folks like me know how to use it.

And I'll spare everyone the call-waiting rant.

...

Making a phone call shouldn't be quite so challenging. But it is!

Many people probably think I don't like them or I'm disinterested because I don't call. That's not true. Many people might think I'm flaky because I don't get things done on time or efficiently. It's not unusual to put something off for several days because I can't bring myself to make a call.

This phone-a-phobia seems a bit silly. I'm not a timid person. Looking at it logically, no one can beat me up, probably won't yell at me or be unpleasant. They're just phone calls.

Yet my gut wretches at the very idea of the list of calls I have in front of me.

Perhaps this is a bravery issue. Someone I like (and respect) says it's like exercising a muscle. Just make all the calls. White-knuckle it and make the damn calls! Yeah. Yeah. I'll do that. Um. The more I make calls, the more desensitization will take place and eventually making calls won't faze me in the least.

Oh, yeah?

I'm growing feathers. The clucking comes later.

Anyone else experience this? Is there a pill I can take? :)


~*

26 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

I don't know if I'm phonaphobic, but it's certainly not my instrument of choice. I do understand about putting off that which is unpleasant; I do it all of the time.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Actually, yes. I have this to some extent. I know that it's rooted in my deep fear of rejection which usually makes calling someone an act of bravery for me. Even though the response is usually positive.

I hope you find a pill. (I can't take pills very well either.)

meno said...

I am 100% with you on this. I prefer e-mail, and sometimes those are hard for me too.

Amy Y said...

See, this is why I love email and facebook :)

I feel *guilt* when I don't answer or miss a call... I hate to be ignored and feel bad doing that to someone else. Like there isn't anything more important in their lives than talking to me. :)

I have phone~phobia at work lately.. I'm supposed to be calling my clients at renewal but I just don't feel like it. This is a bad situation!

ThomasLB said...

I'm with you on this one. I hate hate hate telephones, and go to great lengths to avoid using them.

I'm glad you posted this- now I know it's not just me.

Laurie said...

I am so not a phone person. I'd much rather email or even text message (which I guess does require the use of a phone--but it is less threatening if you know what I mean).

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I hate making phone calls to strangers. With people I know, it's not so bad. If I had to do cold calling for a living, I'd starve.

Carol said...

Yep! We rarely answer our phone and I do my best to avoid making calls. I don't know what it is about the phone. I used to LOVE it. I think that over time, I've developed an allergy. Or, as your friend might say, I lost my phone muscle mass.

I don't know if there is a pill for this, but if there is, I don't want one!

Defiantmuse said...

I don't think I've even checked my voicemail in several months. I rarely answer my cell phone. I do answer my home phone though I go through periods of screening calls. There are a handful of people I don't mind talking to on the phone, for long periods even, but in general I like to be in control of who I speak to on the phone. I HATE when I pick up the phone at home (not having caller ID) and it's someone I really don't feel like speaking with and I feel trapped in a conversation with them. Ugh. And, I definitely agree 100% about how people shouldn't answer the phone if they're busy. I don't get it. Why answer the phone then? I usually say that. lol

Border Explorer said...

What a grrrreat topic! I think I'll do a similar blog post on instant messaging/online chatting. It really annoys me to get interrupted at the computer.

painted maypole said...

i'm not nearly as extreme, but I have some of this, too. and my husband, I could kill him when he answers the phone call that I'm PURPOSELY letting go to VM and then hands it to me.

Woman in a Window said...

YOU are NOT alone. I absolutely do this. I don't unplug, we simply don't answer. The machine gets it and if we feel the need we pick up. If we don't, we take care of it when it feels right or when business has to be taken care of.

I stew over making certain calls for days, feeling sick. It is pretty ridiculous. But that seems to be just who I am. (My husband too.) There's no pill. I wouldn't take it if there was. I think it's more ridiculous to be slave to your phone.

Stacia said...

I hate the phone and much prefer e-mail. And I worked in a call center for 8 years (making and taking calls). I think it's normal to dislike the phone.

RKK said...

I'm with you on most of it, except for the part about asking if someone can talk at that moment.

I believe that if it's important enough for someone to make a call to talk to another one, it is also important - and respectful - to clear the time with them. I just ask "do you have a moment?" Then it's clear to the receiver that you're not calling to just say "hi" or to engage in idle chit-chat. The exception would be if I am not calling for any specific reason.

Leann said...

I don't mind phone's. I just hate LONG phone calls.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I think you're in good company. Several of my close friends, and both D and C have this phobia.

Ian Lidster said...

I thought I was the only one with this phobia. It was hell for me because I worked as a reporter for so many years. But, it never went away.

Carla said...

I don't mind the phone, however, I have no difficulty not answering or turning it completely off when I don't want to be bothered. In fact, I haven't answered my phone in the past two days. If it's important, the person will leave a message.

citizen of the world said...

I don't like the phone much either. And I avoid answering it if I'm not wanting to talk. I fugure eople can always leave me a message.

Mauigirl said...

Great post because I can totally relate! I love e-mail but haven't liked phone calls (either making them or receiving them) since my 20s. If the phone rings at home I usually swear. And of course at work it usually means more work!

If I have to contact someone I am much more likely to e-mail than phone. And the funny thing is, no one would say I wasn't a talker, and I'm not shy in front of groups so it's not like that. But I just find it annoying to have to deal with phone calls.

cjbcasting said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I am so glad to have read your blog and to find out that someone shares the phone-phobia that I suffer from. You don't know how relieved I feel that I am not alone in this. I can totally identify with what you have written. I just hate talking to strangers on the phone. I avoid picking up call from unknown numbers. I have been out of a job for nearly three years due to this phobia. I can't seem to find the courage to call up recruitment agencies/helplines for work related guidance, let alone doing the follow-up. I do email them but if they do not reply, I don't call them up to do the follow-up, which ideally I should. I find this phobia so embarrassing sometimes and find it difficult to talk about it to my friends who are all very confident of making calls to strangers. I have even tried to force myself to pick up the telephone and make the call, but I get so nervous, that I shake when I am talking to the stranger and I fumble for words making the situation more awkward. This just makes me feel more inconfident and adds to my fear of making calls to strangers. I really wish there was a pill to cure this phobia of mine.

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