Our smartphones have given us the ultimate convenience that we can think of. Everywhere we go, we have it chained in our hands and every beep or notification we hear or feel, we constantly check on it. Sure, it just might be a habit that we developed but who would’ve known that phones can actually give us anxiety.
I know I’m not the only person who hates getting phone calls without getting a text first especially if I don’t know what the phone call is going to be about. Sometimes, I still get anxious if I’m expecting a phone call, especially if it’s an interview.
Just recently I got a phone call from an unknown number. Many things went over my mind all at once but it kept on ringing so I finally answered and it turned out it was just my friend, saying hi. I got anxious for no reason.
In my experience, I would always be anxious and agitated when I’m scheduling a phone interview and during the interview itself. No matter how prepared I get with all the notes I have in front of me and pen in my hand, anxiety is there by my side to keep me company.
Personally, I wouldn’t say that my being scared of phone calls is severe but then I heard this thing called “Telephone phobia or telephobia,” a type of social phobia or social anxiety.
There’s a wide spectrum of telephone phobia which means there’s different kinds of severity of being afraid of phone conversations. There’s “telephone apprehension” which is the lower degree of the phobia where sufferers basically experience anxiety about the use of phones but less severe degree compared to the actual phobia.
Telephobia is not actually new. Even during the 1920s and the 1980s, there were already cases of telephobia rooted from sales calls.
Many people are telephonophobics for many reasons: they might associate phone calls from getting a threatening or intimidating phone call; they get embarrassed from having to “perform” or speak at the end of the line; or just plainly fear of using the phone in any context.
According to a British psychologist Amanda Lurie, “The ring of the phone might trigger a whole series of thoughts – that they will have to speak, talk, perform. What is the person at the other end of the line going to think of them?”
Funnily enough while telephone phobia exists, there’s also this thing called “NOMOPHOBIA” or NO MObile PHonePhoBIA, a psychological condition when people have fear of being detached from their phones. Basically, it’s a proper term of smartphone addiction.
Hating phone calls doesn’t necessarily mean you have social anxiety but this can go hand-in-hand because some people who are afraid of phone calls can perfectly function well in social settings.
If you think for yourself that this fear of phones or phone calls is taking over your life, there are telephobia treatments or coping mechanisms you can choose from. There are choices like getting cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) especially if t you can’t function well anymore.
But here are some simple strategies I choose to cope with phone calls:
- Understand your anxiety. You have to accept for yourself that being afraid and anxious is totally acceptable and understandable. In my experience, despite my fear, all I know is I have to go with it and it would end anyway.
- You can “rehearse.” Yep, if you know what the phone call is going to be about, you can practice and list all the things you’re going to say. It’s like public speaking, you have notes in front you, but at least you know you’ll come in prepared.
- You’re not alone. Just think about it, what if the person you’re talking to on a phone is also anxious of phone calls? Whenever you’re in a phone conversation, make sure to keep a calm headspace so you can focus if you’re afraid of messing up the conversation.
- Reward yourself after a call. Ending a phone call feels like a weight has been lifted off your chest. Celebrate and reward yourself if the phone call has been successful! This just means that you’ve done well despite your anxiety.