Phone Phobia

Is anyone else here afraid to use the phone? I need to call someone I don’t know very well, and I have a nervous knot in my stomach. It’s weird, because I’m a college instructor and have to speak in front of large (50-100 students) classes regularly and don’t get that nervous doing that, and I have almost no problem walking up to strangers and speaking to them, but put a phone in my hand and I freeze up. I think it’s the fact that I can’t see their facial expressions and that I feel like I’m disturbing them. This problem has had a debilitating effect on my social life for many years.

Anyway, does anyone else have this problem? Or has anyone had it in the past but gotten over it?

I have had this phobia my entire life; when I was a kid I used to run and hide when the phone rang. But with me the phobia is stronger if I have to call someone I know. Total stranger are easier. and I procrastinate a lot about returning calls.

I’m not crazy about calling people I know, either, panache, unless it’s for a specific purpose, such as telling them I’m going to be late (usually for something we arranged via email or text).

I’ve gotten a lot better over the last probably 10 years, but when I was younger, I definitely had the phone phobia too. I still don’t like to use the phone, and I’m really glad that so much can be done online now. I still will procrastinate when I have to make a phone call to make an appointment or whatever, but now that most of that can be done online, it’s soooooooo much better. So I don’t know if I’ve gotten more comfortable making phone calls or if I just don’t have to do it much any more!

But no, you’re definitely not the only one.


My therapist couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Hate even doing things like calling for a pizza.

I discussed this with the office manager not long back, and a few interesting things seemed to pop up.

I don’t have trouble calling people I know, and I don’t have trouble calling somewhere where I am going to be driving the conversation (ie, ordering something or calling tech support or the like). But if I have to call a customer back to walk them through a problem, I put it off as long as possible.

Basically, I figured out that my fear is I am going to call, and make a fool of myself. Let’s say I call and don’t have enough information to reach the person on the other end, or they don’t know who I am or why I am calling, or I call and they answer but are busy and get angry with me… it makes no sense, really, but it bothers me to no end. I have no problem with someone else getting the conversation started up and handing the phone off to me, but making the call? Gah.

My wifes entire family had this I think. When we first met, nobody would call for Pizza. They would say “lets order Pizza. Ya!” and then everyone would just look at each other. It took me a while to figure out, but after I said “should I call?”, I became the defacto pizza calling guy.


Yep, count me in. Calling for a pizza used to be horrible. Yay online ordering! A couple of weeks ago I had to call a guy to come in and lay some carpet for us. I know nothing about the subject, and I was hoping once I laid out the basic problem (I have a small room that I need new carpet for), he would drive the conversation. Nope. He was socially awkward, too, and the entire phone conversation was torture.

Weird thing is that I worked for a few years as a receptionist. It was terrifying at first, but once I learned the ropes it was okay because it was always the same callers calling with the same problems. Once I learned how to direct them it all became routine.

Sometimes I’ll write out a script of what I want to say before I call, especially if I know I’m going to be leaving a message on voicemail. Pathetic.

I absolutely HATE calling people I don’t know. It’s not too bad when both sides are essentially anonymous.

I can receive calls without a problem.

For me, it’s not so much fear as it is HATE, absolute, burning hatred, every time the sodding phone rings I see it as an intrusion into my private space, every time I hear the smegging thing ring, I utter a silent “Frak Off!” to the accursed telecom device…

That said, I have no problem talking to the person who just called, it’s just the intrusion of the ringing phone that I loathe, nor do I have problems placing calls, I just don’t place all that many, I don’t make frivolous phone calls, if I initiate the call, it’s for an actual reason, not because I “just wanted to talk”

I guess you can say I’m antisocial

After 15+ years as a computer tech, and usually the only one in the shop, having to juggle walk-ins, repairs, helping out on the sales floor, etc… a ringing phone is an interruption and drain on my productivity, it takes away from the time I could be performing repairs and the like, I resent that intrusion, and therefore, I don’t want to have to deal with the phone on my own “downtime”

Lets just say I’ve invented a sport I’d like to call “Phone-Skeet”…

I hate having to use phones to call out, or when it’s a call to my own personal phone. At work, calling someone on business isn’t too bad, but any other outgoing call is something I find strangely stressful.

I can’t think what drives it, I just procrastinate, then just make a dive for the phone and make the call. I find myself terribly releived when it’s all done :o

Yeah I suck at the phone too. I’m much better about business calls now, but I loathe the day when our low-level support guy is out because I cringe just thinking about having to answer calls or call people back.

When we first started the business, it was just my partner and I. Every so often he would have to leave (we worked out of his house) and go to a meeting, and I was tasked with answering the phone. I literally cried the first time I had to do it, and didn’t answer. The second time I was all sweaty and nauseated. After that, we got a better phone and voicemail system and just let everything go to voicemail.

Personal calls…ugh, I suck at them. I do better now with cell phones, because I know the person on the other end knows it’s me. Still, if I have the chance to text, that’s what I do.

Glad I’m not the only one. Right now I still haven’t called this guy back. He’s someone I met last week, and we’ve exchanged a few very nice emails, and he called me today while I was riding my bike and had my phone on silent. I want to call him back, and I’d like to go out with him, but I just can’t bring myself to dial his number. I’ve been busy all day and will be busy all day tomorrow, and getting up the nerve, etc., takes more time and energy than I feel like I can muster; it’s almost like I have to plan for it, take deep breaths, practice what I’m going to say–such craziness. And I’m concerned that the five-minute window I will have tomorrow to talk on the phone won’t be enough time to do all this.

Guess I should just do it without so much thinking, right? Sheesh.

It’s definitely a phobia for me. It’s kept me from getting good jobs. Kept me from making doctor’s appointments or calling the landlady to get things fixed around the house.

And yes, kept me from having pizza delivered.

I’ve been getting braver as I get older. It’s a huge rush when I’m able to brave it and make the call.

Wow, I have this too. The best I can explain is that I need to be able to see the person in order to communicate with confidence. Actually, the confidence thing is the biggest part. I guess I have this fear of coming off as a moron, and trying to interact with nothing more than a voice keeps me on shaky footing.

If every phone on earth disappeared tomorrow, I say good riddance.

Count me in. I hate using the phone. My 2 thoughts on it:

When I was a little kid (in the 50s) the phone was only used for a “reason”. Call someone, tell them what you had to tell them, get off. We also had a party line which meant some stranger could listen in… So basically, the only time the phone would ring would be for something short or an emergency (someone sick or someone died) and someone was calling to let my parents know. No calling to just chat… That’s all that went on phonewise until I was a teenager… :slight_smile: So reason #1 is I think I associate the phone with emergencies. Who died?

#2 is that I like having a face-to-face with someone rather than the phone. I can read their facial expressions, know if they are telling me the truth, etc. when I can see their face.

But yeah, I basically hate to talk on the phone and there are many times I just look at caller ID and let the answering machine get it.

I don’t like using the phone much, but I wouldn’t call it a phobia, exactly. I know exactly where it comes from: I spent several years working in a railroad yard office, called ‘53 Switch Box’, where I answered the sodding phone 80 or more times a shift. I even occasionally caught myself answering ‘53, El_Kabong’ when the phone rang at home. That kind of put me off the things for life.

I DO seem to have some sort of phobia about talking too long on cell phones. It’s not the minutes, it’s the weird distortions of peoples voices, especially on a cell-to-cell connection. I just hate it.

And texting. If you want to write to me, send me an E-mail. If you want to talk, call me. Texting is the worst of both. CU L8R. Aggggh.

OK, so I am a bundle of neuroses, after all.

I know all too well the horror of phone phobia. For years, I dreaded having to make a call–lots of procrastination, planning what I was going to say, worries about making a fool of myself. I never had a problem speaking to groups, lecturing to classes, or even getting up and performing music; but ask me to make a call, and I’d put it off as long as possible. I could call for pizza or Chinese, as long as I called the same place I always did, and placed the same order I always did, but a call to an unfamiliar pizza or Chinese place, or needing to place an unusual order would have me more often than not saying “the hell with it” and jumping in the car so I could go to the place for takeout, which meant I could speak with the people in person. Heck, when I stay in a hotel, I’ve been known to take a half-hour to work up the (strength? courage? just plain hunger?) to call room service. Yet I can go to the hotel restaurant or bar and have no problem at all.

I’ve had a phone phobia since middle school, when for months I was getting nasty phone calls and hangups from some moronic bullies, and ever since, I’ve hated hearing the phone ring. (and it seems the only calls I ever get are BAD. NEWS. Or someone calling to kvetch about their shitty life, or someone wanting something, or a telemarketer.) Hate hearing that phone ring, haaaaaaaaate - there’s seldom anything good worth hearing on the other end. I imagine someday I’ll get to experience the ultimate: “the doctor wants you to come in to discuss your test results as soon as possible.”…Dialing out? Ordering pizza? Asking someone at a store exactly where, in this great city, that store is located? Calling the county highway department to ask when they plan to pick up the dozen bags of raked up leaves? No better, I’d pay someone else to do it for me!