I didn’t make up this word. Well… I did, but when I looked it up, I found it here.
A fear of telephones rates quite high in the long list of phobias shared by people who have social anxiety.
Actually, the term is probably a bit out of date. Telephones have moved on from these:
You can do so many things with a phone, these days, and telephonobia refers to just one of them: talking on the phone.
How does telephonobia begin?
It could begin because other people listen in and criticise, either during the conversation or after it.
It could begin with past traumas, like tricks that use the phone’s visual anonymity – people who pretend to be others. The traumas themselves could be long forgotten, yet their effects can last a lifetime.
What’s the problem?
Sufferers of telephonobia worry they’ll sound weird over the phone. They’re afraid of stumbling over words or being unable to express themselves. They’re afraid of what the person at the other end or those listening in will think of their poor performance.
And that’s why telephonobia is often a part of social anxiety: it’s another fear of judgement. Some sufferers of SA avoid talking on the phone altogether. Some never answer when it rings.
What about me?
I remember tricks played on me as a child, but it didn’t put me off using the phone. As an adult, though, I have worried about the way I come across. And now that there are other ways of communicating, I use the phone a lot less for talking, probably less than I should. Lack of experience creates more fear.
What about you?
Do let me know, in the comments below, how you feel about talking on the phone.