Monday, 16 August 2010

Telephobia
















I think I might be sufferering from Telephobia (also known as Telephonophobia, apparently) - a fear of speaking on the telephone.

I know for a fact that I am not alone in this. I have had various Twitter conversations with people who feel exactly the same, and if I do a quick internet search it brings up countless forums on the subject. On the one hand, I am happy to discover that I am not alone, or a complete freak for not liking to pick up the phone. On the other hand, I work for a telecoms company, so this is more than a little embarrassing.

I like to think that my affliction is on the mild side - however, recently I have started to notice that it may be starting to affect the smooth running of my family. My dust is piling up on the surfaces as I have not yet called the cleaner recommended by my neighbour. That dentist's appointment has not made itself. The swimming lessons that my children were given on holiday somehow weren't quite sufficient...

How did this happen? As a teenager, I used to spend hours on the phone to my friends (favourite phrase of my mother's: "but you only saw them at school!"), but I do now think that this was more of a strange hormonal aberration than typical behaviour for me.

Of course, these days I am reliably informed that teenagers spend all their time either on something called "FaceSpace" or txting on their phones - can any parents of teenagers confirm that they no longer have their landlines clogged up? Do your teenagers even know what a landline is?

I do wonder if modern technology is more than a little to blame for my aversion to picking up the dog 'n' bone. After all, given the choice, I would rather book an appointment online than pick up the phone. The invitations my children receive to parties these days invariably include a mobile phone number ("I'll just send them a text..."). I even recently got told off by my father for mainly communicating with my parents by email. At work we have e-mail, instant messaging and even an internal micro-blogging tool similar to Twitter enabling me to successfully avoid ever having to open my mouth.

Maybe it is time to pick up the phone and do something about it.

P.S.: Whilst rooting around on the net, I came across this blog post: http://www.sufferingfromanxiety.com/general/social-anxiety-do-you-have-telephonophobia that has some very simple tactics to help overcome this fear for anyone else that might be similarly afflicted.
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Update 17th August:. It seems that, according to this piece: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/07/st_thompson_deadphone I won't actually have to worry about this too much longer anyway - seems the phone call will soon be dead!

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