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Author Topic: Phone Phobia
Annie
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I have a really hard time wanting to talk on the phone. There are about 3 people in the world with whom I can talk on the phone for any length of time.

It gets so bad that I'd rather miss a deadline for a proposal I'm submitting than call and ask for an extension. I'd rather not get the money for a job I did than call and give the customer the total. I'd rather never call people back who are interested in being my roommate than call and tell them we can't have dogs.

I have no problem talking - I'm a pretty chatty person, and I'll email quite readily, but I just can't pick up the phone.

I'd ask for advice on how to overcome this, but I really have no desire to have a desire to talk on the phone.

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Farmgirl
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I don't have advice to overcome it, but I'm the same way.

I'm very outgoing, and can talk to anyone in person, in chat, wherever -- but hate doing the phone.

I've discovered recently it is somewhat linked to the fact that I am NOT an auditory learner. If you tell me your name, I probably won't remember it -- but if you write it down and I SEE it, I will never forget it. I must have a harder time processing auditory information -- because often I will get off the phone and then not remember what they just told me.

I used to work for a newspaper, and the editor didn't understand why I did so much "legwork" in face time with people -- because he just did phone interviews. I couldn't do it. I could not keep track of my thoughts as well or follow up with the right questions if I didn't see their face.

So maybe it is similar for you? You are more visual and less auditory?

Farmgirl

[ September 10, 2004, 04:15 PM: Message edited by: Farmgirl ]

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The Pixiest
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When you find out how to beat this, let me know.
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Annie
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Perhaps that's it, FG. I just had to interview an alumnus for a book project we're doing in graphic design and I dreaded the whole thing, even though I have years of experience in public speaking. I was really hoping he would let me do the interview via email, but no dice.

I'm basically just planning on having a career entirely out of the public sector.

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Farmgirl
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In case you're wondering -- yes, I work a helpdesk -- which means I'm tied to a phone 8 hours a day. For someone who hates talking on the phone, it is hard.

But what I do for work, is that as each caller calls, I WRITE DOWN on my trusty notepad here everything I can during the call (name, location, problem, etc.) and that helps me process and remember it as I'm talking to them..

Farmgirl

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Icarus
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Cor and my father are both this way. [Mad] Get a life, people! Your significant others and other family members don't feel like making all your freaking phone calls for you because you're too wingey to do it for yourself! [No No]

I don't think it has to do with the auditory thing, because Cor is VERY much an auditory learner.

I don't have any of these foolish telephone hangups. [Razz]

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Annie
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Oooh... what does "wingey" mean?
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Synesthesia
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You are lucky
I am phone shy to the point of pain... I don't even like calling friends that much on the phone.
As for other people, I can only call them without pain if they give me permission. I'm afraid they might be doing something or that I'll bother them.
The net, I am only a bit shy with. I am much more comfortable online.

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Farmgirl
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Icarus -- I'm proud to say that even though I am this way -- I make all my own phone calls that need to be made. [Razz]

Figure that's the only way I will ever get past it. I mean I can DO it -- I just don't like it.

(unlike my daughter who can be on the phone for hours)

FG

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Annie
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Heh - at least Syn has a compassionate form of phone phobia. I don't worry in the least about interrupting or bothering someone. I just hate having to converse with someone I can't see.
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katharina
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Nope, I love the phone. I like it much better than AIM, and I like it better than e-mail. I like that I can get off when I need, but I can still hear their voice. I like that we can have a couple different conversations. I like that I can hear their laugh. I like that I don't have to dress up to see someone that way. I like the rhythm of conversation. I like it.

Having said that, I very deliberately work in a job where I spend most of my time alone with my work. Because I like talking to people on the phone when I want to, but I like that I don't have to.

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Annie
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I also resort to calling someone when I know that they'll be in class or at work so I can leave a message. I really love voice mail. You get to get your point across without having to fill any time thinking up responses.

There are three people I can talk to on the phone: my mom, my roommate, and my boyfriend. I think it's because I'm comfortable enough will all of them to know that I can just say what I want to say and let them say what they want to say without having to fill any time, and I can hang up when I'm done. It's quite nice that way, actually.

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Synesthesia
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Oddly I hate leaving messages on people's answering machines.
I don't know why. It seems to make me unhappy for some reason. So usually I don't.

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TMedina
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Hey FG - tell Ivy to practice singing on the phone.

She'll either refuse, freeing the phone or she'll do it happily, helping to overcome her fear of public singing. [Big Grin]

It sounds like a win-win scenario to me.

-Trevor

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maui babe
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I am very much the same way, and I work in a field where I make phone calls all day. I am always so relieved when I get voicemail, because I really don't mind answering calls, but I HATE making them.
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TMedina
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Syn, that just makes me nuts - if you're going to call, at least leave something on the machine.

If only so I know it wasn't an emergency of some sort.

-Trevor

Edit: For an incomplete half-sentence.

[ September 10, 2004, 04:34 PM: Message edited by: TMedina ]

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breyerchic04
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I have problems with this too. I leave my cell phone off or out of reach so that I can get back to people I really want to, but avoid stuff I don't have time or want to deal with. I can talk on the phone to my mom, my grandma, and a friend or two but not many.
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katharina
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There are MANY times when I'm terrified that I'll reach an actual person instead of a machine, but when it does happen, and I put off calling him for five hours while I clean my apartment and my friend is yelling at me to callhimforcryingoutloudstopbeingapansy, and then I do finally call and I get his voice mail, it's so dissapointing. Because I know that if I can just call him and hear that perk up when he realizes it's me, everything will be okay.

Or maybe I won't hear it, and then that's something I should know, and if I don't actually talk to him, I don't get any information back. I hate that.

[ September 10, 2004, 04:45 PM: Message edited by: katharina ]

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Farmgirl
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Good idea Trevor -- except do you know how horrible music sounds transmitted over a phone line?? [Wink]

Ivy is like Annie -- there is only one or two people she likes talking to via phone, but when it is one of those people, she can be on there forever.

Hmmm.. maybe I should start collecting every Hatracker's phone number and have her start singing to each one...... [Evil Laugh]

FG

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Annie
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What we need instead of phones are mind-reading machines. That would just save so much time and energy.
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Phanto
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Amen!
(Good to see ya here again, Annie.)

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TMedina
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FG - start with the Rackers you don't like. [Big Grin]

Annie - ya know, I don't think I want anyone to know what I'm really thinking.

-Trevor

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Derrell
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Annie, that's a good idea, but could lead to some embarrassing moments. Would we have unrestricted access to other people's minds? [Eek!] [Angst]
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Annie
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Well, then you wouldn't have all the annoyance of people calling you, Trev [Smile]
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TMedina
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Yeah, I could also answer the door in nothing but a loin cloth and achieve the same effect.

But I'd like to have some idea of who I'm going to alienate before I fling the door open. [Razz]

-Trevor

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Synesthesia
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Has anyone ever read Elfquest? I totally wish I could send and still hide all those weird thoughts people don't need to know about.
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Toretha
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I'm horribly phone shy, I hate telephoning people, even if they've given permission, and said I could call whenever. I'm also an auditory learner, so I don't think it's that (I'll remember a spoken conversation much more than a written one, and to study for tests I read my notes out loud in an odd accent, because I remember them better that way)

Once a conversation is started, I'm ok, but I hate the actual calling, and greeting formalities that precede conversation so much that I rarely to never phone anyone other than close friends voluntarily, and even then its just a quick, wanna do lunch, what time, ok hang up deal.

Oddly enough I have no trouble telephoning strangers for donations, or calling businesses to get information. Just people I know.

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katharina
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*thinks* Maybe that's why there's the "phone voice"? Because it's really incredible awkward, this situation in which technology has placed us? In order to make it okay for us to talk at a little piece of plastic and metal like it was a person, then we adopt the phone persona?

I know I've been in the middle of crying or an argument or flipping out over something, and then turned to answer the phone in the most normal voice imaginable. Maybe it's that adoption of the needed initial phone persona that sucks so much?

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Hobbes
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I have varying degrees of comfort talking on the phone, pretty much based on who I'm talking to, but I have to say there's only one persion I'm completely comfortable talking with. My family I'm mostly comfortable with, some other people I'm all right with, and when I have to call anyone... no, not OK. [Angst]

*Adds his voice to those who dislike the phone*

Hobbes [Smile]

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Teshi
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When I use the phone with someone I don't know, I write down my whole coversation in point form; names, numbers, messages, what I intend to say. It's the only way to do it. Everyone laughs, but otherwise it's a jumble of meaningless words.
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Icarus
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http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=winge&r=f

[Razz]

I used to feel the same way abou the people who "can't talk to a[n answering] machiiiiiine," but, ironically, that sentiment seems to be less common now than it was ten or fifteen years ago.

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Beca
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I hate the phone, too. Oh, I'll make the calls I need to, and I'll talk to people in my family, but I hate the phone for business. As much as I try to write everything down, I lose half the request anyway, and I have to get the person to repeat everything.

This isn't fun when you work for lawyers. Especially very verbally-oriented lawyers who don't understand that not everyone processes information primarily through their ears. Especially when they're looking for a pleading in a case with well over 1,000 pleadings (all of which you've indexed dutifully over a period of 2 years) and they expect you to find it for them when they give you the wrong date and none of the words that appear in the title. Jeepers. Send me an e-mail, please - maybe it will make you THINK about what you're asking for....

If I read something, I remember it. I can lip-read pretty well (I'm 75% deaf in one ear, and have some hearing loss in the other, as well). I have an excellent spacial sense and I can draw a lot of things from memory.

But words without any visual cues go right through me. I'm pretty sure that well over half of what I get out of any given face-to-face conversation is visual - thus, I don't 'get' sarcasm a lot of the time.

And I hate the phone.

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Da_Goat
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I have the same fear of the phone. I know it worsened when I started doing customer service, but it's something I've never liked, as far back as I can remember.
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Audeo
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I agree with those that hate the phone. I know that the thought of calling someone I don't know causes a mild panic attack. My throat constricts and I have trouble talking, and my fingers shake as I press the buttons.

Oddly enough, I've never ever had a bad conversation with anyone, but I have a strong irrational fear that they'll hate me forever if I call them. On the other hand, even when I do know the caller, I'm usually not enthusiastic to speak to them on the phone.

If I do have to use the phone, I don't have a 'conversation' like say, about the weather, I prefer to have a purpose, and once we've accomplished it I hang up as soon as I can. When people call to chat, it's rather awkward with me waiting for them to get past the small-talk and get on with whatever reason they really called. When they hang up without ever having a given a purpose it bothers me immensely.

So if anyone has ideas on how to get over it, I'd welcome them. Also I live on my own, so I have no choice but to make those frightening phone calls for important things like pizza and absentee ballots.

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signal
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Yeah, I'm not much of a phone person either. I'm a visual person, so I prefer AIM and email and talking to people in person. Besides, you can't see a person's expressions when you're on the phone with them. Also, I think it makes me nervous. Especially when there's an odd silence and have no idea what to say, but feel that I have to fill it somehow. The worst thing for me is an answering machine or voice mail. I kinda just keep babbling until I run out of things to say or it beeps at me. Oh, and my ears are funny shaped and aren't very ergonomic for phone use.
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Christy
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Answering machines make me feel stupid, but I don't fear them. For some reason I always seem to stumble over my words.

My father-in-law doesn't like to talk on the phone. Conversations with him last about five minutes, if that, even though in person he will tell you stories and talk and debate with you for hours.
[Dont Know]

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Alucard...
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Wow! Talking on the phone is something I hate. But I am not phone-shy, I just hate talking on the phone after answering it all day. I intentionally made my wife cancel call-waiting because I hate the fact of having to address 2 persons, let alone one. I also frequently come home and unplug the phone and let the remote voicemail through our phone company answer the calls. Sometimes I go on the computer, and sometimes I just sit there and enjoy the peace and quiet.

I see nothing wrong with not talking on the phone, but I also see Icarus's side of the issue as well. In my own wierd way, I can talk to a friend I have not spoken with on the phone for an hour and enjoy the conversation thoroughly. But I can get a call from my wife or someone else and have no trouble telling them I need to hang up or go postal.

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rivka
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I also hate calling people up (with a few specific exceptions), especially if it is in an official capacity. Not real fond of answering the phone, either.

Guess what I get to do lots of now that I work in the school office in the mornings? [Razz]

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Raia
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Annie, I'm with you (and a bunch of other people, apparently)... I despise the infernal machine!
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Alucard...
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One of my worst possible phone phobias is when a person calls up and says, "Hi, can you hold on a second?" I simply say, "No, you called me, and I cannot. Goodbye."

That is about the time I hang up.

(On the inside)

More truthfully, I say "Sure" and suffer through the mind-numbing hold music wailing and gnashing my teeth, praying that this phone purgatory will end soon.

But I do get paid to do it, so I cannot complain too loudly.

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Icarus
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Oh, I hang up anytime I am immediately asked to hold by a caller, or asked to listen to a recorded message, or any time a machine calls me. YOU called ME. If you want me to listen, spend the time to get a freaking human being on the phone with me.

I don't hang up on people who call me and ask who's speaking, but I do get rude with them.

That's not a phobia, just irritation at lack of courtesy.

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Alucard...
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Can I change my stance then?

What Ick said!

Word!

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Lupus
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Before you make a call, write down exactly what you want to say. That way there is not much presure once you make the call.

Start practicing by making calls to people who are not on your 3 person list (of those who you already make calls to). Pick people that are relatively low presure (ie: you have something very specific to say), as I mentioned before, write down what the conversation will be ahead of time, and make the call.

For example, with a deadline extension:
Write down
1)Why you want the deadline extended
2)What you have done so far to move the task towards completion

3)What you will say if they refuse
4)What they will say if they give you the extension

This way it is like an email conversation over the phone. You have set goals, and set phrases to get those goals. You even have options no matter what the other person says. This takes away a lot of presure durring the live conversation.

Once you have done that for a while, you can start only writing down the opening, and leaving the rest of the conversation open. After that is no longer stressful you can try leaving an entire conversation open.

It is important that you make these calls from a non stressful environment, so the only thing you need to worry about is the phone call itself.

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