There are many different phobias present in this world but chances are more people have this one than you’d expect. If you jump every time your phone rings and are extremely uneasy when an unknown number calls your phone, you might have telephonophobia.
Telephonophobia for those who do not know is basically the fear of taking phone calls or making phone calls. While it might sound a bit silly, I know lots of people who refuse to talk on the phone unless they absolutely have to and chances are you do as well. This phobia in many ways relates back to anxiety on a severe level.
Like in any social or specific phobias, the fear of talking on the phone might stem from a negative experience in one’s childhood. For example, one phobic recalls having developed Telephonophobia in her childhood after having been teased by friends that her (the caller’s) voice sounded like a man’s.
Secondly, the fear that a caller on the other end could be a prank caller can also lead one to become anxious about answering the phone.
Then there are Telephonophobes who have developed their phobia in adulthood after reading or hearing reports about mobile phones creating harmful electromagnetic fields that negatively affect health or cause brain tumors. In a sense, such individuals have a tendency towards Hypochondriachal neurosis as a result of which they develop a persistent fear of talking on the phone.
OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorders may also be linked with Telephonophobia.
Some individuals might have received negative news (death, accident, illness, etc of loved ones) over the phone. They start to fear that each time they answer the phone, they might tempt their “bad luck” and create some negative situation in their lives.
Finally, social anxiety is also a major contributor in this phobia. Most individuals suffering from the fear of talking on the phone feel that their ‘inabilities’ will be exposed when they are unable to speak or express themselves clearly. Even the mere ringing of the phone signals a string of anxieties or thoughts linked with “speaking, performing or conversing”.
Ironically, there is another phobia in relation to phones as well called nomophobia, the fear of not having your phone near you but we will dive into that one another day. In relation to telephonophobia those who have it have noted increased heartbeat when having to go through a phone call, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, and even full-blown panic attacks. While not everyone’s experiences with this phobia will be as extreme most will experience avoidance behavior as a result.
If you are someone who deals with this phobia there are ways you can work to cope more properly. We all have to talk on the phone sometimes whether we want to or not and accepting that is the first step. From there working to make the act itself easier on you can be done in many different ways. I, for instance, leave my phone on vibrate that way when it does go off, the ringing doesn’t startle me as badly as it would. This gives me a subtle reminder that there is a call happening and allows me to answer at least a slight bit more relaxed than I would otherwise.
That having been said, I know what works for me won’t always work for everyone else. For more on this topic please check out the videos below. Do you have this phobia or know someone who does?