Telephonophobia (Telephobia, Phonephobia): A real thing or just a consequence of the technological era?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Okay, so today I interviewed the Director of an app development company over the telephone. No big deal you may think, and you’re right it’s not. However, that said I do hate using the telephone! I would much rather meet for a face-to-face interview than talk over the phone. Even with friends and all but the closest of family I would rather text, instant message, tweet, email, smoke signal or use a carrier pigeon than pick up the phone.

It is not the actual act of talking to someone that I hate, it’s talking to someone over the telephone. Perhaps its the lack of body language or the fact that even a one second pause feels like a month of silence when you are on the other end of the line, either way I just know it is my least favourite method of communication. I have always disliked the telephone, even before the age of texting and smartphones (not that I can possibly be anywhere near old enough to remember such a time). I have had jobs were I was required to use the phone on a daily basis but my dislike of this form of communication still prevails. I’ve had telephone interviews (on the opposite site of the interview panel from today, i.e., as the interviewee and not the interviewer) and these have went really well but I would have still rather jumped on a train and traveled hundreds of miles for a face to face interview than stay at home and just pick up the phone!

So this got me thinking, why do some people really hate using the phone? I know I am not alone. I shared the above photo on Facebook and the amount of likes and shares tells me that there are others out there that feel my pain. Likewise, a quick google brings up this amusing portrayal of some of the reasons why people hate using the phone: 10 Reasons to avoid talking on the phone.

Membership of the anti-phone alliance must be growing day by day as we continue to utilise alternative forms of communication via our mobile devices. I’m sure many of us would much rather send a quick text or email than pick up the phone and dive into conversation. Indeed, the digital era is often blamed for the deterioration of ‘real’ communication but in my case I always tried to avoid the phone so modern technology has actually increased my communication rather than decreased it. Plus my reluctance to communicate over the phone makes me more likely to arrange an actual face-to-face get-together, so in that sense even though I may initially communicate by text or email it still paves the way to an old-school offline interaction… or that’s my excuse anyway.

Now this issue is really not an issue for me, I simply try to avoid the phone when I can and if I can’t I bite the bullet and get on with it. However, others experience this dislike or anxiety over the telephone to a much greater extent. The phrases “Telephonophobia or Telephonia” have even been coined to describe this phobia of phones!

Lindsay Kelsey from the Daily Mail is also a member of our ranks: Call me crazy, but I HATE my phone!

Of course, sometimes there are things that cannot be said via text or email. For example, it is generally not socially acceptable to e-mail your other half if you want to break up (“Dear Sue. It’s over! Sent from my iPhone”) or to use a text to break the news that their favourite budgie has passed away (“Ur bird iz ded”). In these instances I’m afraid you are going to have to reach for the telephone…

bird

However, for all other instances lets just stick within the comfort zones of modern technology. Besides, the media is so quick to criticise technology and social media for the downfall of written language, lets prove them wrong by writing more than ever!

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