Fear of phones?

Does anyone else have a horror of talking on the phone? I have hated using the phone since I was a child, although it is hard to pin down exactly why I dislike it so much. I think my main difficulty is 'reading' how a conversation is going when I can't see the other person. I pause for too long, or jump in too soon, or struggle to pick up crucial info from their tone - is this a bad time to call? am I making myself clear?

I am currently going through a work-related nightmare scenario where I have been asked to make loads of phone calls - in a situation I have always previously handled by email - and I feel stressed and anxious about all the time: anticipating the calls, making the calls, reflecting on the calls. It is supposed to be making everyone feel encouraged, but if any of the hapless recipients are like me they will be thoroughly put off!

I have always thought this was just a random failure on my part, but now I am wondering whether it is integral to my nature.

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  • Yes.

    My first job was with a consultancy and clients could and did phone with all sorts of queries at all times. While I was there I became more and more anxious and stressed.

    In my last proper job I was asked to phone someone by a colleague and put off making the call for hours before reluctantly making the call when my colleague became angry that I had not made the call.

    Both of these jobs were before I was diagnosed.

    I think in my case it comes down to control of the situation. People expect you to reply straightaway over the phone while I prefer to think about what they have said first and only then reply.

    I have a mobile phone but I use it almost entirely for texts and only make voice calls in the rare circumstances where text is not practical or it would just be quicker and easier to make a voice call.

    Do you have a diagnosis and if so have you declared it to your employer? If so I think you could argue that what they are doing is causing you unreasonable distress and ask them to make a reasonable adjustment e.g. continuing to let you handle the situation by e-mail.

Children