A quite common but not very talked about part of Social Anxiety Disorder for a lot of people is a fear of using the phone. I’ve tended to think recently that maybe this isn’t talked about very much because it’s actually quite possible these days to avoid using the phone and just text/ email/ IM/ twitter/ Facebook everyone, but I think it’s interesting that most people I’ve talked to over the years tend to not be afraid of communicating via all these other methods, just the phone.
Why is that?
Well, a couple of factors:
The phone is immediate and involves an actual live voice to conversation. None of these other methods do. There is also an intense focus on just your voice, and I think this can also fuel anxiety for people. There is also a lot of information missing, you don’t get any non-verbal cues with the phone and I think for people who are anxious about social contact this can make things worse.
It’s also possible to procrastinate and avoid. If you’re calling out, you can “put it off” and not call, thereby avoiding and setting up a negative spiral. Similarly with incoming calls. The phone can give anyone a fright at the best of times, and in response to that anxiety we can just choose not to answer, and once more avoid.
Do you have a phone phobia?
Did you know it was a recognised part of Social Anxiety Disorder? Let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.