File this under “social anxiety.”
The other day, a friend rang me. I saw her name pop up on my phone.
I like this friend a lot, but I HATE talking on the phone.
I audibly groaned and felt guilty as I stared at the ringing phone and decided to ignore the call. Seriously–it’s nothing against the person. I just really really hate chatting on the phone. Damn it. I still feel bad. I should have just answered it.
I think I hate it because when your phone rings, it means you have to talk to someone RIGHT NOW. You don’t have time to mentally prepare. Whatever you are doing? You have to stop.
And now I keep putting off calling her back….I’m such a terrible friend. I wish I could just tell her, “I’m sorry, but I just really hate talking on the phone.”
Or, I could just call her back…..
Ok, guys. I called her and we had a great chat. What was I so worked up for??
I guess it was just the anticipation that was the bad part.
Totally me-I always think whoever is calling wants something i.e to ask me to do something. I can’t bear the small-talk before they get to ask me something.
Totally understand! I’m fine if I initiate the call to a friend or family, but not a business call. It’s having the phone ring and feeling like you have to talk right then and there, without thinking ahead of time about what to say, or how to respond to something. If I am tired, or drained, or overstimulated, I don’t have the energy to respond well to a phone call.
Here we go again! I swear you wrote this about me! I am so amazed and overjoyed. reading your blog lets me validate how I feel. I have always thought only I despised hearing the phone ring!
I yell, groan or complain almost everytime the phone rings. Your post made me realize that it is a type of control issue for me. Just like you, I feel like a bad friend since I dread phone calls. But it is the control factor that makes the difference. When a friend calls me, I might not be mentally or emotionally prepared. By calling them back, I feel more in charge. Also, I’ve learned to kindly draw boundaries when calls become tiresome with small talk. I don’t make excuses anymore. I simply tell the friend how much I’ve enjoyed talking to them, but I have to go.
Thanks again. I look forward to your insightful writing. You rock!
That’s why I like texting, it’s a nice way to say, “I’m thinking about you, if you have time…call” It’s also not limited to my friends, but family members too. Unless they have something to share. It’s funny but even when I have things to say to that person, I often can’t remember what I needed to say if they call me out of the blue. When I hang up, then I remember the stuff I was wanting to say and I will call them back.
Me, too. I hate it at holiday gatherings when someone calls and they start passing the phone around. And Skype is even worse.
I thought it was just me. The other way around though. I don’t mind people I know phoning me, but I don’t like phoning anyone, even people I know. I get really nervous.
I feel the same way with answering the phone my family got really upset with me the other day and reemed me out because of it.
Do you all see how disfunctional and selfish and controlling this behavior is? What if they really needed you? What if it was an emergency? A friend is there for a person – not just when they feel like it. Sorry but texting is also used when you don’t want to speak to someone. Fine if you are not friends but if you are friends – something’s wrong. Really wrong – particularly if you never like using the phone. How much more detached can you get? I end relationships with folks like you. Why? Because if it is just texting or e-mailing it’s not a relationship of any kind. It’s mechanical. Signs of our times – I guess!
Hi Bill, I think it’s fine to end relationships with people you no longer want to be in contact with. But I don’t see how not answering a ringing phone is selfish. A phone is a communication tool that I choose to use–it does not give others control over me. In my opinion, it is odd to feel that you are at mercy of a ringing phone. It’s the same reason I wouldn’t interrupt a conversation with a person to answer a ringing phone–the phone can wait for when I am ready. However, if a friend left a message or text that was urgent or an emergency, I would call back right away.
I strongly disagree that emailing is not a relationship. Many people, like me, communicate best in the written word. It is fine to be either way–to be best at the written word or the spoken word. It’s just different.
Lastly, the tone of this post was meant to be light–like a little bit tongue-in-cheek.
Actually, what is selfish is the caller expecting the person on the other end of the line to drop everything else going on in his or her world to take the call. Maybe the caller is hard to get off the phone with or doesn’t understand that someone does not have enough down time for idle chit chat at that time. If I am going to have a phone conversation outside of my job, the people in my life know to text me first and ask If it’s a good time to talk. Of course I love them and care about them. That doesn’t mean I’m always in the best place or even mindset to have a conversation.
Bill, as the old saying goes…
“Unless you’ve walked a day in my shoes, you have no right to judge.”
You can’t fully understand a HSP unless you either are one, or have a close friend or family member who is one.
Even then, it is very difficult at times.
If it’s an emergency, they’ll leave a voicemail. I think it’s selfish to call people everyday when they have a husband, kids, and take care of a paraplegic elderly parent.
It got to the point that me and hubby weren’t seeing each other in the evening. because friends start calling as soon as you get off work. By the time you’re done with phone calls, and bed routine with kids, and bed routine with elderly parent, it’s already 10pm and you re too tired and have talked to too many people to give anything else. And if you have any mental health problems like me, just trying to take care of the family is an enormous feat for me.
My phone is strictly for emergency use now, like they used to be. No sense in someone being able to interrupt my routine everyday.
Bill, listen carefully to my next words. They have the potential to change your life.
You are an idiot, Bill.
Now go take a nap and meditate on that.
My daughter is going thru a very messy divorce of 10 years and 3 children from the marriage. We are totally behind her in her endeavors to support our 3 grandchildren since she left with the kids to a safe house with basically nothing due to ongoing circumstances Our ex-son-in-law retains the matrimonial home and all of the matrimonial assets, and has a girlfriend living in the home, (and maybe at least 1 renter in the house), but seems to think he has no obligation for child support and/or any share of these assets to his wife. It has been an ongoing nightmare of affidavits and delay tactics for her to get even minimal support from him.
I’ve just discovered this blog and am enjoying all of the valuable information that I’ve found thus far. I am continually amazed at what I learn about myself when I discover yet one more characteristic or trait that I thought was “weird” or “abnormal” that is, in reality, another indicator of my highly sensitive nature.
That said, I’ve two observations that I’d like to share with other readers regarding my enormous dislike of talking on the phone.
First, with reference to Bill’s comments about not answering the phone being indicative of disfunctional selfishness. It has always seemed to me that a ringing telephone or a dinging doorbell is, really, someone’s way of saying “hey, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing right now, what I need to talk to you about is absolutely more important so leave it and give me your attention. You can go back to whatever you were doing later…” Although I am quite certain that people who use telephones or doorbells don’t perceive themselves as being self-centered or selfish (and would probably be mortified to know that some people perceive that) telephones and doorbells CAN be rude intrusions. I, personally, DON’T consider them such UNLESS I either answer the bell and end up talking to a salesperson OR find my own conversations with others interrupted when the other stops conversing in order to answer the phone or the doorbell. Text messaging and emailing, however, while not terribly less demanding, both allow for a less intrusive approach which seems to me to say “hey, when you have a minute, get in touch with me.” Far less demanding, far less selfish in the caller’s perceived expectation by the recipient and far more “user friendly” in my opinion.
Secondly, regarding the use of the telephone I have discovered that my dislike of the telephone diminishes markedly when I am the person making the call. I know why I’m calling, I can sidestep “small talk” (which I truly abhor!) and I can politely end the conversation when the issue I’ve called about has been addressed. When someone calls me I have no idea what they want, small talk or rambling is not UNlikely and ending the conversation always seems to be the “right” or “responsibility” of the caller thereby offering the opportunity for small talk and rambling (not to mention repeating repeating repeating) to go on and on and on!
You explain it EXACTLY right about how phone calls feel like, “hey, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing right now, what I need to talk to you about is absolutely more important so leave it and give me your attention…”
May I please copy & paste or forward your comment to my family? I had no idea how to express my thoughts & feelings about this issue until I read this – now it all makes sense. Thank you so very much!
When my phone rings I think “what fresh hell is this!? ” Lol
Thanks for making sense of my quirky – ness
i’ve always had a phone phobia! even in high school, i’d beg my mom to make phone calls for me, like if i had to call the bank or set up appointments. i am trying to figure out why i hate the phone so much- i hate small talk, i hate dead silences, i hate not being able to read the other person’s facial cues, i hate the awkward goodbye part. i also feel like i have to multitask when i’m on the phone to make use of time, but then i’m a horrible multi-tasker so i usually get flustered.
Oh my gosh YES! I *hate* talking on the phone and will do a lot in order to avoid it. When I was younger I loved eating pizza, and my parents would tell me that if I called and ordered the pizza, we could have it for dinner. You probably already know that we did NOT have pizza very often 🙂
I can’t stand the awkwardness, the interruptions, the struggle to understand the other person, and trying to get off the phone gracefully. Ick. I’m so thankful for texting!
I thought it was just me, unique. I hate phones; I hate answering the bloody things. I’m definitely an super HSP.
I realize this post is a couple of years old now, but having just dealt with my phone anxiety I needed to read some like-minded comments about dislike of the phone. For me, it’s not just receiving phone calls, but having to make them, that I despise. Now, calling family members or friends is fine. In fact, I prefer to be the one calling rather than them calling me (and I will often not answer the phone when they call me, give myself a few minutes to mentally prepare, and then call back). It’s calling businesses, service people, doctors, etc, that I HATE. I will avoid making these kinds of calls for weeks or sometimes months, because they stress me out so much. When I finally get around to it, I generally have to jot down what I’m going to say and kind of practice it in my head, otherwise I often stumble over my words and end up sounding like an idiot. I wish there was a way to make it less of a stressor for me, but honestly making calls is one of my most despised activities.
I also wanted to say how much I agree with the comment above that said a ringing phone or doorbell does feel like a demand to drop what I’m doing and pay immediate attention to someone else. It feels like an intrusion, even if it’s someone I generally enjoy talking to or seeing, it’s the fact that the interaction is happening on someone else’s terms, and not mine, that can throw me off. That is why, as I mentioned above, I will often not answer the phone right away, give it some time, and then call the person back. Plus, if they leave a message then I know what they want ahead of time and can prepare myself for talking about whatever they needed.
I agree 100 percent. I hate talking to medical practitioners as well. Insurance companies are a pain to have to call as well. They are usually not very understanding to sensitive people, especially here where I live. In my case, talking to family members is painful as well, since they are the “exact opposite” of “sensitive” in every sense of the word. I can talk to my girlfriend pretty well though, since she is HSP like me, but she is an “extrovert” HSP (some extroverts are HSPs as well). Even other friends can be difficult to talk to from time to time.
Wow Bill. You must be an extrovert. Lol
I can’t believe I’m not alone in this! I Totally hate calls, mainly when I am the caller. I forget to say what I wanted and why I called. And that’s because I lose my self in the small talk (because to ask what you want directly isn’t polite) and I hate small talk too. So, I write down all the points I wanna make while on the call. And this happens also with calling friends. But the more often I call a friend, the easier it gets. Those closed ones with which I communicate every day, don’t pose a problem for me anymore. The work calls are the most horrible for me! I think I sound like a retard on the other end. I can’t express my thoughts the way I intented and I feel that it’s a very limiting experience for me.
On the other hand, I love expressing my self in written form. That’s why in University when the exams where written I scored A’s. When the exams were to be conducted orraly, I could never score accordingly to my studying! I find it so liberating to have time to compose my ideas and knowledge first, and THEN try to communicate them to others.
Seems like Bill might have a bit of a narcissistic complex going on…the inability to see from another’s perspective and only going off of their own ideas of what reality, to them, is, when it seems they didn’t even read the article! Or just trolling, a gaslighter…or all 3!
Anyway, yes. I TOTALLY get this! If someone calls me, I hate answering it! its one of the reasons why I have to tell people online I don’t call, I don’t give my number out, and I don’t have a cam, no literally. I don’t even own a webcam.
I can talk on the phone, but only to certain people, the ones I have formed a “I can trust 100 percent” with, and that’s it, and that’s maybe 5 people at the very most. Even with them, it’s very difficult at times.
Talking to people in the medical field, or to customer service representatives, or to people in the insurance field, is a “total and complete hell on planet Earth.”
Sometimes I have to hang up before getting totally out of whack. Problem is when I do that, I get labeled for being “rude.”
My highly insensitive family is almost impossible for me to talk to on the phone, but they all demand that I do it. “Oh you shouldn’t be afraid. You can’t see the other person” my non-sensitive mother always tells me.
And the local area where I live, West Virginia, is not really supportive of HSPs either, even the physicians and counselors don’t care for HSPs for the most part. I have had problems with that as well. Talking to them in any way: face to face, phone, and yes even text, is almost impossible at times.
Living as a HSP is difficult, especially in the USA and especially here in WV. “We don’t do sensitive here” is the saying amongst the locals here. Sad but true.
I always tell people i dont talk on the phone. Email or text is fine but dont call me and expect me to answer. They can leave a message or it wasnt important. I will call back if absolutely necessary
I feel the same way. It always happens to me! I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one. 🙂 I guess it’s just our fear of picking up negative emotions.
I agree the phonecis a colossal intrusion. Most serial callers only talk and Never listen. I am prolite and tactful only to be over talked and ignored while the callers go on and on about every thing that have nothing to do with nothing. I am constantly remaining supposed adults that I don’t or can’t ingage to no avail, and this can go on for hours. And like clock work I have to explain and remind the same people how I stand on the matter, and they react like it is news. EXAULTINGS!!!
I also hate talking on the phone. It is definitely the right now of it – especially when you are receiving a call – or the feeling of lack of preparation – it’s pressure filled.
I prefer to make appointments, orders, inquiries, etc. online as well. I hate having to call to make an appointment and all of the back and forth as I start feeling awkward about my timing not fitting theirs immediately.
I tend to like video calls better, but I think that is because those are generally scheduled and I can read people better than over the phone. Over the phone feels like I have a dark blanket covering one of my senses. Even text feels better (I am also an over user of emojis in text to ensure people understand my tone and don’t take me wrong) than phone calls.
I’m also a talker so I tend to want to have a lot of free time when I make/take a phone call and feel very awkward if I don’t have that. I will often make calls while driving (on hands free) because that is open time and I’m alone, but if the drive is too short I will put it off.