Overcoming Telephobia

It has been over a month since my online class has ended. I do not know exactly what grade I receive for my 2nd and last project. But, I have seen the overall grade of the entire course after logging in to the Vance-Granville Community College website. I am pleased with the grade as well as my project. Therefore, I decide to share another research topic with you (American or Westernized man).

If you wish to read my previous blog post about gun control, click on the text link.

Otherwise, proceed with the academic information (which is divided into 4 sections) regarding telephobia below:

Introduction

What do children and adults have in common with each other? The answer is their shyness indeed. Someone like myself can relate to them because he or she is scared of talking, hanging out, or even being around people he or she does not know well or at all. For most of his or her life, he or she has experienced these symptoms (Painful shyness in children and adults, n.d.):

  • worrying how others see or think about him or her
  • saying few words to others
  • feeling awkward whenever he or she faces acquaintances or visits distant family members
  • making coworkers, managers, neighbors, and others uncomfortable
  • befriending few people
  • avoiding those who like to talk nonstop or interfere in his or her personal life
  • feeling less important or invisible to others

Verily, he or she cannot escape from the above negative actions. He or she may have to deal with them for the remainder of his or her life.

What is Telephobia?

There is a particular social anxiety disorder that has affected him or her since my childhood. It is called telephobia, which is known as phone phobia or the fear of making or answering phone calls. Jonathan Rivett, an Australian author and blogger, has dealt with this extreme fear for over twenty years. He views a phone as an manipulator because it can twist his words and those of whomever he is talking on the phone. Another reason is causing him to risk his job, end a friendship, or receive a wrong order (Rivett, 2013). Many citizens in Nigeria also join him by describing phone calls as thieves. Nigerians, as a result, possibly lose their confidence, money, and even trust in their relatives and friends (Why Some Nigerians Are Scared of Talking On Phone, 2016). Furthermore, many telemarketers, journalists, and other professionals worldwide are less than thrilled about making phone calls to strangers whose behaviors may be unpredictable or unreasonable. Fortunately, the experts can nowadays feel so comfortable in communicating with possible clients by emailing, blogging, text messaging, and posting on social media. Experts, however, realize that they cannot hide or ignore having phone or face-to-face conversations with their clients forever (Republica, 2016).

millennials-cold-calling
man scared of his phone – SalesforLife

Thesis

Getting negative responses, disliking his or her own voice, facing vehicular accident(s), or spending much time in reading, writing, and editing electronic messages can lead someone to telephobia (Shields, 2017). He or she would hence become vulnerable to each phone call he or she makes or receives. His or her physical and mental health may be affected tremendously. Possible anxiety, worry, nausea, or shaking is proof for his or her defenselessness (Cuncic, 2020). In order to improve his or her health, life, job performances, and relationships with others, he or she must choose below the three solutions for overcoming his or her fear.

Body

Experiencing Danger

As the coronavirus issue intensifies in United States, more American citizens including females start calling the police and reporting abuse or violence from their boyfriends or husbands (Pauly & Lurie, 2020). Some of the women may be overly scared of talking on their phones. But, facing danger from those they know well or even total strangers is going to prompt ladies to take urgent and thoughtless action and ignore their phobia unintentionally. The same thing applies to those who experience extreme or repetitive body pain, heart attacks, vision issues, vomiting, and/or other illnesses (DerSarkissian, 2018). Protecting their lives and health is way more important than avoiding uncomfortable phone calls and staying in their comfort zones are. If any of them dies unexpectedly, his or her relatives and friends are not only going to become upset, lonely, and guilty but also going to blame him or her for letting telephobia control and end his or her life (Schoenfeld, 2015).

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woman abused and endangered – The Hickory Head Hermit

Talking on Video Chatting Software

The fear of phone communication is understandable because someone who calls or receives a phone call may not know who he or she is talking. If the stranger is instead a family member, friend, or acquaintance, then the phobia of the person may be decreased. Video chatting can also reduce his or her anxiety no matter whom he or she is speaking. He or she can see the emotions, facial expressions, and body language of the other person on Skype, Viber, or a similar video chatting software. In addition, he or she can truly relax and be honest with the other person verbally and nonverbally (Acuna, 2018). Talking on the phone or even meeting in person, on the other hand, is going to pressure him or her to be someone else plus grow his or her fear. Renowned actress Helen Mirren is a good example of this fact. Despite that she is a phone phobic, she has overcome her obstacles and reached her destiny anyway (Bird, 2020). Like her, anyone else can accomplish his or her goals if he or she keeps doing the right thing, maintaining a positive attitude, and trusting in the omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God (Regoli, 2019).

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female video chatting with other professionals – Forbes

Practicing Phone Calls

According to authors Brett and Kate McKay (2015), many people around the world including themselves deal with telephobia in both their personal and professional lives. Consequently, emailing, text messaging, video chatting, and social media posting exist for their ease, comfort, and benefits. Nevertheless, if they want additional respect, confidence, progress, and seriousness from others, those with the anxiety need to deal with their issue and practice their phone conversations. If they are unable to succeed independently, then they should turn to therapists and request for exposure and response prevention (ERP). It takes a telephobic to an emotional journey through two steps. First, he or she is required to do what he or she is terrified regardless of his or her feelings. For example, he or she may have to spend a couple of minutes during a phone call that he or she answers. Another instance is being told to repeatedly make phone calls and say certain words to his or her recipients. Obviously, he or she is going to initially overreact to the activity. But, his or her nerves are going to calm when he or she moves to the next step. A supportive therapist is going to give him or her encouragement and a different perspective toward using the phone (Hickey, 2019). Perhaps, he or she would turn into a fan of phone calls sooner or later.

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animation of ERP therapy – “Miss Erin Doctor” YouTube video

Conclusion

In conclusion, practicing phone conversations is the best outcome that helps someone recover from telephobia. He or she needs to confront his or her fear and often make or take phone calls that are going to emotionally take him or her to the next level. Facing danger from criminal(s) or a poor health condition is advantageous in encouraging him or her to quickly call 911 and ask a police or emergency dispatcher for immediate support and protection. But, the phone phobic may revert to his or her old self if he or she undergoes more danger in the future. Video chatting allows him or her to see the face of the individual whom he or she is talking. The problem is that the telephobic may have a difficult and awkward conversation with the same person on the phone. For that reason, the phone phobic needs to deal with his or her negative feelings and speak on the phone regularly. Writing and following five strategies or steps of the problem-solving method is not only going to help him or her expand his or her thinking but also provide him or her emotional strength plus a capability to move forward and assist others in overcoming their fears as well (Chaffee, 2019, pp. 106-107). Once he or she enters this emotional stage through ERP therapy or self-motivation, he or she would worry less about making or responding to phone calls. Instead, he or she may take delight in the task that seems intimidating and painful at first. He or she is no longer a prisoner of telephobia but a probable enthusiast of phone calls.

smiling
optimistic lady on the phone – Dr. Theresa Segat

References

Acuna, S. (2018, May 17). Benefits of Video Chatting. Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://www.theselfemployed.com/article/benefits-of-video-chatting/

Bird, M. (2020, March 3). 50 Celebrities Who Have Unusual Phobias. Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://popcrush.com/celebrities-with-strange-phobias/

Chaffee, J. (2019). 3. In Thinking Critically (12th ed., pp. 106-107). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Cuncic, A. (2020, January 6). How to Know If You Have a Phone Phobia. Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://www.verywellmind.com/afraid-making-phone-calls-tips-3024317

DerSarkissian, C. (2018, December 9). When to Call 911: Serious Symptoms to Never Ignore. Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/ss/slideshow-when-call-911

Hickey, A. M. (2019, July 15). Exposure and Response Prevention a Very Specific Therapy. Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://directoryfortherapists.com/exposure-and-response-prevention-a-very-specific-therapy/

McKay, B., & McKay, K. (2015, March 12). How to Overcome Phone Shyness. Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/how-to-overcome-phone-shyness/

Painful shyness in children and adults. (n.d.). Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/shyness

Pauly, M., & Lurie, J. (2020, March 31). Domestic Violence 911 Calls Are Increasing. Coronavirus Is Likely to Blame. Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2020/03/domestic-violence-abuse-coronavrius/

Regoli, N. (2019, December 4). Proverbs 16:9 Meaning of God Directs Our Steps. Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://connectusfund.org/proverbs-16-9-meaning-of-god-directs-our-steps

Republica. (2016, December 19). Scared of the phone? Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://search-proquest-com.vgcc.idm.oclc.org/docview/1850020233/fulltext/88F7DE90D81E45CEPQ/1?accountid=14818

Rivett, J. (2013, October 26). Just no call for it: BENIGN TO FIVE. Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://search-proquest-com.vgcc.idm.oclc.org/docview/1444947904?pq-origsite=summon

Schoenfeld, P. (2015, January 29). Coping with the unexpected death of a loved one. Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://www.everettclinic.com/blog/coping-unexpected-death-loved-one

Shields, J. (2017, December 29). If the Idea of a Phone Call Triggers Serious Anxiety, You’re Not Alone. Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/anxiety/telephobia-phone-anxiety.htm

Why Some Nigerians Are Scared of Talking On Phone. (2016, July 28). Retrieved May 3, 2020, from https://bi-gale-com.vgcc.idm.oclc.org/global/article/GALE|A459358134?u=vgcc_main&sid=summon

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