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    Where does the fear of making phone calls come from?


    What could be behind it
    Where does the fear of making phone calls come from?

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    Some people are afraid of making phone calls. Calling the doctor can cause anxiety and panic. But what is behind this phobia?

    People have been communicating via telephone for decades. At first there were only bulky devices with a landline connection. Telephone booths and, at some point, cell phones were added later. Nowadays almost everyone has a smartphone, a phone that can do more than just call other people. And even though global communication is now easier than ever, more and more people are finding it difficult to answer a call or dial a number themselves. Many people talk about a kind of “telephone phobia”. But where does this fear come from and what can be done about it?

    Just the thought of making a doctor’s appointment or reserving a table at a restaurant makes many people feel uneasy. These are usually matters that only take a short amount of time. However, many people are afraid to have a conversation with a person they cannot see. There is a fear of stammering or missing the mark. Many people find this embarrassing and are ashamed of not being able to conduct a conversation on the phone “without errors”.

    Who is most affected by this?

    If you search through social media, you will mostly come across young people who share online that they are afraid of making phone calls. Is this a generational problem? In fact, young Millennials and Gen Z are so-called “digital natives,” meaning they grew up with digital media. Many people don’t know a time without the Internet and chats. That’s why, even from an early age, they were much less dependent on phone calls than the older generations.

    It sounds plausible that people who previously preferred to send SMS or WhatsApp messages have difficulty making spontaneous phone calls. Finally, you can take your time with a message. You can always correct it before sending it. Things are different when making calls. Although you can write down what you want to say to the other person beforehand, you are much more dependent on spontaneous reactions.

    Social anxiety?

    Psychologists have been observing this phenomenon for a while and trying to classify it. Some are of the opinion that telephone phobia can be a result of social phobia. “Social phobics are primarily afraid of social contact and its negative consequences. The fear is of having to talk to someone. This is linked to fears, i.e. thoughts that I have about a situation and what could happen in it,” says, for example, Dr. Nadine Wolf, senior physician at the Clinic for General Psychiatry at Heidelberg University Hospital, in an interview with “National Geographic”.

    Like many other experts, she is of the opinion that telephone phobia rarely occurs in an “isolated” manner, i.e. without an existing social phobia. This phobia should be treated if it becomes a burden in everyday life. This is best done gradually. How about not making your next doctor’s appointment online, but instead making a phone call? It might also help to first practice speaking on the phone with a familiar person. This can minimize the feeling of fear and maybe even make you feel good.

    Searching for help

    In principle, however, you should seek professional help for any type of phobia – depending on the severity. Anxious patients often overextend themselves when it comes to overcoming their own phobia. You want to get as much done as possible in the shortest amount of time. However, it is important to work in small steps. A behavioral therapist can help put a plan in place and assist patients with what seems particularly difficult and relapses.

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