Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Phone phobia

I have a phone phobia. My friends joke about how I always try to scurry away during a phone conversation--sometimes cutting them off abruptly. At first I thought phone phobia was a funny little diagnosis that I had coined, but I have come to find out that it is real and sometimes linked to social anxiety disorder. I don't have any other manifestations of SAD. I'm not afraid of social situations or parties. I don't have a problem with public speaking. So what is this phone hang-up (excuse my pun)?

Looking at my background, there are a few clues besides the possibility that I may have been Amish in a past life. My mom has a hearing impairment and has worn hearing aids most of my life. She never liked talking on the phone, and my sister and at least one of my brothers have echoed this sentiment. As for bad experiences: once a collection agent called me and started threatening that they were going to send my husband to jail. Turns out they had the wrong guy. Same name, but different social security number. Over the years there have been a few weird calls like that. I'm not sure it explains the irrational fear that I have.

I could say that I am a visual person and take non-verbal cues from people as I talk to them. Another is that I am always afraid I am disturbing someone by calling them. Email is great. I can jot off a letter and people can answer at their leisure--or not at all. But a phone call feels like an imposition. I might be able to get away with this logic for personal calls, but I feel this way even when I call businesses for business purposes. I don't like to make salon appointments. I don't like to order things. I don't like to call to set up meetings for purposes of discussing my painting, my writing, or workshops. Talk about debilitating when you are trying to set yourself up as a working artist.

A few years ago, my dad became a licenced hypnotherapist. Maybe I should get him to make up some tapes for me, so I can move beyond this.

When my book cam out, my friend Marsha got me a salon gift certificate. I have yet to call to make an appointment. I am going to go do it right now!

note added at 11:45-- I did it. Piece of cake. Perhaps this will give me the confidence to make the other business calls, I have to make--including to the place where I am hanging my artwork next month. I want to find out if it is okay if I bring books along to sell and sign. I have been putting it off for weeks. Perhaps this post will keep me accountable.

No comments: