I have many phobias and dislikes -- I can't stand the sound of styrofoam squeaking and creatures of the sea freak me out, just to name two. These are not terribly limiting hang-ups, though. I don't live by the ocean or in a house with styrofoam walls, so life continues apace. But I do have one phobia that has limited me: I don't like to make phone calls.
I mean, yes, clearly, I do make phone calls. I call my various doctors to make appointments. When someone calls me about a job interview, I call them back. But I do so anxiously, because I really do not like making phone calls. I even put off calling good friends, even though I am always glad to have talked to them, because of this weird quirk.
When I was younger, I often left it to my parents to make phone calls for me, and I still will go to great lengths to try to get other people to do so on my behalf. Roo ALWAYS makes the call for food deliveries, and I rely on my companions to make phone calls about car rentals and taxis and so on, if I possibly can. Again, I am not insane -- I will place a call for a car service if I need to, I just try to get out of it if I possibly can.
I'm not entirely sure of the root of this phobia. I'm sure it has to do with my hearing loss, because hearing on the phone is difficult for me, but I also sometimes have trouble in one-on-one conversations, and I certainly don't try to avoid them. I don't like the abruptness of phone calls, the act of not knowing what's going to happen when the other person picks up, no way of knowing who you're going to talk to, in some case, or what mood they're in, in all cases. In recent years, with the rise of email and texts, it's certainly become much easier to avoid the awkwardness of phone calls, and I'm grateful for that. I text and email like a fiend! I have a couple of friends who share my dislike for making phone calls, and they always point to the awkwardness of the entire endeavour, so I suspect it's more that than my hearing.
However, lately, it's become clear to me that this avoidance is hindering me. There are things I need to get done that are achieved most efficiently by phone, such as renting a new apartment and hiring movers... getting a new stove installed, the ongoing saga of my life, also comes to mind! So, I've been trying to work on getting better at making phone calls. It's a slow process, for sure. I'll make three or four calls and feel proud of myself, and then have a phone interaction on the fifth call that's awkward or rude and want to crawl back into my email and texting hole. People really need to work on phone matters, I have to say. But I'll keep trying because, well, I'm a grown-up, and grown-ups can't waste precious minutes trying to figure out how to email a realtor whose phone number is clearly visible on the page. (Good Lord, I could NEVER be a realtor!). I'll let you know how I do over the next few weeks. Onwards!