KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Curse of Telephonophobia

My name is EditorMom, and I have telephonophobia.*

I avoid initiating and taking phone calls whenever possible. And hell—years ago, I was a print journalist, calling people all the time to interview them. I even have a great phone presence, making people feel comfortable. I'm the one who's uncomfortable, even if I like the caller a great deal.

I blame it on both my introversion and my being a perfectionist. Because of the former condition, being with people, whether in person or on the phone, saps me of energy. It requires me to think on my feet rather than mull things over. Because of the latter condition, I worry about sounding stupid or agreeing to something I'll later have to back out of because I should have taken time to think it through first.

But e-mail—I love e-mail!

E-mail gives me the time to think through what I want to say, to revise my thoughts until I sound as erudite as I feel, to be clear without causing offense, to be funny, to be my real self. Wanna talk with me? E-mail me. I'm always on my computer, to my family's dismay.

I did manage to initiate one call and accept another, though, this morning. I had the urge to talk, and I didn't overthink it. I called a good friend in the D.C. area whom I normally e-mail multiple times a day; we'd never spoken by phone. Then, when another close friend in the Atlanta area called, I actually picked up the phone. Both calls were fun and refreshing. It'd probably be good for me to do that more often.

I'll try.

Any of you have telephonophobia?

*I must confess, also, that when I first posted this entry, I misspelled telephonophobia as telephonobia. (The former URL—which no longer works, so I've removed the link from it in this note—for this entry was
I'm supplying it just to confirm that you aren't crazy and to allow people who are searching for it to find this entry.) Yes, I know it's unbelievable that a
copyeditor would make a mistake, but it happens. Even an editor needs an editor.


Wally said...

I don't have a fear of talking on the phone. I just don't like people (and I'm putting that nicely). Period. If I could do my job all remotely, without having to interact with anyone, it would be a dream job. It also carries over to driving. Put me on the freeway at 3:30am, when no one else is on the road, so I don't have to get stuck behind all the idiots and morons. Okay, I'm obsessing. I'll shut up now. Wally

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Oh, I like people, brother of mine. I just need a lot of alone time to feel centered.

Imperatrix said...

I have telphonobia when it comes to certain people. And I definitely have it during election cycles (I am so tired of recorded calls and those phone polls: "it'll just take a few minutes...").

But yeah, I much prefer email, when I hav ethe time to consider a person's request and make the best decision, rather than the knee-jerk "OK" that sometimes gets me into trouble!

Anonymous said...

Right on, Katherine: we are much alike. And my best friend in the whole world is a telephomaniac. We've got it down to where he calls only about once a month (he knows I don't like talking on the phone and that I will rarely, if ever call him; I know that the only way I'll ever hear from him is by phone), but each call is about an hour--with me mostly listening and making appropriate noises now and then! I'm learning to enjoy that. Another friend calls several times a week, never for more than a few minutes at a time, and it drives me up the wall! Family and friends all know that if they call before 10 am the phone will not be picked up. I can't imagine why anyone would want a cellphone--eek!

But e-mail rocks!


Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

I have a cell phone, Edward, but only reluctantly. It's for emergencies only, and pretty much only family members know its number. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you on the email. I tell people it's the only way to guarantee I get their messages. Having a teenage daughter who stays on the phone constantly and "forgets" to tell me I have saved messages doesn't help.

I almost never answer the phone at home -- usually too busy blogging or writing, but I always answer my cell. Aside from the rare wrong number, the only people who use that number are people I want to talk to.

Anonymous said...

I groan whenever the phone rings.

April said...

Hi, fellow freelancer.
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with telephonophobia. I have caller ID and only answer the phone when certain people call. Isn't that awful?
But, I love e-mail. I just long for the day when everyone I know uses their e-mail as much as I do.
I know I'm missing out on that part of my friendships. Wouldn't it be great to just pick up the phone & check in with someone? To call someone up just to say hi?
Maybe one day I'll tackle this fear and become comfortable on the phone. But not today.

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