I wish it wasn’t the case, but I definitely have phone anxiety, at least when calling unfamiliar people. This article offers a few potential reasons why: it cuts off non-verbal communication, it puts you under time pressure (as in you can’t take your time typing a thoughtful reply), you might feel like you’re being judged, and you just might not get a lot of practice talking on the phone, so you might not grok the “rhythm” and feel awkward. For me, I know another reason is that the audio quality of a phone line tends to be pretty bad, which can result in misunderstandings or repeated requests to repeat oneself. Then answering phone calls has further problems – the sheer number of them that are spam, and the fact that those which are not spam (if they’re not familiar people calling for a chat) put me on the spot and usually ask things I wish I had more time to prepare for. Just, argh, I hate phone calls.
Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.