Well, we did make it to England after all.
The cancelled flight was a bit of a pain. We only found out when we were all packed and ready to go. It was so disappointing. All the other flights that day were fully booked, so we gave up and went home… our last option, call British Airways to re-book.
So that’s what we did. Well, that’s what I did. Lenka hates making telephone calls. Like, really hates it. And I completely understand – if this matter wasn’t really important, I would have found it really difficult to make the call too! And we’re not alone. A huge number of people suffer from this strange fear of talking on the telephone.
What is it about making phone calls that is so scary? I mean, we don’t go anywhere without our mobiles these days. We feel naked if we forget them at home. But then, when it rings, we look at it like its warning us of impending death! „Why is my phone ringing??“ Well, that’s its job.
But, these days, ringing is one of the least important things your phone does for you. It takes photos, it plays music, it connects you to the internet, to maps, and to social platforms, and it allows you to send text messages. I use my phone so much for all these things that I sometimes forget it even has the ability to make and receive calls! You know; where there is another person on the other end of the line, asking questions and… you know… trying to have an actual conversation.
So why do so many of us get anxious about making phone calls? Well, Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that you can’t see the other person. 70% of communication is nonverbal, after all, so when you can’t see the other person’s face or reactions, you have no idea what they are really thinking. All you have is a voice. Are they smiling? Was that a joke? Did they hear me? Should I stop talking? Are they offended? It’s so nerve-racking.
But texting is nonverbal too. So why is that so much easier? Probably because we have time to read and re-read the message, gather our thoughts, create an intelligent reply, double check it, and click „send“ knowing we said what we meant to say. Not something crazy in the spur of the moment that we can never take back.
I like time to think about things. But if I spend even a couple of seconds thinking when I’m on the phone, the other person starts panicking! „You still there?“ So instead, I just keep talking, trying to monitor what I say carefully on the go, which always makes me sound like a robot with ADHD. Ugh.
And texting can happen anywhere. Between the toilets and the bar. On the noisy tram. During a funeral (… well, maybe not, but an important conference, for instance). But a phone conversation requires some privacy, some quiet, and a place where you’re not going to disturb others. That’s not always that easy. So you settle for the echoing hotel lobby and have your full conversation overheard by everyone there. It’s like being on stage without a story or a script. An actor’s nightmare!
Another reason I prefer text messages is, thanks to the nifty little preview option on my phone, I can see an incoming message before the other person can see that I’ve read it, so I can pretend that I haven’t yet. I can enjoy the rest of my bath or pot of tea before dealing with the request. But it’s so hard to ignore a phone call. It all feels so much more important. Like it would be actually rude to let it ring. And you wouldn’t want to anyway, it’s so noisy and embarrassing if you’re in a public place.
But nothing is worse than forgetting to silence your phone before a big important meeting and someone pocket dials you on repeat. For some reason, that’s the day you can’t get your fingers to work the touch screen, so you pretend it’s a really important call and excuse yourself, whispering ridiculous nothings into the receiver.
As you probably gather. I hate phone calls.
I guess the reason this fear exists is because we don’t really have to make calls that often. In fact, I probably suffer two telephone calls per week. All other communication (for work, life, and social events) is done by text message, email or Messenger. So I never really get practice.
But yesterday, I did get practice. I called British Airways and got our flight re-booked for today! And I was very pleased that I complained about losing a day of vacation, because they offered to move the return flight back a day. Luckily, we both have flexible timetables, so the changes were no problem!
But that was the last actual phone call I made. I’m back on Messenger, What’sApp, and iMessage. Perhaps Lenka and I should practice talking on the phone together. That would be a good idea.
But not now. Now we’re in England. And we’re off to have some FUN!
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