Monday, November 26, 2007

My Nemesis: The Phone

Pin It I have PHONE issues. I don't like talking on it, don't like calling people, don't like answering it. Sometimes just the sound of it makes my stomach twist into knots. I don't mind getting together in person with people, and love having conversations that go on for hours, but there is something about the phone that makes me want to throw up.

If I'm going to answer the phone there are certain "criteria."

I will NEVER answer the phone unless I know who it is. If an unfamiliar number shows up on the caller ID, forget it. They're getting the answering machine, baby.

If I know who it is, even if I like or dearly love the person, I usually let the machine get it so that they have to leave a message - then I know what they want. Usually they say something like, "I'm just calling to say hi, call me back." And then I nod and put calling them back on my list of things to do. I'm not sure what I think they're going to say. "I'm calling to tell you that you SUCK and I HATE YOU." It could be. That could happen. So I wait, just to make sure.

If I know who it is, and I urgently need to talk to them, I will think about answering it, but probably I won't. Because I'm ridiculous. We put a sofa up for sale on Craigslist and a lady called and wanted to buy it. I heard her leaving that message, and did I pick up the phone before she hung up? No. I waited till the next day, and when I couldn't think of any other excuse for not calling her, I called and left her a message. And then didn't pick up the phone when she called back. It took a long time to get that dang couch sold.

I have one sister-in-law who has learned all of this about me and she will call and just talk and talk and talk into the answering machine and literally SHAME me into picking up the phone. "I know you are there. I know you are sitting there listening. Pick up the phone. Pick up the phone Sue. You can do it. Just pick it up. Come on. I have things to do. Places to go. Just pick up the phone." Sometimes I pick it up. Sometimes though, I just turn the volume down and hide in my room until she hangs up, and then I email her.

One of my friends told me a while ago that she doesn't have caller I.D.

I looked at her incredulously. "You don't have caller I.D.?"


"So you just - answer the phone WITHOUT KNOWING WHO IS THERE?"


"That's insane."

I mean really. To have NO IDEA who might be on the phone. Ever. And to pick up the phone ANYWAY. I literally cannot imagine what is going on in her head.

I made a new friend once and after the third or fourth time she called me I was ready to go totally nutso. It seemed like she was calling ALL THE TIME.

"Why does she keep CALLING me?!!" I complained to my husband.

"She's called you three times in three weeks."

"I KNOW it. It's INSANE."

My husband broke out the slow and special voice he uses when he thinks I'm not quite getting it. "Honey -- she wants to be your FRIEND. That's what friends do. They call each other. They talk on the phone. They don't just - email each other once in a while."

"They should. They should just email each other." And the thing is - I DO want to be her friend. I just don't want her to CALL me.

On Sunday the phone rang and I waited for the caller ID to announce it. (We have talking caller ID.) It announced the name of one of my friends, Diana, who was coming over later that afternoon. My husband started to pick it up and I shrieked. "Don't answer it, don' t answer it, don't answer it!"

He stared at me. "Why not?"

I blinked. I wasn't really sure.

He answered it.

I started jumping up and down mouthing, "I'm not here, I'm not here!!"

"Sure, she's right here." He made a face at me and handed me the phone.

I hit mute and said, 'I cannot believe you just did that."

"You need to talk to her, she's coming over later and wants to confirm."

I shook my head. "I can't talk to her right now."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm NOT HERE."

"But you ARE here. You do, in fact, exist in this moment in time."

"But I'm NOT READY."

"TAKE THE PHONE. You like her. She is your friend. You are wasting her time. Stop being a such a FREAK."

And of course, Diana and I had a perfectly nice conversation. I'm still mad at my DH though. Because really. Way not to enable me.


  1. You are so funny. You are the only blogger I read that makes me laugh outloud---even when everyone in my house is sleeping!
    I too would absolutely die without caller id. I usually answer for friends and family though. But if I don't recognize your number, forget it. It ain't happenin'!

  2. this is why texting is the greatest invention ever.

    i hate talking on the phone too. hate it.

  3. Sue,
    I love caller ID. I don't know how I ever lived without it. When someone calls, and I don't want to talk to them, if they leave a message I can at least have a while to think about what I am going to say before I need to call them back.
    One time I had a client call who I did not want to talk to. My darling son told me who was calling, then turned the phone on and handed it to me. I didn't know that he had turned it on and proceeded to tell him how I didn't want to talk to this person, because I hadn't started on the work I was doing for her ect....... then I noticed that the phone was on, and she most likely heard everything.
    Hey, that probably could qualify for a most embarassing story for your previous post.
    Love your blog Sue!

  4. hahahaha! I knew this about you, but I didn't realize it was this bad. ha! This is why we are email friends.

  5. I don't always hate the phone. I did go through phone phobia this year after the baby was born, so now I empathize. To tell you the truth, I don't think I've entirely recovered.

    Caller ID is the absolute best. It drives people nuts that we don't have an answering machine.

    WHY? Why on EARTH would we have voicemail when you just ask me to DO STUFF on it, like volunteer, or call you back? No thanks! Caller ID, baby, then I can call you back when I want and I don't have to be responsible for tasks you leave on voicemail.

    Text messaging is the best thing ever.

  6. You just described me to a T. Except for the husband part...mine is not nearly as nice about it as yours is. Mine doesn't say 'Heidi, she's your friend...'. Even as I am jumping up and down mouthing "I'M NOT HERE", he picks up the phone - doesn't even talk into it - and hands it to me. I *hate* that!

    And now I'm wondering if the blogosphere is full of phonophobes. Is that why we blog?

  7. Pardon me for snickering, but you could totally be my phone twin...

  8. Anonymous11:46 PM

    i too loathe the phone... not to your exceptional extent, but i'm always asking my hubby, "why can't she just email me that?!" or "don't they have email?!" if it is someone calling or a call that must be made that in ANY way involves him I make him make the call... and don't you hate it when people want you to rsvp and they don't give you their email??? just a phone number??? well, they can just wonder if i'm coming... i probably am... but i sure as hell am not going to INITIATE a phone conversation about it!

  9. Anonymous12:46 AM

    Oh my gosh, bless you for posting this. I seriously thought I was the only one in the known universe who hates phones and who will avoid answering them at any cost. I never answer unless I know who it is, and even then I sometimes hand my phone to my husband and say "oh! answer it please?"

    The ironic thing is, I wish so much that people would call sometimes. I am so bored out here. But! That is why my ward has an email list for Relief Society! They can contact me through that! HA!!!

    Seriously. I am so glad I have this in common with someone else. Except, my husband is better than yours. He puts up with my phone hatred and if I tell him to say I'm not here, he will. I have even trained him to make all phone calls without even blinking! Booyah!!

  10. You're not going to be at the beck and call of the telephone - that's all. No one can tell you when to talk!

  11. I'm kind of like that with the phone, too. Not to the extent YOU are, but a little. I LOVE email, because even though the tone can sometimes be misunderstood, you can think about what you say for as long as you need to before you say it. You can't do that on the phone, or there'd be a lot of LOOOOONG silences (at least on my end).

    We have the talking caller ID, too. The mispronunciations can sometimes be amusing.

  12. Anonymous6:11 AM

    LOVE caller I.D. HATE call waiting.

    The end.

  13. This really made me laugh. I think I'm this way just a little bit, and it must hearken back to the junior high drama of being worried if the cute boy was going to call and WHAT IN THE WORLD were you going to talk about?

  14. You crack me up. Now repeat after's called Therapy and you might want to look into it..LOL ;o)

    There are days when I am like that with the phone but other days when I can just talk and talk to anyone who will listen. I would soooo drive you crazy in "real" life.

  15. Anonymous7:26 AM

    I hate the phone, too. I will talk to people that I know really well, but if not I am just as likely to make them leave a message. I drive my dh crazy because he is always wanting me to call and pay a bill over the phone for him and when I whine that he "knows my thing about the phone", I think he might want to throw something at me.

  16. Who knew that there were so many phone-phobics in the world? My husband thinks I'm a big chicken, but I've noticed that it's been contagious. He doesn't like to make my calls anymore. :( It's also genetic. Everyone in my family, male and female, waits until the last possible moment and the direst need to make that call.

  17. I get it, Sue. I'm not as extreme as you, but I hate the phone too. Even though I love it. I love talking to my family and my good friends. I like being able to have the option of contact. But I hate calling people I haven't known for years and I hate answering the phone to unknown numbers. I get it. I also hate listening to my voicemail though. I hate the "I just called to say hi messages." I think they are a waste of time. If you are my friend and I know who you are, then I'll call you back, but don't leave a lame message.

  18. I understand and sympathize. I hate answering machines! We have cable phone now and it came with voice mail, but I pretend it didn't.If I could figure out how to disconnect it, I would. I never, ever listen to my voice mail and I never ever return my calls. I really hate feeling obligated to call people I don't really want to talk to. The way I figure it, the people who I WANT to talk to have my cell phone number. I do listen to my messages on my cell phone and return those calls, mostly... I scan through my caller id, and if someone I WANT to talk to calls, I will return the call, otherwise, you are SOL at my house. (so out of luck, what did you think I meant?)

  19. I'm not a phone-a-phobic, but I really don't like chatting on the phone. That's probably because I wear hearing aids in both ears - can't always understand what people are saying. I love caller ID/voicemail. Leave a message, I WILL call you back. Hey, I also text! I think that pretty cool for a grandma like me.

  20. Wow, we NEVER have that conversation at my house... never... (meanwhile, if my husband hands me the phone after I said I'm not here, I sometimes accidentally hang up. On accident.)

  21. You need to speak to human beings once in a while. Truly.

    You're being freakish. Which you know. But seriously.

  22. What the heck? The phone is my favorite thing in the world! It's not evil, it's your friend. Your friend. Nice phone.

  23. Anonymous10:14 AM

    You do realize you're wasting everybody's time? It drives me CRAZY when people don't answer the phone.

    Seriously, what is that about? Do you have this deep seated need to have people call you over and over again? Because if you don't pick up, that's what happens. If you don't want multiple phone calls, pick up the phone the first time.

    Also, if there were no phone, there would be no internet. All hail phone lines!

  24. Anonymous10:14 AM

    I used to think you absolutely had to answer the phone, no matter what (grew up in an obstetrician's home who couldn't miss a delivery because we didn't answer the phone). If I was in the bathroom and the phone rang, I went into hyperspeed mode to try and get out and answer the phone. If I was visiting someone, visit was put on hold to answer the phone.

    I remember the first time I realized "Hey! I don't have to answer that." I now leisurely use the potty, finish the chapter I'm reading, continue with my nap, stew in my tempertantrum, finish comments on blogs, all while my phone is ringing off the hook. It is so totally empowering!

  25. Your phone issues are the inverse of mine - I can answer the phone, but I can't place calls ... I'll do just about anything to avoid it. I'd never let the machine pick up - because then I have to CALL BACK. (I also rarely leave messages on other people's machines.)

  26. I feel so less freakish now. Wow.

    My hair? Super long right now because I only get up the courage to phone the hairdresser like, once a year or something.

    And Neil refuses to do it for me anymore.

  27. "Do you have this deep seated need to have people call you over and over again?"

    No, Anon. I just don't want them to call me at ALL. EVER. STOP CALLING ME.

    Wiz, I like human contact. I like people. In fact, when I get together with friends, we will often talk and talk and talk and talk. I just don't like talking to people on the PHONE. But yes, I know I'm freakish.

  28. Anonymous10:57 AM

    I too hate the phone, but I don't have caller ID which means each time I answer it, it's both a risk and a surprise. It's a safe way to gamble...

  29. Anonymous11:27 AM

    Is this where we go to sign up for Phone-Haters Anonymous? I hate the phone too - what's even worse is that I'm a receptionist! Ugh! Hate. The. Phone.

    I'm the same way with friends and family - thinking they are just bugging me. Email is the greatest thing!

  30. I cannot relate at all.

    I love the phone!!

    I won't ever call you though!

  31. Amen, sister. Amen. I too am afflicted with phone-phobia. We should start a support group.

  32. You are so funny!! I do this same thing, sometimes, but mostly - I love talking on the phone and I have 2-3 girl friends that I call every single day just to talk too. But, I couldn't live without caller-id, because I am picky about who I want to talk to also - and when. This was a great post, Sue - I got a real laugh! Thanks. Kellan

  33. I am so glad to read this. I have a phone phobia too and I behave exactly the same way. I feel much better now that I share this with someone else! It sure makes friendship hard.

  34. WOW. it's not just me that hates the phone? I promise to never call you if you promise to never call me. haha! I once threw my phone in the river because it would not stop RINGING! (i later felt bad about littering and retrieved the ruined phone.)

  35. sue,
    maybe you hate the phone for the same reason as me? i hate not being able to SEE people. i get way more information and communicate better if there are visual cues for me to read. But a disembodied voice on the phone...I can only tolerate it long enough to make an appointment to talk in person.

  36. This post made me laugh all morning. Thank you for being brain coffee for me.

    We moved in August, and ever since, our caller ID hasn't worked consistently. It's driving me crazy (not a far drive, some would say) and turning me into a phone-a-phobic.

  37. I'm a phonaholic so I don't get this at all, but it's still pretty funny!

  38. Are you seriously my twin? I KNEW I had a twin someplace. Hence my "Hello it's me" post that one time. I hate even talking to my husband on the phone.

    I promise to only email you ever.

    The saddest thing is? I carry two phones at all times.

  39. I am SO the same way. Even my dearest friend and I text each other on our cells, because neither of us like talking on the phone.

    Phones demand too much of you. Or at least mine does. It's not a fancy-schmancy 'hands free' version, so it ties up the use of one hand, which means that there are very few other things I can do while talking. Which with some people can consume large quantities of time.

    Also it's a pain in the neck. Literally. Especially if you have to talk for a long time, and you do the whole 'hold it between your shoulder and ear' pinch thing? Oy. Gives me a crick in the neck even thinking about it.

  40. I knew you didn't like the phone, that's why emailing is so great! I have never had caller id, but many times I have wanted it. I am okay talking to friends and family on the phone, but I have a hard time taking and making calls to people I don't know.

  41. Anonymous2:26 PM

    If you don't ever call anyone and you don't want anyone to call you---how do you have friends? I would be frustrated trying to be friends with you.

  42. i completely relate. caller ID was a great decision for me. my mother-in-law takes it personally that i don't scramble for the phone, but, ya know, it's for my convenience. if i'm nursing a baby, sitting on the potty, dealing with a snotty 3-year old, or WHATEVER, the phone is my lowest priority. my guests are sometimes surprised that i don't answer (or even check to see who's calling) when they're there. but really, shouldn't the people who are actually present in my house take priority over the ringing phone?

    although, you do seem to take it to another level! ;)

  43. Yes brooke, texting IS indeed the the greatest invention ever. I have a very strong testimony of texting.

    Sue you know my thoughts on this. I too am an admitted phone phobic. Hub gets so mad at me because I always send my calls to voicemail while he answers every single call he ever gets even if it's at 2 am. I'd probably be happy with a phone that just had a voicemail box and texting capabilities. That's really all I need.

  44. I have big phone phobia. I could have written this post.

    Only, it wouldn't have been near as funny.

  45. Oh my gosh, again I can relate SO much! Just before coming on here I had just gotten a phone call from my sister. Since I didn't know what she could have possibly been calling about and didn't want to take any chances (although she NEVER calls about anything controversial or risky) I let her leave a message, then listened, then, even though she said she just called to chat, I put it on my mental list of phone calls to get back to in the near future. Isn't it crazy? And I ignored two of my good friends phone calls cause I felt that I had put in my phone call quota for the day by the time they had called, although I've ignored both of their phone calls for a couple of weeks now! I can't stand I will be wondering when I should take the time to call them back!!! I hate being plagued by guilt but which is worse, guilt or wasting time on the wretched phone? Now you also remind me of my SIL, whom I would call and leave the same kind messages, "Hey, I really want to talk to you! Pick up already cause I know you are there and can even hear me!!! K, just walk over to the phone, pick it up! It isn't gonna hurt you! It's super easy even!" Finally, she would answer (or not) and we would carry on. The only reason it didn't bother me in the least and I never got offended is cause I can SO relate! I'm just not quite as bad as her and it makes me feel good that at least someone I know is a little worse than I am. Then that makes me a little more normal! I always say that phones make me break out in hives! Same here, if no number shows up on the Caller ID, I don't answer it unless I'm in a VERY unusual mood! My husband ALWAYS answers the phone, it drives him crazy not to. Last night, he was annoyed with whomever he was talking to (telemarketing, I'm sure) and I was busy smiling at him, very quietly whispering, "See why I don't answer the phone? I can't STAND the phone...biggest waste of time!!!" and he nodded a little and gave the "shhh" look...HE was the one annoyed with the caller but STILL he wanted to listen! Now THAT'S insane!!!

  46. BTW, all email/internet doesn't need phone lines, we have our internet access through cable! (AND we don't even have tv, just cable for internet..., actually just added home phone through cable after almost getting rid of home phone) and NO, don't want repeat phone calls either. THat's why I have the angst about ignoring some people's phone calls cause I KNOW they'll just call me back! I just wish they would txt me their questions or email me if they wanna chat and I would email them back when I get to my emails! So I'm all over the txting and emailing too! ANd, I am also a totally sociable person, LOVE getting together with friends, family, etc. IN PERSON, not on the phone!!!

  47. Anonymous, you are sweet to be so worried about my friends and I. We get along fine, but thanks for your concern.

  48. I'm pretty sure that Alexander Graham Bell was one of Satan's minions.

  49. Anonymous3:09 PM

    I just though I had a problem with talking on my phone. Guess what? I don't have caller ID either!

  50. oh you are BAD.

    no caller ID here either, otherwise I probably would screen my calls even further than I do now. Usually if you are calling before 9pm, I will not answer. Though as backfiring goes, those that don't get me on the house phone call my cell anyway...WHICH does have caller ID. So. Yeah.

  51. I hated the phone until I was a missionary, and I overcame my fear due to the fact that I had to make one million and one half phone calls that were usually to people who weren't there or hoped I wouldn't be calling. Now I love when people call me. I think I project my former fear on them and feel like they are doing something big, and I appreciate it more.

    Your blog is great!

  52. Anonymous said...

    "If you don't ever call anyone and you don't want anyone to call you---how do you have friends? I would be frustrated trying to be friends with you."

    Uhm, hello (ha), welcome to the 21st century and start text messaging. You know you are loved when you get a text message. It's efficient and less intrusive.

    Plus, friendships are even better over instant messaging.

  53. I'm a new lurker that's leaving a comment...just like you asked! If you hate phones...why have one?! That's my question. I don't have a prob answering phones but I'm terrible at calling people back. I think if you hate the phone so much you should just get rid of it all together. That way people won't have any other option but email (which is what you want right?)
    P.S. Your blog is hilarious! I really enjoy reading it. (and I already added you on my own blog because I think it's so funny...hope that's okay.)

  54. I'm a new lurker that's leaving a comment...just like you asked! If you hate phones...why have one?! That's my question. I don't have a prob answering phones but I'm terrible at calling people back. I think if you hate the phone so much you should just get rid of it all together. That way people won't have any other option but email (which is what you want right?)
    P.S. Your blog is hilarious! I really enjoy reading it. (and I already added you on my own blog because I think it's so funny...hope that's okay.)

  55. i have phone phobia too. but not that bad. i just don't like to call people.i don't mind if people call me.

  56. My daughters and daughter in law think I am way cool because I might be "old" but I can text. Not as fast as they can, but I can use the predictive text on the phone and do fairly well. I do love texting, easy and not as intrusive. And rather like emailing, only I can take it with me!

  57. If you take out the trauma of answering the phone, we have identical phone policies. If its important, leave a message. And I may call you back. I'll probably email. I'll only answer the phone if 1) I'm expecting the call or 2) It's a family member or 3) It's someone I'm responsible for answering the phone for.

  58. I could be your friend because I wouldn't call you at all. I never call my friends which I'm sure bugs the snot out of at least one that I can think of. I do email though. Much more my speed.

  59. Anonymous9:03 PM

    Sue, I can pretty much guarantee that your phobia is not genetic; but I do understand. I answer the phone; but I know that 99% of incoming phone calls are someone wanting me to do something, give them something, or go to a meeting somewhere. I don't like making calls, either, because that usually means I am having to ask someone else to do something like go to a meeting, or something is broken or someone is sick. I especially don't like calls that come in the middle of the night, because those are either bad news or a wrong number.

  60. Anonymous9:04 PM

    Sue, I can pretty much guarantee that your phobia is not genetic; but I do understand. I answer the phone; but I know that 99% of incoming phone calls are someone wanting me to do something, give them something, or go to a meeting somewhere. I don't like making calls, either, because that usually means I am having to ask someone else to do something like go to a meeting, or something is broken or someone is sick. I especially don't like calls that come in the middle of the night, because those are either bad news or a wrong number.

  61. FUNNY! I don't mind the phone, but i can't stand the answering machine!!
    Don't ever leave me a message, cause I refuse to listen.

  62. What if the person who is calling you needs you to watch their kids because they have a blood clot and need to go to the hospital? ;)

  63. Anonymous10:32 PM

    Sheesh, I love when people have something rude to say they post anonymously. Grow some balls people! Sorry for the potty word, Sue.

    I'm glad I don't really know you so that our friendship will live on through e-mail. I like communicating that way. But I really like talking on the phone too - it's a great way to pass the time while cleaning house!

  64. Caller I.D. is one of the best inventions EVER! Unless I know who it is, I don't answer either. My kids are even trained not to answer unless I give the okay or they know who it is. (That might be a bad thing but oh well.) In fact, my 8 year old went to answer the phone the other day but turned around and walked away. I asked who it was and he said, "Uncle Known". It took me a minute then realized it was "Unknown". I had a laugh.

  65. This is VERY funny. Because so many of us can relate. Although I did love the phone when I was a teenager...

    Love your blog. Just found out about it from The Happy Geek.

  66. This cracked me up! I only answer calls on my cell phone that are in my phone book. I never answer my home phone, EVER. Okay, except when my very elderly grandma calls...but it's only out of guilt. My friend didn't have caller ID for YEARS and just got it this year. I never could figure out how she managed. I, too, email a lot, but what is even better is TEXT! I can say my short piece of information and not have to talk on the phone. I even text my kids instead of calling when they are gone. The insane part is... I like to TALK. Obviously by this incredibly long comment!

  67. I didn't hate the phone, but now I work in an office where there are three lines I am constantly the only one who will pick up! Therefore, call me at home and I probably won't answer until I know what you want.

    My old YW presidency comrades know to drive by the house and see if I'm home if they need me....or just LEAVE A MESSAGE and I'll return your call.

  68. Caller ID is heaven sent. So is e-mail. I hate making phone calls because I hate bugging people. And if I have to fix something with a company over the phone? Yuck. Just shoot me.

  69. OH yes, I heart texting, IMs and emails, not phone calls where I get put on the spot as my synapses cease firing momentarily.
    And I no longer have a landline, so I can pretty much tell who is calling my cell. That is important.

  70. Anonymous3:02 PM

    that's why i'm still on dial up, so the phone is always busy. if you really need to get a hold of me, call my husbands cel phone and he'll call mine. (i don't give out my number). it all stems back to answering the phone as a job. no money, no answery.

  71. Anonymous4:30 PM

    I never answer the phone either, or return messages (or even listen to them actually...I really should disconnect the machine.)
    My theory is that I pay for the phone in my house, it's for MY convenience, no one else's. So, I don't feel guilty about not answering the phone (at least not most of the time.)
    What does drive me crazy is that my kids friends like to call, and let phone ring FOREVER (if the machine is off). If we don't answer, they call back again and again and again and again. Then they come to the house and ring the doorbell. There couldn't be a good reason why we aren't answering the the kids are busy doing homework or chores and can't talk now. Don't parents teach their kids manners anymore? (Sorry, this is one of my pet peeves.)

  72. Were you attacked by a phone when you were a child?

    Or did you once see Superman changing in a phone booth?

    Or did someone prank call you in high school?

    Why, I ask, WHY?????

  73. So, I take it you never worked as a telemarketer? Actually, my whole family hates calling people but we will answer. Just had to laugh at this post. You would love my phone service, the voice mail picks up after 3 rings and I can never even find the phone before it answers for me.

  74. I just hate it when the phone rings:
    1) Early in the morning(before 9)
    2) Late at night (after 8)
    3) During meals

    The thing is, my babies wake up when the phone rings, so I become furious when people call after appropriate times. The other reason is that because of his job, my husband's on his phone ALL day (no, he's not a telemarketer), and he ALWAYS answers the phone, except when I call him. That's because we text each other. If he ignores my text messages, I leave him a voicemail. He hates voicemails. I guess we're all a little freakish in our own freakish way...

  75. Amen.

    That is why we have email people. EMAIL!

  76. I, too, can totally relate to this, and I'm glad to find out I'm not the only one!

  77. I too hate answering the phone. I have to take a deep breath and mentally prepare myself. This fear comes from years of working in customer service where I never knew what kind of nasty cranky freak I would have to deal with. I should get caller ID.

  78. I don't have caller ID. I didn't know what I was missing. . . obviously, or I would have overridden all the protests of my tight/cheapskate husband and gotten it anyway. There's a whole new world of selectivism that I'm missing out on.

    Do you ever get a secret sense of joy when you screen someone's call that you really don't like? 'Cause I always feel a little bit like I was taken when I answer those phone calls.

  79. Anonymous9:50 AM

    My wife is one of those people--and we don't even have caller ID.

    But I do have a cool phone service from Google called "Grand Central". When people call that number, it rings my home and cell phones at the same time. Then whichever one I answer gets the call.

    When I pick up, the phone announces the caller and I have four choices: 1. Answer the call. 2. Send the call to voicemail. 3. Send the call to voicemail, but listen in on the voice mail message. (You can even pick up the call mid-message if you want.) 4. Answer the call and record the entire call.

    You can have special greetings and rings for different people or groups of people. And the service is free.

  80. Sounds cool, but I think if both of my phones rang at once my head might explode.

    80 COMMENTS people. Oh my gosh, speaking of my head exploding.

  81. Anonymous11:14 AM

    OMg - that is sooo funny. I feel exactly the same way. I go one step further. When I meet new people I dont give them my phone number - I give them my email address instead. I tell people not to call me. I have a cell phone but not so people can call me. It's so I can check my email while I am on the go.

  82. Can I have your phone number? :P

  83. Hey Sue, I think you are so great... gotta butter people up so they don't think I'm such a freak... I too LOATHE the phone. My husband doesn't put up with it either and i LOATHE that. My own idea of a personal hell is when I have to call people at church for this or that (darn church callings) I have had phone jobs too many times in the past. It's horrible. All incoming mind you, but it was terrible. I would quit after a month or two because my anxiety levels were through the roof about the job. I also would end up crying at work more than I'd like to admit, why are people so mean? Anyway, I love your blog and finally decided to comment as not to kill off part of your soul....

  84. Oh my...this is hilarious. I am the same way.

  85. Just found your blog today via Mormon Mommy Wars. HILARIOUS! Not commenting just to save your soul but to say AAAAMMMMEEENNN! So, so glad to find kindred phone haters!

    Thanks to one of your commenters I realized my phone aversion is the reason why I go so long between haircuts... such an epiphany!

    This phone thing can't be genetic, though. My mother ADORES the phone, lives for the phone, can have a friendly chat with any and all telemarketers, pounces when it rings, laments when others don't, calls repeatedly throughout the day just to see if I got her last message (about nothing)... the list goes on. I think I even saw her take the phone into the bathroom once! Yikes... that's dedication!

    Though, I may take after my father who begins hiding as soon as the phone starts to ring. Can you blame him when my mother answers EVERY call and will FORCE the phone upon any unwilling recipient. She just can't imagine not wanting to take a call...

    Maybe I've been traumatized by my mother's phone adoration, maybe that's why I am the way I am.

    I stand in front of the caller ID and make excuses for why I can't answer the phone... I could be in the bathroom, maybe I'm in the shower, maybe I lost the phone, maybe my three-year old is holding me hostage... Must be prepared with plausible reasons when the phone police knock down my door?

    Oi, this is a long comment. Obviously I have no issues with blathering on and on... just not on the phone!

  86. Okay, do you have hidden cameras watching me because I SWEAR this is what I do!?! I warn my friends upfront that I hate talking on the phone. They still get their feelings hurt, but if they're real friends, they get used to it and get over it. LOVE texting and email. So glad I am not the only person on the planet who does this! Oh- and Rob answers and hands me the phone, too.

  87. omg this is tragically funny because i am you with the phone. literally shrink away from it in abject fear. why do you think that is? i'm trying to understand my pathology...thank you for sharing.

  88. Anonymous11:31 PM

    I hate it when people won't answer the phone. So you know what I do, I stop calling them. And then they wonder why they don't get invited to anything, and why no one told them Grandma died (true story). Because why bother to contact people that don't want to be contacted? Some things you just say via text messaging.

    FYI, I am really sick of texting. I refuse to do it. It's called English, people.

  89. OMG I just read this to my husband because I do teh SAME THING! He jsut sat there shaking his head and said "you are all insane."
    I used to be a total phone talker, although I did screen my calls. Then caller ID came along and I became a freak about needing to know who is calling. We don't have an answering machine, we have voice mail, so I can no longer screen calls. One time our caller ID phone died and we had to use the only other phone in the house that DID NOT have caller ID. It stressed me out each time it rang because I could not just answer it not knowing who was on the other end. And if my husband wen tout I would make him call my cell so that I knew it was him and I could answer the phone. Yea, so you might be a freak but you are not alone! :). I'll be your email friend, just please don't call me ;P.

  90. I love this post because I have been feeling like a freak because of my phone aversion. I hate the phone so much I won't listen to the voicemail a person leaves when I don't pick up. I love texting and email. Hate chatting because it is just like the phone.

    You are hilarious!

  91. Wow, it's a real eye opener to read some of these comments. I seriously thought that everyone else in the world liked to use the phone but me.

    I've had a terrible phone phobia all my life and so do most of the members of my family. I will ALWAYS answer the phone, even if it's a telemarketer, but I hate, hate, hate to CALL anyone. Even a business. Even my own mother. I usually will only call my husband or children if I have no other choice. I even avoid talking to my own grandchildren on the phone because it's just too awkward to talk to little kids on the phone. I love to hear their voices, but I never know what to say to them, so I miss out on a lot. This really is a big hassle in my life. I've tried hypnotism and other types of therapy, but it doesn't help.

    It's comforting to know that I'm not the only phone freak out there. Thank heaven for E-mail and text messaging!

    I think I'm going to put up a poll on my blog and see how many of my readers are phone freaks like us.

  92. Oh, yes! I have completely turned a 180 on the phone. I used to live to talk on that darn thing. I even agreed with a good friend, that a phone ought to be surgically attached to a woman's head . . . YIKES! Now I can't stand to hear that phone ring. My family is divided over the issue. My parents call and think they're talking to a machine and that I'm listening, and the resulting message they leave is sooooo annoying. Typically, I'll be straining to hear a message left by my quiet daughter on a faulty line or dying cell phone, and then the next message is my gentle-giant-Dad booming, Hell-oooo, Pick up the pho-ooone!! I need to talk to you!

    And don't even get me started on the bill collectors. Do they seriously not even know how to pronounce the name of the company they supposedly work for???

  93. "Honey -- she wants to be your FRIEND. That's what friends do. They call each other. They talk on the phone."

    Your husband's long-lost twin has given me the same freakin' lecture.

  94. Oh, for heaven's sake, woman. Do you read all of these? Now this is the second friend of mine who has linked to you in her blog - and I am finally putting you in my reader, which is almost as hard for me as answering the phone is for you.

    I am not like you in this. I just want to go on record. I LOVE phones. I love them like I love my EARS. When I don't have my cell phone, I feel like I've lost my sense of smell or something - or I've gone blind, and I start blundering around with my hands out. I have to be at least potentially connected.

    And when it's some number on the ID that i don't know? I love that. It gives me an excuse to exercise my puffer-fish mechanism - all the spines come out and my eyes narrow down like i'm acquiring a target, and when I answer, it's like' "WHoever you are, this better be dang GOOD."

    I love it when it's an insurance guy, violating my no-call status. I get to wring them out and stab them with icy wit. How many opportunities do you get like that in a civilized life time? It's like having deer dance up to you with targets painted all over them.

    But really, I'm probably way less likely to answer the phone if I DO know who it is, because whoever it is, friend or fam, I know I'm probably not up to whatever they're going to dump on my mental doorstep. And it's especially bad if it's somebody from church, because whatever it is they're calling about, you can bet its got a windfall of guilt attached to it.

    So maybe we're more alike than all that. Maybe - I don't know, we should talk. Maybe I'll just give you a call . . .

    --Kristen Randle

  95. Ok, so I so totally love talking to people, but seriously hate getting into hour long phone conversations when I all I needed to know was what time we were meeting at B&N for heaven sakes. I would absolutely die without caller ID, my hubby hates it, but honestly, how else am I going to avoid speaking to the crazy in-laws or telemarketers??

  96. I just wanted to be one of the many to comment on this post. I actually laughed out loud! This was the best description of what some peopel go through. Haha.. thanks for the laughs!

  97. I know you already have 9 million comments on this entry, but I stalked your blog today and this one made me cringe the most. I mean cringe in a good way - as in, oh man I think she's writing about me.
    My husband and I sometimes fight about my complete and total reluctance to use the phone. We were in a hotel and needed something from the front desk, and I actually said "Nah, I'll just sleep on the couch" because I didn't want to call about the giant stain on the bed.
    I'm okay in person, and I LOVE texting, but man, the phone just gives me the creeps. I pretend that "I don't like the assumption that I'm 100% accessible 100% of the time" but really, I just don't want to pick up the phone.
    Maybe this is a new psychological disorder. Yeah, that's it. I'm not weird, I'm disordered.

  98. I'm right there with you, but perhaps not so extreme. I personally let the voice mail get it and I can hear it through the house so I know whether it is the Fraternity of Arizona Police (who just want to guilt me into giving them money) or the cub committee chair about the next scout committee meeting (who I will talk to). I just want to make sure it is someone I know. After that I love picking up.

    After reading all these comments, I can't help but begin to wonder.. and I have wondered myself about this, so please don't think I am pulling out my guilt machine gun.. but I wonder sometimes.. You see, sometimes I compare prayer to picking up the phone and I like to think that Heavenly Father hears that ring and gets on the line immediately to listen and talk. And I wonder if someday I'll be listening to my childrens' prayers to my husband (and me) in our god and goddess state. I wonder how good I'll be at it or whether I'll be putting it on celestial voice mail to mull over for a while.

    Just a thought.

  99. Okay ~ Can I PLEASE copy this post and send it to my friends/family/boss/co-workers who think I'm CRAZY for having such a phone phobia!?!? Seriously!? I have even pretened that my phone broke just so I didn't have to answer it. BTW, I'm a realtor, which makes it really interesting to have such a phobia. My favorite clients are the ones who email me or text me. I. HATE. THE. PHONE. Alexander Graham Bell is NOT my BFF. :)

  100. A friend emailed me this since I keep blogging about my phone phobia. I am exactly the same. I never answer the phone and get angry even though I love the people that are callling me. Glad you shared. I don't feel so weird.

  101. as though you would even get the 102nd comment on your post, but i thought i woul dlet you know that i am the same way. i hate the phone and my mom yells at me through the machine and i jsut sit there and pretend i'm not home. ditto to it all!!!

  102. Anonymous5:53 PM

    Well, that's just knee-slappin' hilarious!

    So glad I clicked over from Boo Mama.

    I don't have quite the phone issues you do. Or did. But probaby do? I'm guessing.

    BUTTTTT, I do have "some" phone issues. I prefer to know who it is. AND I usually need to know if it's urgent, important or can wait 'til tomorrow.

    I'm sure I'll sound like the rest of the people in the free world when I say this...
    LIFE IS HECTIC! I'm BUSY! WAY too busy. I honestly have to pray for focus so that I don't miss when the Lord is nudging me.

    It's darn hard! People are needy.

    And funny thing....I AM TOO! :)

    Now, as you can see....I have a problem leaving post length comments on people's blogs.

    Maybe I'm worried they won't call me, I mean, comment back? Oh you know what I mean. Just in case this blogger WILL NOT come over and visit me at my blog and see how I am....

    I'LL JUST LEAVE A LONG MESSAGE in their comments telling them way too much information.....

    Wow...thanks for the space to vent.


    Come visit my blog! :0

  103. Hey babe - hope you're feeling better today. Just wanted to tell you that my Gin posted this link to me this morning, pleased because you'd nailed her in this one. That's what's so important about what you do here - maybe I'll just write you about this. Yeah, I think I will.

  104. LOL I just found your blog!! and OMG I am not the only person in the world who does this exact same thing. Only my dad has caught on, he will call my house, and leave a 20 minute message, and then call my cell (which he knows I always have on me for texting purposes lol) and leave another 20 minute message which drives me crazy lol.

  105. So since you've posted this, have you had friends or family express that they're worried about calling you? I want to express similar phone frustrations myself, but I'm always worried that people will say, "Well, fine, I'll never call you." Or "I'm so sorry to be calling you, I know how you hate it."

  106. Wow. I thought I was the only one.

  107. That is so me! I HATE talking on the phone. The internet, email and facebook messaging/events are the greatest inventions ever since I can now communicate and even plan get-togethers without ever actually speaking to another human being.

  108. you are serious about the phone hate...haha

    I likey!