Public Apology

This post is dedicated to two of my dearest friends, who I have grown up with, and who I miss terribly.

Two of my friends (for legal and moral reasons I shall name them Friend A and Friend B) are disappearing from my life, and I’m not OK with that.

First, let me explain something about me. I suffer from a relatively unknown condition. It is so unknown that I believe I actually made it up, so for that reason I have the dubious pleasure of giving it a name: phone phobia. I know it’s not very imaginative, but if I called it Clive this paragraph would have to be much longer.

I don’t know why talking on the phone makes me so uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because I hate awkward silences. Maybe it’s because I hate when people talk over me even more.

More realistically, I believe it’s because I find communicating face-to-face (or in this case, ear-to-phone) incredibly difficult when important shit needs saying. I’m just plain no good at it. I stutter, I sweat, I even lose my memory to the extent that I forget words.

Both Friend A and Friend B are experiencing terrible personal dramas right now, and they need me. They need me to hug them, they need me to talk to – what they don’t need is a well intentioned text message or email.

I think it’s quite normal to feel impotent when someone you love is going through a terrible crisis that you can do nothing to improve. Perhaps this is why people sometimes distance themselves from close friends and/or relatives when they have experienced a divorce or a bereavement. We don’t feel that our presence will help the sufferer and we are petrified of saying the wrong thing and making things worse.

The thing is, I know from past experience how it feels when people avoid you because they don’t know what to say or do. It makes you feel incredibly lonely at a time when you need to feel supported. And knowing this, I do it any way.

It’s incredibly selfish and stems from a fear of discomfort. But what’s worse? Feeling uncomfortable for a short spell or knowing that you are neglecting someone when they really need you?

Distance is an issue too. If it weren’t, I like to think that I wouldn’t be writing this right now, I’d be with A or B, having a glass of wine or a coffee, and just being there for them.

But with distance being an issue, I have to get to grips with the next best means of communication. After all, I didn’t have such a fear of phones when it was me reaching out for them in my time of need.

So this is the confession of a phoneaphobe and generally rubbish friend. I don’t know if A or B will read this, but if they do… I’m sorry.

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5 thoughts on “Public Apology

  1. phoneaphobe: Not that unknown…
    I’ve had full blank-outs on teh phone, I forget who I’m talking to or how we started the conversation, and then youhave to END the phone call. How do you do that if you cant see the other peopson! How?? It’s not natural! You’re not alone!

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  2. Hi, I’m no different, and when a friend of mine went through a hard time, I used an excuse, that being “ohhh I don’t want to bother her…” but it was my brother in law that said I should call. It was my duty to call. I would soon find out if I was bothering her… and if I was… that’s when I respect her space. Anyway… it was so hard making that call… real hard… from the moment I spoke to my friend… I could see that she appreciated it…. I suppose for me, it was the idea of making the call and the awkwardness I was anticipating that made is so difficult. It was way harder in my head than in reality…

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  3. I completely and utterly agree/sympathize with this.

    I feel like I talk on the phone (for work, not just for yayas) all damned day and when I’m done, I like to NOT talk on the phone. I like having a glass/bottle of wine and communicating either face to face or in a well thought out text conversation. I also like to take baths which make both face to face and voice calls difficult, so text it is!

    As long as you’re reaching out, it really shouldn’t matter in what form. I went through a shit time in my life once and simply the effort made to contact me was enough!

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