Anyone who knows me well knows how much I avoid the phone. I rarely call anyone other than my kids. Even my weekly call to my dad is stressful for me.
I didn’t connect this phone phobia of mine with my ADHD until I read Sandy Maynard’s article today on the ADDitude Magazine website.
Apparently a lot of people with ADHD avoid telephone conversations because they find it even harder to talk to someone on the phone than they do in person.
It’s easier to get distracted when you’re on the phone and lose track of the conversation. I find myself interrupting more, too, than I do in person.
For me, though, the biggest thing is knowing what to say.
That must sound ridiculous to some people, but it’s true. Even good friends I’ve known for years (are you reading this Kathy?) can still cause me to panic before making a call.
As Sandy points out in her article, we often put off making phone calls because of this kind of anxiety. Then of course, at some point, you’ve waited too long to respond and you’re sure if you call now, the person you’re calling will be angry. Oh yes. Been there, done that.
One of the things that I do to help me get the conversation started is to rehearse what I’m going to say. If it’s really important, I might rehearse actual lines or even write them down. If it’s more of a casual call, I try to at least have an idea in my head of what I want to say or talk about.
I feel like this is the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever admitted online. Don’t laugh too hard.
Sandy’s article makes some good suggestions as well; pacing while you talk and doing a simple familiar task are two of my favorites. I always make a point to call my dad on Sunday evening while I’m doing the dinner dishes. It helps.
Check out Sandy’s article if any of this sounds familiar to you. She’s a very smart lady.
It depends on who I’m talking to. I can spend HOURS on the phone with my best friend and my mother. They are both ADDers too. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy with them. My only problem with those two is that I tend to roam the house while I talk to them and often misplace things in the process. When I phone chat with my husband he inevitably comments on not being able to “get a word in edgewise” lol. I dread making “important” calls though and for years I have written down things I need to say when making those calls. Even still, I have issues with them because often something will come up in one of those calls that I did NOT anticipate and that throws me off track and I have a hard time figuring out how to come back to the stuff I have written down. Very frustrating
OMG!!!! I am NOT alone! This has always been an issue for me especially when calling people I don’t know or that I don’t talk to often. I hate ordering food by phone, I always make my husband call and I offer to go get it. That works because he hates going 😉 For some reason, when I worked as a receptionist I was fine and did an excellent job… just the occassional calling that drives me nuts. At least now I have a little more insight. Thanks for sharing!
I know!! I had NO idea this was related to my ADD! Somehow it makes me feel better 🙂
Thank you for this post! My dread of the phone has become steadily worse, as my ADHD became more unmanageable. Finally a diagnosis at 36 and medication have improved my life dramatically, but I still can’t stand making phone calls, and I avoid picking up the phone. It’s a relief to know that there’s a reason for this.
Good to know I’m not alone! I’ve had more than one job that was phone intensive and then always kicked myself for taking it.
OMG, you have just made my day. Thank you so much for sharing this. I thought I was going crazy. I have got into so much trouble and lost so many good friends over the years for the reasons you stated. I panic before answering the phone, babble incessantly when on it, repeatedly fail to return calls and refuse to have a mobile phone. Thank you, again, I am 46 and have only just realised I have ADD (my son was diagnosed 6 months ago). Things are finally starting to make sense as to why I have felt so awful for so many years. I thought everyone felt like this and that I was the only one not strong enough to cope with my fears.
I’m so glad I made your day! I still struggle with phone calls – hate them – and I avoid them far too much. I also have a thing about the front door. I have a sort of irrational fear of someone showing up unexpectedly. Not neighbors so much, but pretty much anyone else. Not the easiest way to live, but I get by.