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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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How do you explain phone phobia to friends? I just can't

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How do you explain phone phobia to friends? I just can't call them or take calls from them as often as they'd like, and I feel horrible about that.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

Explaining a phobia to people who have never had one can be daunting. They simply do not understand the intense fear that a phobia brings. That can make getting them to understand very difficult.

But everyone does understand fear and that is a good starting point. Giving your friends something to relate to helps. To start, you can use examples of things everyone fears such as surgery or common fears such as heights or air travel. Find out what each of your friends fear. Then relate your fear to that. For example, if your friend fears heights you can say something like "You know what you feel if you are very high up on top of a mountain (building, etc)? That is the kind of fear I feel talking on the phone.

If your friend does not understand, explain a bit more about phobias. Phobias are fears of things that do not normally cause fear. Because of other reasons though feelings get transferred to something that does not normally make people afraid. Let them know you are working on how you feel but for now, you need their understanding. If you feel it is appropriate, send your friend materials about phobias. Sometimes showing them that others suffer from fears as well can help them understand. Also, the more they know the more they can be there for you with support.

Make sure to emphasize that you value your friendship with them and that you want to find other ways to communicate with them until you can work on your fear. Then talk with them about what they feel might help you both stay connected. It may be emails, texts or lots of face to face contact. Whatever you work out will help reset the expectations and keep your friendship close.

I hope this has helped you,
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