“I hate talking on the phone, I hate it, then I send a voice message and I can extend whatever it is, but I hate talking on the phone,” says María Fernanda, a 30-year-old Costa Rican living in Madrid.
The gesture of silencing an incoming call is becoming increasingly common, especially among young people, digital natives who privilege other forms of communication over the traditional telephone conversation.
The times of long headphone conversations seem to have come to an end and only grandparents seem to be exempt from being unceremoniously silenced by their grandchildren.
“With older people I do like to talk more on the phone because they don’t have that possibility that we have, with my grandfather especially, who calls me a lot on the phone because he is like that and I also like to talk to him,” says Alberto, 20-year-old, who, in any case, admits that he does not usually pick up the phone from anyone else “because he carries it in silence.”
“I don’t usually take it because I wear it in silence most of the time,” says Alberto. “But then I usually call, I usually call back.”
- And you never ignore an incoming call?
- For what reason?
- I don’t know … I don’t know, but it’s like that, and I know that people do too.
Telenophobia, a condition that is not new
Ana, 24, is clear about why she is not answering calls: “I am afraid to pick up the phone.” His aversion to talking on his mobile is directly related, he admits, to his ” mental health ” and goes beyond a preference for other forms of communication. Ana has telenophobia, fear of talking on the phone.
“For me it is a world, because maybe at that moment I have anxiety through the roof or I just argued with someone or I am very sad and that will influence the call”, declares Ana. “When I have to make a call , I often do a role play of what I have to say, how they can possibly respond, that is, something very heavy , very laborious and then what is a phone call, but the anxiety sometimes goes like this “.
Resource image of a young couple.
Millennials, children of the 2008 crisis and Covid: “Now that we started dreaming, they send us all to hell”
Telenophobia is not a new disorder, in fact, according to Sergio García Soriano , clinical psychologist and expert in social intervention, it had its peak when phone calls were something much more common than in these times.
“It is usually a fear of speaking in public, of speaking with more people, it is usually a social phobia and, within that social phobia, we can say that a subgroup has telenophobia”, explains García Soriano. “In many cases, behind this complex, the desire to control everything is hidden. But communication cannot be controlled, what one is going to say and the other is going to respond, that is a play, life has a spontaneity and they, what they do not tolerate, is to get out of a scheme that they do not control. “
A conscious choice
The widespread aversion of young people to the telephone conversation cannot be attributed entirely to telenophobia. According to a study recently published by the American website bankmycell.com , 75% of millennials avoid answering calls because they consider that they take up too much time.
There is, despite everything, a hierarchy when it comes to ignoring one or the other calls. According to the aforementioned study, 29% of young people tend to ignore calls from friends , compared to 25% who ignore those from their family and 21%, those from their work.
“If it is a family member or work, yes I usually take it, if I see that it is a friend and I know that it is nothing serious … When I can,” says Juanjo, 29, who recognizes that his most common excuses when asked why not It has been taken usually “that I was in the shower or that I had the mobile in silence and I have not seen it and that’s it”.
For García Soriano, this behavior cannot be linked to telenophobia. ” The millennials , right now, is not having telenofobia is that they prefer to do otherwise, it is a choice, not a resort . They decide that they are going to talk by phone with their mother or with their partner and the rest of their communication they are going to do through WhatsApp, email or voice messages, “says the psychologist.” They, in general, take this This is also a decision because they are digital natives and were born with this type of communication. “
Calls that end in limbo
There are always exceptions, like Elena, 22, who claims to prefer the telephone conversation to speaking on WhatsApp. “It seems to me that it is closer. To stay, yes I usually throw more WhatsApp, but I am a lot of calls,” says this young woman, who recognizes that it is very common that, when calling her friends, the call is never answered. “I understand it because there are people who are uncomfortable, I let it be and that’s it.”
Social networks on a mobile phone.
Behind those ignored calls there is not always a conscious choice. The numerous unwanted advertising calls and an over-information on smartphones has led many young people to keep their mobiles permanently silent , causing many calls to end up in limbo.
“Normally I have it in silence and I don’t realize it. If I see it, I usually pick it up, but most of the time I have it in silence because it is ringing all the time between emails, applications, WhatsApp …”, declares Héctor, 24 years. “In the end it’s like you have to disconnect somehow.”