Research suggests phone anxiety is related to a preoccupation with what another person thinks of us. By eliminating the reaction of others in spoken conversations, text messaging may offer those with phone anxiety a way of making social contact without the fear of rejection or disapproval.
Another reason is the pressure that comes with being someone else’s focus. In face-to-face conversations, we have distractions in our environment, like gazing out of the window. On a call, there are no external distractions, so it can feel like the spotlight is on us to answer questions straight away.
Pauses can feel extremely uncomfortable too. In person, you can see when someone is distracted or thinking but on the phone brief silences can feel awkward.
We’re also becoming accustomed to being able to review emails, texts and social media posts before hitting the send button, so a phone conversation can feel impulsive and risky.