no escape call

That feeling of intense fear and panic associated with making phone calls? it is real. That's why the introverts within us are celebrating the rise of doing everything online (and the slow death of the phone). But there's still no way to completely escape them.

You still need to schedule your dog's checkup or talk to an older family member. That's when the familiar stage of phone anxiety sets in, overwhelming and paralyzing you. We'll take you through the stages to show you exactly what a phone can do:

Stage One: Fear Begins

This is the moment when fear starts to creep in, your chest tightens and your fight or flight instinct kicks in.

Maybe your mom is handing you the phone and asking you to say something to your grandma. Or your dentist will only schedule appointments over the phone. You're not sure how long you can stare at that call screen...

This is the moment you realize you're going to have to talk on the phone.

Stage 2: Find a way out

Fear and panic are taking over, but there is still some hope. Maybe you don't have to call! There should be a way to avoid it, right? You do your research trying to find a way around it.

You Google businesses, check Yelp, or even check Facebook. Maybe you can order delivery online, or email your dentist and the receptionist will understand. Maybe your roommate can call you while you give them a thumbs up from afar.

But if for some reason you can't avoid making a decision - it's time to move on to Phase 3.

Stage Three: Maybe It’s Not So Bad…

You try to calm yourself down. You tell yourself it's not that bad. You may even feel a little silly for being afraid of making phone calls. You start trying to cheer yourself up. You're smart, you're capable, it's no big deal! And yet - your heart is still beating fast... the call is still not connected.

Some might say it's irrational, but it's still a fear - knowing there's no reason to be afraid doesn't mean you won't be afraid, and that's okay.

Stage 4: Practice what you say over and over again

At this point, you know a phone call is inevitable, and you're still anxious. The best way to calm this anxiety (even a little bit) is to write yourself a script.

If you were ordering food, you would carefully write down what you wanted. If you're making an appointment, make sure to write down the times you're available each day, from what time to what time, to avoid any awkward silences and uuhhhhhmmmms .

You know, once the call happens, your mind goes a little blank, so you want to be as prepared as possible. Take some little notes to yourself:

  • speak slowly
  • catch my breath
  • Smile when you speak to make your voice sound friendlier

You make sure you have a little bit of water so your sound doesn't get dry and weird. If you haven't already, you run the script one last time and go to a private place.

Stage 5: Adventure

This is the phone.

You dial the number. You count each ring, and as time passes, you hope that maybe no one will answer, but, of course, someone will. This is their job.

You say hello, feeling your heart tighten in your chest, part of you probably going numb in an effort to protect yourself. You read through the script and cringe at the inevitable lulls and imperfections, like when they can't hear you or misunderstand your commands.

Your voice may shake, your hands may shake, but you will get through this.

Stage 6: Waiting for the silent tones…and sweet relief

it is finally over! Thank God.

You make sure to plug the appointment into your calendar or set an alert on your phone to know when a delivery will be nearby. The experience, to be honest, kind of sucked. But you did a great job and now it's all over.

You may also be on the phone, which is almost worse because you have no time to prepare. The moment the phone rings, you feel waves of anxiety, fear, and maybe even a little angry that you were caught off guard. Most of the time you ignore it, but if it's an important call you have to answer, you quickly try to calm yourself down and scramble for a pen and paper. But just like the phone call, you'll be fine and it'll be over soon.

Phone anxiety is no joke. It can be a major component of social anxiety and, unfortunately, is still unavoidable today even with the increasing number of online options.

If you experience phone anxiety, know that you are not alone and that you survive every call. Holding on can make the next phone call less scary.


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