Social Anxiety. It is so not fun. It is the exact opposite of fun. It causes you to do stupid things like waiting until someone else finishes a test before turning yours in so you’re not the first one done, or refusing to make phone calls because you can’t seem to initiate a conversation to save your life.
Sound like you? Me too hon. I’ve been there. Heck, I am there. I hate being the first person to do anything. I hate being the center of attention or raising my hand in class or job interviews. I especially hate making phone calls.
Sounds funny coming from someone who worked at a help desk for two and a half years right? Well, there’s a reason they put me on the front desk away from the phones as soon as possible. I don’t know what it is, but the second the phone rings, I panic. If I’m the one who has to initiate the call, it’s even worse. I actively avoid it. I’ll put off a phone call for weeks if I can, and sometimes even if I can’t.
Alas, phone calls are necessary. Evil, but necessary. So how do you make a phone call when the very thought of talking on the phone is paralyzing? In my twenty-something years of life, all of which have been spent actively avoiding talking on the phone, I’ve developed a few life hacks.
5 Strategies For Making Phone Calls with Social Anxiety
1. Make Phone Calls Alone
This one is huge for me. The only thing worse than making a phone call, is knowing someone is listening to me make that phone call. Just going into the other room isn’t enough for me. I know whoever is in the house can still hear me. My current apartment echoes a lot, so when it’s quiet, the whole building can hear everything. Because of this, I choose to make phone calls from my car. Do I look ridiculous walking outside to my car for five minutes to make a doctor’s appointment? Probably, if anyone knew what I was doing. But they don’t. And it helps.
2. Rehearse Your Intro
Plan out what you’re going to say when that person answers. All too often, us socially anxious humans freeze when we hear that terrifying word: “Hello?”. To counteract this, I rehearse my intro over and over as I walk to my car: “Hi, this is Samantha Upson, I’d like to make an appointment with….” You get the idea. Make sure you know what you need and how you plan to say it to save you from panicking and losing all sense of memory.
3. Call and Hang Up
Okay, this one sounds crazy, I know. This tip is especially helpful if you’re not positive you have the right number or you’re not sure who’s going to answer the phone. Does the thought of making a mistake and giving your entire intro you just rehearsed to the wrong person make you feel sick? Can you not remember the name of the person or place you’re calling? Easy fix. Call the number. Usually, the person will respond with “Hello, this is so-and-so/name-of-place.” You have my permission to then hang up the phone, rehearse your own intro using the information you’ve just been given, and try again. Maybe wait a few minutes before calling back if you’re worried they may know you hung up before, but most people forget about hang-ups fairly quickly.
4. Make all your phone calls at once.
Need to schedule a vet appointment for your dog, and call the caterer for your wedding, and call your old supervisor and ask for a reference letter, etc.? Do it all at once. Find a time when you can take half an hour or so, go sit in your car, and make every single phone call at once. You will quickly start to gain steam, and it’s much easier to get it all over with than have to build up the courage to make one phone call at a time. This will save you so much time, so much energy, and so much stress.
5. Delegate When You Can
Unfortunately, you can’t do this for every phone call. You can’t exactly ask your mom to call your supervisor to ask for a letter of recommendation. However, you can ask your mom to schedule your dog’s vet appointment. You can ask your sister to call the caterer and get the information and your husband to schedule your child’s doctor appointment. I wouldn’t use this one too often because constantly asking people to do things for you isn’t healthy for your own growth or your relationships, but if it comes down to asking your sister for a favor versus not having a caterer for your wedding, go ahead and ask. Chances are, she’ll be happy to help, and you can check something off your to-do list.
Social anxiety definitely comes with some challenges, and it can be incredibly difficult to overcome your own mind. These are some of the ways I counteract my social anxiety when it comes to phone calls, and it helps me a lot. Maybe these won’t work for you, or maybe you have even better ideas than I do. Maybe you think I’m crazy for following these tips, but that’s okay. These work for me, and I really hope they work for someone else too!
Let me know how you combat phone-anxiety in the comments! Want to know more about how I handle social anxiety in my everyday life? Visit the anxiety category of my site, and subscribe to my email list so you never miss a post!