Working on my fear of the telephone - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Working on my fear of the telephone


One major trigger for my social anxiety is talking on the phone to anyone who I don't know super well. Whenever I need to make even the simplest phone call, I tend to agonize and can put it off for weeks at a time! This is something that I really want to work on, especially considering that I need to be looking for jobs, so talking on the phone to recruiters and potential employers is important.

So today as a first step, I called Little Caesar's to ask what time they close. The girl I talked to sounded annoyed and I felt kindof dumb even though it was a normal interaction. My husband tells me they always sound annoyed there no matter what, so I guess it's fine.

If anyone wants to suggest other baby steps for talking to strangers on the phone, I'd love to hear suggestions!
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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After putting this off for months (no kidding), today I called and made an eye appointment for myself and my husband. Whew! I'm glad that's over. Now I need to think of something similarly challenging for tomorrow.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 02:22 PM
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I can empathize. I'm terrified of making phone calls. Once I took a longish bus ride to my psychiatrist's office because I needed to reschedule an appointment and for some reason I found this easier than phoning them.

This is how we go on: one day at a time, one meal at a time, one pain at a time, one breath at a time. (Stephen King)
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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I can definitely relate to that, LaurelHS. I find it much, much easier to talk to people in person (or better yet, by text or instant message!) than on the phone. I'm surprised I haven't just gone over to the optometrist's office to schedule an appointment instead of calling them!
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-08-2016, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Today, someone called me from an unfamiliar number and I forced myself to answer it. I was so tempted to let it go to voice mail like I always do with unfamiliar numbers. It was a recruiter for a job in my field. This is the first time I've managed to talk to a recruiter, so this is huge. I was sweaty and uncomfortable, but got through the conversation, and my husband says I managed to sound excited about the job.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-10-2016, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Now I'm feeling less determined to beat this, and more panicky. What if the recruiter calls me back tomorrow? What if I have to go to an interview? Or what if I have a phone interview? Or both?! AAAAHHHH! And what if no one calls me back because no one is interested in hiring me after all? Ugh, my brain needs to shut up!
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-16-2016, 10:30 AM
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Keep it up! The more you do it the more it becomes second nature. I had a severe problem making phone calls in the past and the only way I got over it was making phone calls no matter how much dread came over me. Its like with anything in life the more you practice it the better you become at it. It took alot of guts to make that phone call now you just need to keep it up. I know you can do it
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-16-2016, 10:36 AM
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I just hate it because it is so inefficient. I vastly prefer being able to send a text or email... Having someone describe a map to you versus getting it as a picture makes a world of a difference.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-17-2016, 09:43 PM
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So how is everything going? I hope you kept at it.

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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-18-2016, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Well, after my conversation with that recruiter, I must admit that I haven't kept it up for making an uncomfortable phone call each day. It's been so hard to think of ideas of phone calls that I can make!

But I have definitely been confronting my social anxiety in general. This past weekend, I went to visit my husband's parents and extended family. Some of them like to tease mercilessly and bring up topics that get under peoples' skin, and in past gatherings I've always been the primary target. I don't think it was because I was getting noticeably more riled than other people... it's more that I disagree with them about a lot of things, so there are easy topics to bring up. So partly because of that, I had been skipping going to those family gatherings for a while. Previously, my in-laws wanted me to not confront this person and just get over it, but this time I decided that if they want me there, then there have to be some boundaries. I was all set to tell this person to lay off face-to-face, but my mother-in-law talked to his wife and told her to tell him to be nice this time. I guess this approach must have worked, because there wasn't a problem this visit.

While there, I did a practice interview with one of their family friends. I know and like this person, but I don't know her all that well, so it was a sweaty, uncomfortable situation. When it was over, she told me that I answered the questions well and came across as skilled and confident in my abilities, so that really helped me feel better... I may be feeling awful inside, but I guess at least sometimes it's not all that obvious to other people?

And then this morning, I had a phone interview (for a different position than the recruiter called about previously). I survived it without stuttering or floundering! I think I did better than expected because the practice interview gave me more confidence. I don't think I'll get the job, because my experience is probably not the best fit. But there's nothing I can do about that... I did the best I could, and maybe next time I'll have better luck.
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-18-2016, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Mattingly94, that's so encouraging that you were able to get past your fear of phone calls! How bad was it before, and what did you have to do to fix it? Is it ever an issue now?
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-18-2016, 01:18 PM
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Eventually, you just gather the gumption and fight through the nerves.
Even recently, I have noticed myself stuttering a bit. They don't pay attention! Just stay focused on what you need to say and it's good form there.

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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 06:03 AM
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but the more you try, and more, more times


the more often you get hangups

whatever you say by phone in determination and accurately

the others judges and denies you.

Nobody chooses to be awkward or offensive
People who are hostile towards them by hangups, create a pool of unwanted

Same social recession as economic recession
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 01:04 PM
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Something that should always comfort you in phone calls is these people deal with SO many people on a daily basis over the phone. No matter where or what business it is, the person answering is eventually going to be monotonous. Though I noticed some can be very nice every time. I hope all is going well for you. I actually have to make an appointment right now. I'm a bit nervous but it's got to be done! Best of luck to the both of us.
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I had an all-day panel interview. I'm proud of myself for just making it through, because I have been one big bundle of nerves for the past week, ever since I found out I'd be doing this. I made it through til the last hour without stuttering or floundering, and then the last part of the interview was with someone from upper-level management. I was more intimidated for this conversation, and at one point I started stuttering pretty badly. Ugh, I'm so embarrassed. I'm almost positive I'm not going to get the job, not so much because of that (though I'm sure that didn't help), but just because they don't think I'm the best fit for the position. But I do have another phone interview for the same position tomorrow morning, so it's not over yet.
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post #16 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 07:25 PM
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I have difficulty speaking over the phone without stammering and thinking coherently when I'm nervous. You seemed to be doing pretty good, you've even landed those interview opportunities! Congrats on your progress so far, keep it up. I am looking for employment too and you are a great inspiration
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post #17 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 03:33 PM
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Whenever people call you with unsolicited offers, pick up the phone and ask to be placed on a do not call list. I'm doing this to practice assertiveness and my telephone anxiety.
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post #18 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 07:55 PM
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This is me all of the time too! I cannot talk on the phone to people. If I have to hear them talk to me, I plug my ears and avoid the discussion all together, so I have people call for me. I don't know how to overcome a hurdle, except to take life by horns and go for it? Easier said than done. I say maybe, start doing 3 way calls with someone you know really well like your parents or close friends and family. I've had to do this at times. They ask me what they need to know if personal records like the bank or something. I always have people on 3 way calls. For jobs, it's going to be hard to have 3 way calls. I would say just let the interviewer do most of the talking, and make it short and sweet. I don't know if there's any other way around it. I'm sorry I suck. Like with Matt said, you've just got to do it my friend. Work at it and work through it! Good luck. We're all here for you.
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post #19 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 07:27 AM
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Oh my god! I know how you feel, because I feel exactly the same as you do! I hate making phone calls, or having to reply not knowing who is on the other end, especially if its an employer, my anxiety levels rise! I would prefer emailing rather than speaking on the phone. I even ended up not putting my phone number in my CV to force them to email me rather than phoning me :P I had to call an agency last week and I kept on delaying it till the next day, and the next day again, I think its because I am afraid of bothering people, or coming across as annoying, but sometimes its the only way, if you want to get a job..

Every time a number calls me that I don t know, I prefer not to reply and check it on google to see who it was, and sometimes its a sigh of relief not having answered their phone call lol.
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post #20 of 29 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 07:12 AM
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I've never had a phone interview but I don't think I'd be put off by it. My problem seems to come and go but mostly I hate making calls when I know others are listening. I used to work in accounts receivables and had to call people about money they owed and dreaded every phone call. Thank goodness I was promoted to another position eventually.

Good on you for doing what fear and working through that. Hope you get a job soon
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