People Who Suffer From Phone Anxiety Share Their Tips To Handling It
Courtney Clayton/Unsplash

Anxiety often stems from lack of experience in something, and in a world where I can text, use a messenger app, send a chat, etc. there just isn't as much need to make phone calls as there once was.

Which means a whole lot of us turn into flaming dumpster fires when we can't avoid it.


Note, I said "us" - I'm right here with you, fam. Yes the phone call is easier and often cheaper than downloading the app, paying a processing fee and a delivery fee, and then tipping the driver - but is paying an extra $7 for pizza really SO bad?

Yes. The answer is yes. Over time that adds up and that means I have less money, which means less pizza!

Reddit user mildmusings asked:

"Have you experienced phone anxiety, where you get extremely nervous and embarrassed when answering/making a phone call, even when its something as simple as ordering a pizza? If so, how do you deal with it?"

Reddit, as always, came through with some helpful and not so helpful advice.

My major takeaway from all of this is that pizza is the main motivator for LOTS of people to get past this. That makes me feel so much better about myself.

Hesitation Makes It Weird

music video phone GIFGiphy

"100%. I just have to pick up the phone and call."

"The longer I think about it directly corresponds to how much weird sh*t comes out of my mouth. By just calling or just answering with no thought about it I’m able to be myself at the least."

- On_theMind

"Yes! And when someone calls just pick up right away."

"It's tempting to mute it and say you'll call back later but the anxiety will just grow. Just answer the phone and get it over with, before you start constructing a weird script in your head."

- nattykat47

"Same. It’s always the anticipation, allowing myself to think of everything that could go wrong, making up scenarios in my head, that makes it difficult."

"Just need to pick up, dial, be relaxed and take it as it comes."

"I try to tell myself that there’s absolutely no need to be prepared for every eventuality or to rehearse responses to every possible question, but I always work myself up anyway."

- ManInTheMudhills

Pizza Is The Answer

I Love You Reaction GIFGiphy

"I went the exposure therapy route and took a job answering phones at a pizza place."

"Once I realized I was kinda playing a character (pizza phone guy) and could hide behind that I was fine and that spilled over to other calls."

- bread-in-captivity

"Same for me!"

"Super introverted 16 year old me eventually got over answering calls by working in the pizza shop and taking calls. Still hate making calls to people that aren't expecting me though."

- LunaGuardian

"I was made by my parents to order some pizza to collect, but I was talking too quickly that one of the pizzas was the totally wrong one, so my mom needed to wait for the right pizza."

"Maybe try talking to strangers more often. Because most of the time isn't it the phone call itself that is scary, but knowing that you are talking to someone you dont know."

- FeriaStar

Scripting Success

Laverne Cox Abc GIF by EmmysGiphy

"Oh my dude - I got you. LET ME TELL YOU A THING."

"I will literally write down a short script. I'll have my phone number, my address if needed, DOB stuff for me and my kids, health care numbers... all that stuff written down or close to hand."

"I'll have notes, questions I need to ask, etc. If I'm particularly upset about something I'll even write down my greeting and key phrases. I'll rehearse if I need to."

"I have been doing this since I was a kid. My mum made fun of me for it once (I had to call in to a radio station to post an ad and I even wrote down my "ums" because I was so nervous about how to sound) and I thought for yeeeears that I was just dumb and the LAMEST."

"Fast forward to age 36."

"I have debilitating anxiety, ADD, genuine auditory processing issues, and possible ASD."

"I don't f*cking worry about whether it's lame anymore - scripting is literally a tool for people with my issues, I've had counselors recommend it many times."

"Turns out little kid me was a smart cookie. Wish I could tell her that."

- MagpieMandible

Practice

Practice Makes Perfect GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonGiphy

"Yes. Then I worked as a receptionist for two years where I wore a permanent headset due to the volume of calls. No more fear of phones."

"If it helps, rehearse what you want to say before hand."

"If you're ordering food, have the menu at hand. If it's a billing issue or you're calling the bank (or anything related), have your ID at hand and any membership number or account number (whichever applies)."

"This way you avoid scrambling to get your info."

"Always have a pen and paper ready - ALWAYS. If you are taking down an email address, don't be shy to use the Nato phonetic alphabet. ("So that's A for alpha, R for romeo, full stop, zero, @gmail.com. Is that correct?") Then read it back to them. In my reception days, I literally printed this out and read from it when spelling a name or email address."

"Start the call with who you are and why you're calling. For example: 'Hi, my name is x and I would like to order a pizza.' "

" 'Hi, my name is X and I need assistance with my billing for January. Could you help me or transfer me to the correct department?' "

"And end your call with 'Thanks for your help, keep well. Goodbye.' "

"I always address people as sir/ma'am unless they correct me or tell me to call them by name. Don't be shy to ask 'I'm sorry, could you please repeat/confirm your name?' "

"The only way you get over this fear is with practice."

- dead_PROcrastinator

Trauma Time

Parks And Recreation Thumbs Up GIFGiphy

"Went to therapy."

"After a few weeks, I realized my phone anxiety was a convoluted leftover from PTSD from something seemingly unrelated as a teen. Cured almost literally overnight."

"Truly bizarre how I went from feeling like I was made of lead and unable to do anything except wait in dread if I needed to make/was expecting a phone call to saying on multiple occasions, 'Oh I'll just call, it's easier [than texting/emailing].' "

- OhSoManyQuestions

Do The Thing

Do It Love GIF by TV OneGiphy

"Stop giving a sh*t what people think of you and just do the thing."

"People in customer service deal with idiots all day long, they don't care if you stumble your words or don't know what you're doing as long as they can get you through the transaction."

"I have the same problem as the person posting this and this was how I decided to approach it. I work through the nerves and get it done even if I don't want to make the call."

"There's no brilliant 100 point solution for this, you simply bite the bullet knowing the person on the other end of the phone has heard worse and wants to get this over with just as much as you do."

- SquilliamFancySon95

"That's right."

"I've said the dumbest sh*t to customer service people and still got the help i needed. Just stay friendly is all it takes."

- _BEER_

Avoid Whenever Possible

Nene Leakes Reaction GIFGiphy

"I didn't realize I had phone anxiety until I got my first call center job and was a wreck before every single shift."

"I never had a problem talking on the phone every day in high school with friends, girlfriends, etc... but as soon as I get on the phone with a stranger that has expectations for me (and is probably already irritated), my stress levels spike."

"My theory is that it stems from the depersonalization of not being able to see a real human; it's just two voices on the phone."

"You have no body language to use, and any period of silence you might use to gather your words feels incredibly awkward, so you feel pressured to respond to everything really quickly."

"Because of that call center job I never got over the phone anxiety. I don't even like talking with friends on the phone anymore."

"I don't have a strategy, I just try to avoid talking on the phone whenever possible. When I have to, I just grit my teeth and bear through it."

- halloweenjon

Move Out, Call A Doctor

moving GIFGiphy

"Yeah, I refused to make phone calls when I was in high school because it was seriously nerve-wracking."

"Like, if I had to book a doctor's appointment, I would simply not see the doctor at all because I didn't want to make the phone call. Ordering a pizza would be out of the question."

"Once I moved out of home, I got a bit better at it - especially since stuff happened and I was constantly having to book doctors/specialists/tests over the phone."

"I still don't like doing it, but after a few years of practice, I can answer the phone and make necessary phone calls without having panic attacks or anything."

"There are some strategies to help (e.g. writing down any relevant information and having pen/paper in front of you). In saying that, if it's affecting you (especially if it's paired with something else like social anxiety or general anxiety), it's worth talking to a doctor about."

- notthinkinghard

Nobody Cares

jim nobody cares GIFGiphy

"Heck yeah! I used to pathologically avoid making calls to check on things, to order stuff, to pay bills, and ESPECIALLY to ask questions / get support from a company."

"I got over it by realizing that there's nothing WRONG with calling and asking. And, that not only do they not care who I am (past whatever they have to do right now), they'll forget about me as soon as they hang up, possibly earlier."

"If I'm calling to get something fixed, it's their JOB to answer that call and take care of it. They expect to do their job, they're getting paid for it. And in an 8 hour day, I'm just another random person they won't remember."

"I got over it by realizing it didn't matter to the people I was talking to that I was talking to. That random people calling me are not sincerely looking for a relationship, they're doing a job they're getting paid to do, and I owe them nothing."

"And after I say 'no thanks not interested' and hang up on them while they're trying to take advantage of social custom and politeness, they'll forget and move right on to the next one. Not even a blip in their day."

"There's something called the spotlight effect, where we think everyone is watching us and judging us. The reality is, most people don't care, so you can drop the niceties in these transactional conversations."

- Deliberate_Engineer

The Assistant

season 3 episode 6 GIFGiphy

"The best technique I found was to act as if you're an assistant making the call on your boss's behalf."

"Nobody is very mean to an assistant (except true a**holes and they would have been awful anyway.) And it's so much easier to make 'unpleasant' requests or be clueless if you're passing the buck."

"I learned this by being an assistant and having a terrible boss who made me make all sorts of awkward phone calls, lol."

- ObjectSmall

Readers, if you have phone anxiety what methods have you used to get past it?

Does it actually impact your life that much in the world of apps, chats, and messengers?

Sound off in the comments.

Want to "know" more?

Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

Never miss another big, odd, funny or heartbreaking moment again.

People Confess Which Things They'd Like To Tell Their Partner Without Upsetting Them
Adi Goldstein/Unsplash

The key to any successful relationship is communication.

The ability to be open and receptive to what a significant other has to say, as well as the ability to be able to convey something weighing on one's mind, can be healing.

But depending on the circumstance, some things are better left unsaid.

Keep reading...Show less
black sheep looking through fence
Jose Francisco Morales on Unsplash

Every family has a black sheep or every family in its entirety are black sheep.

What is a "black sheep" anyway?

It used to mean a person who brought shame or embarrassment to a family, but it's more often used now to mean the member who is just very different from everyone else—sometimes in a good way.

Keep reading...Show less
small white dog running
Joe Caione on Unsplash

Sex is great, but there are more ways than one to accomplish that euphoric feeling without sex.

There are so many small, ordinary aspects of life that can just send a person and we come across them daily.

A good steak.

A home repair.

The things that make you say...

"I tingle all over."

Keep reading...Show less
black and white cat with mouth open looking at computer tablet
Kanashi on Unsplash

People need to stop throwing out unwanted advice.

And when it is requested, think before you speak.

People with mental disorders don't need everyone telling them they have a fix like "exercise" or "herbal supplements."

Keep reading...Show less