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Old 06-06-2008  
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Default Phone anxiety :-(

I get really bad anxiety when it comes to talking on the phone with people I don't know.

For example, I just moved to another state and I've been looking for a new job. I applied to a few places online and yesterday I started getting phone calls for interviews. I obviously didn't answer my phone when I received the calls, I pretty much just stared at the caller ID until it stopped ringing and then listened to my voice mail. I haven't returned any calls yet because of my anxiety, my boyfriend is upset with me because he feels as though I'm potentially blowing off job opportunities. I tried to explain myself with him, but he just doesn't get it. I'm always afraid that I'll sound really nervous on the phone or that I'll say something stupid. I usually write down some points I want to make on a piece of paper before I make a phone call but that doesn't seem to lessen my anxiety. Business or professional calls are usually the only ones I have issues with. When it comes to talking to my friends on the phone, I could talk all day.

I was about to call one place back and I got a really bad tight feeling in my chest. I wish I could get over this. I know I'll call back, but I have to mentally 'gear' myself up before I make the call. I know it's one of those things in life you just have to do, but I hate the feelings I get when I have to do a simple thing like make a phone call. I'm jealous of people who have no problem talking on the phone with people they don't know.

Does anyone else have this problem? Any kind words of advice?
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Old 06-06-2008  
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Default Re: Phone anxiety :-(

Quote:
Originally Posted by soveryshy
I get really bad anxiety when it comes to talking on the phone with people I don't know.

For example, I just moved to another state and I've been looking for a new job. I applied to a few places online and yesterday I started getting phone calls for interviews. I obviously didn't answer my phone when I received the calls, I pretty much just stared at the caller ID until it stopped ringing and then listened to my voice mail. I haven't returned any calls yet because of my anxiety, my boyfriend is upset with me because he feels as though I'm potentially blowing off job opportunities. I tried to explain myself with him, but he just doesn't get it. I'm always afraid that I'll sound really nervous on the phone or that I'll say something stupid. I usually write down some points I want to make on a piece of paper before I make a phone call but that doesn't seem to lessen my anxiety. Business or professional calls are usually the only ones I have issues with. When it comes to talking to my friends on the phone, I could talk all day.

I was about to call one place back and I got a really bad tight feeling in my chest. I wish I could get over this. I know I'll call back, but I have to mentally 'gear' myself up before I make the call. I know it's one of those things in life you just have to do, but I hate the feelings I get when I have to do a simple thing like make a phone call. I'm jealous of people who have no problem talking on the phone with people they don't know.

Does anyone else have this problem? Any kind words of advice?
I can relate. I do the same thing, if I get interested in a job opportunity and talk myself into calling or applying online, when they call back I find it really hard to pick up the phone. I'll usually wait for the machine to pick up so I can hear the message and think about whether I want to call back later. I usually just put if off to the point where they stop calling. It's frustrating isn't it? Sometimes if I do get caught in a phone conversation I don't want to be in I just freeze up, and stutter when I speak and feel like I sound stupid, I get really tense and pace the whole conversation. I've been trying to understand why I feel this way for a long time but I guess a lot of people feel this way. Maybe it's just the anxiety of not knowing what to say, and being forced in to conversation. I don't know really. The same thing happens when old friends call, or someone new. Don't feel too bad about it, I know exactly how you feel. I wish I could give more advice but I do the same thing. I am trying to overcome this myself.
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Old 06-06-2008  
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Plan and rehearse. Have your boyfriend pretend to be the other person, or just practice what you will say. Do anything you can to relax beforehand. Phones were an evil invention. But don't let it mess up your chances of getting a job.
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Old 06-08-2008  
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I struggle with this problem. One thing that helped me: My therapist would have me make calls during our sessions. For instance, she would have me call 411 to get a number to some random business, and then I would call the place and ask for directions or some such thing. It was easier to do with my therapist there, and also the fact that I was just making practice calls that I didn't really need to make, made it easier. I still procrastinate about making phone calls, but at least I usually answer now when people call me.
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Old 06-12-2008  
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The scary thing about talking on the telephone for me is not knowing what the other person's attitude is towards me. If I meet someone face to face, sure its still uncomfortable but at least I can read the situation a little better. On the phone, all I hear is their voice and I'm totally lost at how to say and act. Gee, you think socializing would be so much easier on the phone but its not!

Masquerade, Paper faces on parade.
Masquerade, hide your face so the world can never find you. -The Phantom of the Opera
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Old 06-12-2008  
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Default phone anxiety

The only people i can talk on the phone with is like my sister, mom and best firend. Sometimes other people in my family but they have to call me i cant call them. I so know how your feeling. I thought i was the only one. Ive had this forever and no one understands me. They just keep trying to force me to use the phone and i just cant do it. Like my mom she calls colleges for me and talks to the people becuase i just cant do it. So i just wanted to tell you i know how you feel.
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Old 06-12-2008  
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Talking to someone i don't know on the phone causes a lot of anxiety for me also.

"When it is obvious the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps'" Confucius
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Old 06-29-2008  
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WOW! I thought I was the only one with this problem. I've had this phone problem since I was like 8. I hated talking on the phone in front of people and having a one on one convo on the phone. I have'nt advice for you because I stuggle with it too! I am looking fo a job and i will be dreading the interview/phone call.

bashfulness; loves darkness as life and cannot endure the light... He dare not come in company for fear he should be misused, disgraced, overshoot himself in gesture or speeches, or be sick; he thinks every man observes him'.
-Hippocrates
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Old 06-29-2008  
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Default Voice chats

I have been working on voice chats the first half of this year and I can difinately notice an improvement. I still have sever problem if I know there is someone in the room or if I think some one near by can her me.

Every one should try the voice chat feature on your instant messenger program. Find a contack on your list that willing to do it.

Look at it this way they you will know that the person on the other side of your voice chat will be just as nervous as you are.
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Old 06-30-2008  
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Default Re: Phone anxiety :-(

Quote:
Originally Posted by soveryshy
I get really bad anxiety when it comes to talking on the phone with people I don't know.

For example, I just moved to another state and I've been looking for a new job. I applied to a few places online and yesterday I started getting phone calls for interviews. I obviously didn't answer my phone when I received the calls, I pretty much just stared at the caller ID until it stopped ringing and then listened to my voice mail. I haven't returned any calls yet because of my anxiety, my boyfriend is upset with me because he feels as though I'm potentially blowing off job opportunities. I tried to explain myself with him, but he just doesn't get it. I'm always afraid that I'll sound really nervous on the phone or that I'll say something stupid. I usually write down some points I want to make on a piece of paper before I make a phone call but that doesn't seem to lessen my anxiety. Business or professional calls are usually the only ones I have issues with. When it comes to talking to my friends on the phone, I could talk all day.

I was about to call one place back and I got a really bad tight feeling in my chest. I wish I could get over this. I know I'll call back, but I have to mentally 'gear' myself up before I make the call. I know it's one of those things in life you just have to do, but I hate the feelings I get when I have to do a simple thing like make a phone call. I'm jealous of people who have no problem talking on the phone with people they don't know.

Does anyone else have this problem? Any kind words of advice?
This may be a really small piece of advice, but here's what I do when I am talking with someone (in person or on the phone). I try to think about what the other person is feeling rather than focusing on myself so much. I try to pick up cues in their voices that could tell me what kind of day they are having, if they're in a good or bad mood, etc. I find that if I try to be empathetic to someone else, I don't focus on my own anxieties quite as much. There are also some websites that I occasionally visit that help me with self-talk. One in particular (www.goodtherapy.org) has some therapists who specialize in treating anxiety disorders. So, I often check and see if they've written something new. Anyhoo, I'll go for now. Good luck to ya!!
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Old 07-25-2008  
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I too suffer from this problem. While I have no problem doing voice chats over the computer, I have issues with answering or making calls on my phone unless it is my mum or my boyfriend (caller ID is so very useful to me). I too usually let the call go to voice mail if the caller is someone that is not recognized.

I'll never forget the day it took me almost three hours to convince myself to finally call for a pizza delivery, even with my boyfriend's help. 8O

Making notes before you make the call is a great start. Having someone there to be with you while you make the call (if possible) can also be helpful. At the very least, it's nice to know that other people are finding talking on the phone is as scary for them as it is for me. Makes you not feel so alone, hm?
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Old 09-05-2008  
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i avoid talking on the phone as much as i can....i don't even feel comfortable to talking to a friend over the phone...this has also made it difficult for me when it comes to getting a job
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Old 09-05-2008  
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I completely sympathize with you. I hate speaking to people on the phone. I have no social skills to begin with and speaking on the phone just makes it worse. At least speaking with someone face-to-face I can read their facial expressions, on the phone I am just left with speculation for days on end. I still obsess over face-to-face encounters, but it's worse over the phone. I can't even order pizza, and I don't even like talking to my friends on the phone.
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Old 09-06-2008  
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Sometimes when my phone rings and I don't recognize the number, I consider answering...and then my heart starts beating all fast and I decide against it and then have to calm myself back down. I, too, stare at my caller ID until it goes to voicemail. I even feel nervous just listening to my voice mail...I don't know why.
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Old 01-29-2010  
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Default Re: Phone anxiety :-(

Have you ever tried taking beta-blockers? These pills are for situations where people get stage freight and musicians are known to take them. Beta blockers block the receptors for the physical effects of a person's natural fight or flight response. They are not sedatives, and they can't help anxiety of a purely psychological nature, though...
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Old 01-29-2010  
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Default Re: Phone anxiety :-(

Practice helps... I'm not as bad as I used to be. I write down everything I need to say beforehand. I called tech support yesterday, something I considered impossible several years ago. But, I still haven't returned somebody's call... stalling on that. I know they consider me an ungrateful ****.

Last edited by illuminationSP; 01-29-2010 at 10:15 PM..
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Old 02-03-2013  
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Default Re: Phone anxiety :-(

Hey everyone! Just saw this post on Google and thought I could help. I to have terrible phone anxiety, but I own a small business and was forced to get over it in order to survive. Here are some pointers:

-Write yourself a script (but be flexible as phone calls are dynamic)
- Also as someone said in this thread, you can also just write pointers on paper
-If that doesn't work, you can also throw yourself in a conversation. By this i mean don't think about it, grab the phone, dial the numbers without thinking and stick the phone on your ear (a sort of trial by fire mechanism). This one works for me
-Design yourself an introduction line that you start all calls with (if you're making the calls, not answering them)
- I do (because I have a business). "My name is ____________ I'm calling in regards to __________, can you check/update/notify/look-up that for me?"
- Of course you need to be flexible in this too, your phone call might not have anything to do with your specific opener. In this case, have a phew openers!

-Lastly, phone anxiety in general is, in my opinion, a behavioral response to our anxiety. Behavior, like the way it's learned through repetition, can be unlearned through understanding it, and beating it. Don't let your anxiety own you or any part in your successful lives. You have the power within you to beat your anxiety and better yourselves. I wish you all the luck in the world! Also, learn more about anxiety; buy a book, read articles online, there are endless sources!

Cheers

-S
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Old 02-03-2013  
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Default Phone anxiety :-(

This has deeply affected my life since having to rely on recruiters for employment

There is far more info in a callerID than the jumped-up judgemental burbling language, or various different hardware used by anyone. Most calls have anonymous ID. My moods differ between answer / reject depending on previous interchanges

It's rarely just one call. Any chess game of call, answer / refuse, an immediate call on the other line reveals if I'm at home with the cellfone. The worst issue is about asking my name and 'hello?' and 'can you hear me?' 'Who is that?', as if I was in a busy office or surrounded by children, when it's entirely me. I suffer from bad experiences of callers, if they always get untrustworthy people. Not my fault.

OK. I have improved a bit with years of practice, but no call is just the same

I'm more comfortable with a few emails, maintaining history and subject, to comprise a conversation, or a ping

I label phone calls as instigating a privacy intrusion for their own gain
They hide behind their imaginary invisible shield of their own defence, which can be primarily to hang up or turn silent to wait for the other to hang up, causing them a self loss of opportunity, triggering anxiety and therefore acting at the outset. My usual crutch is to behave more pleasant and regard the telly fone as magic and trustworthy. I'd say that installing a positive mood can help, as I wait for countless callers all day long.
A bit of punchbag exercise in an empty boxing ring, until the hordes work their way through the ropes

Speculation and scrutiny of recruiters has become part of my nature in reverse.

Instant messaging has a place, as long as there is a full keyboard, and the speed of it can show mistakes which you can't correct once you submit. Emotion can subtly show.

I have personal notes on how to react to difficult calls, but I never have these to hand! The repeating electronic screech of the loud desk phone throws me sideways mentally to begin with, relying on a careful ID check, but sometime I forget, as the screech feels like a punch in my face, most times, having to be ready for any demand for my attention.

My speech & language therapist got me to practice a phone call to her own receptionist from our small interview room, with the task to be friendly but cut her off at a preferred point. I did it, timely. This was to address my own personal weakness of talking too long, off-topic

Always the 'call me back' impromtu

Last edited by mikebird; 02-03-2013 at 04:49 PM..
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Old 02-03-2013  
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Default Re: Phone anxiety :-(

Quote:
Originally Posted by soveryshy View Post
I get really bad anxiety when it comes to talking on the phone with people I don't know.

For example, I just moved to another state and I've been looking for a new job. I applied to a few places online and yesterday I started getting phone calls for interviews. I obviously didn't answer my phone when I received the calls, I pretty much just stared at the caller ID until it stopped ringing and then listened to my voice mail. I haven't returned any calls yet because of my anxiety, my boyfriend is upset with me because he feels as though I'm potentially blowing off job opportunities. I tried to explain myself with him, but he just doesn't get it. I'm always afraid that I'll sound really nervous on the phone or that I'll say something stupid. I usually write down some points I want to make on a piece of paper before I make a phone call but that doesn't seem to lessen my anxiety. Business or professional calls are usually the only ones I have issues with. When it comes to talking to my friends on the phone, I could talk all day.

I was about to call one place back and I got a really bad tight feeling in my chest. I wish I could get over this. I know I'll call back, but I have to mentally 'gear' myself up before I make the call. I know it's one of those things in life you just have to do, but I hate the feelings I get when I have to do a simple thing like make a phone call. I'm jealous of people who have no problem talking on the phone with people they don't know.

Does anyone else have this problem? Any kind words of advice?
Oh, God. Tell me about it. I usually write down what i'm going to say before hand.

I was in enough to get along with people. I was never socially inarticulate. Not a loner. And that saved my life, saved my sanity. That and the writing. But to this day I distrust anybody who thought school was a good time. Anybody.

Stephen King
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Old 02-03-2013  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by impuls3 View Post
-Write yourself a script (but be flexible as phone calls are dynamic)
...
-Design yourself an introduction line that you start all calls with (if you're making the calls, not answering them)
- I do (because I have a business). "My name is ____________ I'm calling in regards to __________, can you check/update/notify/look-up that for me?"
- Of course you need to be flexible in this too, your phone call might not have anything to do with your specific opener. In this case, have a phew openers!
I also have bad phone anxiety, not just with strangers but also with relatives and some friends. Several years ago when I was job hunting, my phone anxiety was bad so I decided to write myself a script that goes like this:
"Hello, my name is ____________ I'm calling about __________..."

I remember the first time I use the script, it was a total utter disaster. I called a company and a woman picked up the phone. I started reading off from the script. I was speaking a bit fast, but clearly and coherently. Then she interrupted me and asked, "Are you reading from a script?" At that moment, I was so embarassed. She "saw" right through me. I was silent. She told me that I called the wrong # because I somehow called the corporate HQ #. I was supposed to call the individual stores. She then wished me good luck on my job search and was really nice throughout the call.

During a class presentation, I also read off a script which made my presentation looked very unnatural. I wish I had better impromptu speaking skills but I don't so I read off scripts. Without a script, I screw up more. Just last week, I Skyped with another person and I was a nervous wreck. I had no script prepared, maybe an outline but that's it. During the conversation, I spoke in awkwardly phrased sentences, paused a lot, and asked weird questions. The introductions went ok but after that, it sort of went downhill. But after the covnersation, the guy emailed me saying we had a great chat and I was surprised because I thought I screwed up.
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