Dealing with a phone call is a mundane activity that most of us do daily. However, it can be a gut-wrenching activity for people who suffer from phone call anxiety.
Phone call anxiety is also known as telephobia, and it is a common fear, especially in people who experience social anxiety. Dr. Steve Mazza, a Columbia University, clinical psychologist noted that telephobia arises from the fear of social interactions. Answering a phone call seems rather easy for most people, so why do some have phone call anxiety?
Scientists believe that people who have telephobia find it overwhelming to communicate, especially when there are no visual cues to guide social interaction. Dr. Mazza noted that people with phone call anxiety tend to feel self-conscious about their choice of words or even the sound of their voice. Fortunately, phone calls are not mandatory, and there are alternative methods of communicating, such as texting.
Individuals that have phone call anxiety often prefer texting because it allows them to be casual and to carefully select their words without the pressure associated with a conversation. Scientists also found that phone call anxiety may also be associated with the subject’s concerns of what the other person thinks of them. It may also have something to do with fear of saying the wrong thing and making the conversation awkward.
How to overcome or manage phone call anxiety
Although avoiding phone calls is usually the most common course of action for people with telephobia, they eventually have to pick up the phone, especially if it is important such as work-related calls. Here are some steps that may help overcome this fear.
- Breathe in deeply and exhale just before receiving a call to clear your mind and relieve the tension.
- Prepare in advance if you are expecting an important call. You can prepare a script containing things you are comfortable talking about. This approach will help you steer the conversation.
- Rehearse your points or opinions out loud if you want to say anything.
- Try to think about the conversation point rather than your concerns about what the other person is thinking.
Practice is the best way to become good at something, and this also applies to people with phone call anxiety.