9 Steps to Get Over Your Phone Anxiety

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Have you ever heard a cell phone ringing in a crowded or congested room, and you felt something uncomfortable down in the pit of your stomach?  You were praying that it wasn’t your cell phone that was ringing… and once you realized it wasn’t your phone, you were instantly relieved.

What about those times when it was your cell phone ringing?  Not only did you have that discomfort in your stomach, but you also found yourself staring the phone, trying to decide if you wanted to answer it or not. 

As someone who has battled phone anxiety in the past, I have been there. And if this is you, you may be dealing with some phone anxiety as well?  

In this article, we will discuss what phone anxiety it and look at 9 steps to help you get over it… hopefully for good. We believe this will significantly help you and relieve some pressure when you hear the phone ringing.

What is Phone Anxiety?

Phone anxiety, also known as telephonophobia, is the reluctance or fear of making or taking a phone call. Telephonophobia literally means ‘fear of telephones.'  Physiologists consider it to be a condition or type of social anxiety disorder.

People who suffer from phone anxiety try to avoid phone calls at all costs. The reasoning behind it is that the person performing the action of taking or receiving phone calls essentially dreads making a mistake on the phone, freezing up, being criticized and ridiculed, or being able to perform on the phone in front of an audience.  Therefore, phone anxiety is considered a type of performance anxiety as well.

Lastly, people with phone anxiety often feel shame, guilt, and great sadness over their inability to talk on the phone, something others do very naturally. This leads to a decrease in self-esteem.

Symptoms and Signs of Phone Anxiety

Phone anxiety may be a symptom of one of many psychological disorders – be it personality disorders, mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders and performance disorders.

Social signs you may be dealing with phone anxiety include:

  • Avoid jobs or careers requiring speaking on the phone, whether making calls or answering them.
  • You avoid calling family members or friends for fear that it will ruin your relationships.
  • You prefer text messages and emails over making phone calls to communicate with someone.
  • You don't do business with establishments without email support or live chat.
  • You avoid other social situations that cause you to fear, suffer embarrassment, and other irrational anxiety.
  • You don’t want to be a bother by calling someone on the phone.

Physical signs of phone anxiety include:

  • Your heart rate increases
  • You feel nauseous
  • You shake nervously
  • You have trouble concentrating

Other practical ways to notice whether you are dealing with a fear of the phone or phone anxiety are:

  • Calling phone numbers, you believe no one will answer, and you will get a recorded message instead.
  • Only calling friends or family members, you know well.
  • Calling businesses or people you don't know and asking simple questions.  Such as closing times or something requiring a one-word answer.  These questions lack little to no interaction from you.
  • You avoid making phone calls in front of others.

It is important to find ways to overcome phone anxiety because it can hinder you from the best career opportunities and lifelong friendships or relationships. You would hate to miss out on your dream job or meeting the man or woman of your dreams because of a fear of talking on the phone.

We are hopeful that the following steps will help you to get over your phone anxiety and encourage.

9 Steps to Get Over Your Phone Anxiety

1. Participate in Cognitive behavior therapy or CBT.

These therapies are self-help strategies or restructurings that involve you challenging your negative beliefs and replacing those thoughts with more positive, constructive thought patterns.

2. Exposure Therapy

Taking the first step a bit farther, you may want to suffer through making phone calls.  The more phone calls you make, the less daunting of a task it becomes. If you are concerned about being a bother to someone on the phone, replace that line of thinking with, “Why would they answer the phone if they were busy, or it would be a bother to them?” 

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Phone anxiety, also known as telephonophobia, is the reluctance or fear of making or taking a phone call.

Moreover, if you are concerned about making a mistake on the phone, such as stumbling on your words, you can put things into context before making a call. Think to yourself, you're not the only person that this person will talk to on the phone today.  More than likely, they will hear others verbally messing up as well. Furthermore, what you consider a phone mistake, the other person may not even notice it.

3. Focus on the reason for the call.

Rather than focusing on what can go wrong during a phone call, focus on what you desire to accomplish on the call. In addition, you want to think about things that will make the phone call more productive. 

Think about what you are trying to gain from them. Furthermore, you want to plan how you will communicate your needs to the other person or any needs the person on the other end of the phone may have.

Write these things down and focus on the purpose of the call rather than what you will say or how your phone call will be received.

4. Accept the fact that things do go wrong on phone calls.

Not to be negative but come to terms with knowing that you will mess up on a call. You have to realize that it is ok to make mistakes and not beat yourself up over them. This step will help you greatly when dealing with phone anxiety.  We all make them, no matter how good we are on the phone. 

We all get tongue-tied, stutter, lose our train of thought, sound like an idiot (especially to ourselves), and even get rejected. Once you address your fears of failure and what could go wrong, the sooner you can shift your train of thought to work at getting better at those things without being overly anxious.

5. Create scripts for phone calls at work and rehearse them.

Some employers have phone scripts for their employees. Still, if not, you may want to write down a script to follow when making outbound calls to help you overcome your phone anxiety. First, you will want to write an introduction (not too long).  

Then, write down any questions you would like to ask the other person on the phone.  Furthermore, you will need to write down how you will solve the person's problem or help them find a solution. Lastly, write down a conclusion or how you wish to wrap up the call, either by thanking the person and ending the call or scheduling a meeting.

Keep your tone of voice conversational with the person so that you do not sound scripted. You may even want to practice your call with a co-worker or friend. Recording yourself on the phone while having conversations can also be a valuable tool to help you get better on the phone and overcome phone anxiety.

6. Get to know more about the person you are calling.

Be curious about the person you are talking with, whether at work or you are starting a relationship with someone personally. Usually, one of the easiest things to do is to get someone to talk about themselves.  So, first, get to know the person on the other line. 

Then, rather than focusing on your own phone anxiety, use your calls as a fishing expedition to get to know the other person. Ask them about their day or to describe certain things about themselves. It will put you at ease in the conversation, and it will progress more naturally. In addition, it will help you create a new relationship when they see your vested interest in them.

7. Focus on what you stand to gain by overcoming phone anxiety.

Just think, overcoming phone anxiety will open up many great avenues in your life, from new career opportunities or excelling in your current one. In addition, it will give the person on the other end of the phone a chance to get to know the real you (if they don't already). And see what an outstanding, honest, caring, and trustworthy person you are.

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People with phone anxiety often feel shame, guilt, and great sadness over their inability to talk on the phone, something others do very naturally.

In addition, overcoming phone anxiety will significantly improve your relationships with clients at work and with your friends and family. Can you imagine how encouraging you can be to someone by calling them on the phone and checking on their well-being? 

8. Pick up the phone when it rings.

When you see the phone ringing, don't avoid it; pick it up. Make the determination in your mind that you will answer every call. Even if the calls are from people, you don't usually want to hear from or feel awkward talking to. 

If you don't know what to say, that is ok too, they called you. Let them carry the conversation. Just be open to answering every call and having a conversation without focusing on how you feel you sound to them.

9. Be transparent about your phone anxiety.

Discuss your anxieties and ways of thinking concerning social interaction over the phone with trusted individuals in your life, such as family members, friends, co-workers, or a boss. 

It wouldn't hurt to seek a licensed professional for help with your phone anxiety as well.  Although, the first step is to admit to yourself that there is a problem, all of these people in your life can play a part in helping you overcome the anxieties of being on the phone.

Final Thoughts on 9 Steps to Get over Your Phone Anxiety

Know this: what you are experiencing is perfectly normal… many of us have some form of phone anxiety. But just because it’s normal to have these feelings does not mean they can’t still have serious implications on your life. Things like missed opportunities and added stress don’t have to be the norm for you.

This does not have to be something that holds you back or haunts you for the rest of your life. With each step you take to overcome your phone anxiety, you will find you're less and less stressed about a phone call – whether you are making or receiving one.  It will come in time.

In fact, you may start to see your phone in a whole new light… as a valuable tool to accomplish tasks and open lines of communication that could lead to more doors being opened for you. The more you use the tool, the more comfortable you become. 

For more content on overcoming or dealing with anxieties, especially on the job, see prayers to overcome stress at work.

Finally, if you want a simple way to reduce your stress and anxiety, then try writing these 35 mindfulness journaling prompts to live more in the present moment.

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