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Readers Respond: How do you handle making phone calls?

Responses: 73

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Updated November 26, 2009

From the article: Phone Phobia
Some people with social anxiety disorder are afraid to make or receive telephone calls. People who have a "phone phobia" may experience symptoms such as a shaking voice, racing heart and shortness of breath when talking on the phone or trying to make calls. How do you handle making phone calls? Do you avoid the telephone or procrastinate about making calls? Share Your Experiences

Ruining my life!

I have a home business that requires calling as many people as possible a day. Although all my prospects have already ask for my info. I still have a hard time picking up the phone and dialing. I know the business well and everything is scripted for me to say and still I can't overcome the fear. Some of my clients are making 6 figures yr. and I'm happy for them, but this disease is killing me! HELP!
—Guest Rick

I've always had a phone problem

I started having this problem as a little girl, my family is hispanic and we have a lot of family members. Problem is my mother would make me pick up the phone, and I never knew who was on the other line and that freaked me out as a kid. Now at 20 I still can't make a phone call and put it off for months if I can.
—Guest Jelly

I will drop anything to answer my phone

My boyfriend has a major motorcycle accident 2 years ago, I found out by a nice person calling me to tell me he's going to hospital, when I found out about my grandmother being diagnosed with cancer it was over the phone lastly my granddad had suffered 4 heart attacks, each and every time I have been notified over the phone, So for quite a while now when my phone goes off, I enter a stage of panic, it feels like I'm having the type of panic attack I get when I feel claustrophobic, usually the people on the other end of the phone are not telling me bad news but its horrible being a slave to your phone, I have even dropped what I was doing at work to nswer my phone, on my shift! I would never think to do that, it was such bad workplace etiquette but Its like I'm in a blind panic and nothing can stop me worrying, I usually answer the phone to my boyfriend "what's wrong". Is there anything I can do????
—Guest nanahannah

It's my Pap's fault!

I was a young immigrant girl, whose father made her make phone calls at the age of 6 or 7, to find out things like, "Has the advertised car been sold yet?" He told me he was teaching me how to use the phone, but I think he passed his phobia of fearing to speak in broken English down to me, and it has manifested as a fear of calling strangers, like vendors, etc.
—Guest Dutch Girl

I cry on the phone

I had to make phone calls to request donations for my senior graduation project during school hours. I was put in a room by myself with a phone and was told to call and ask for the donations. Needless to say, I ended up on the floor in a full-scale panic attack. People don't care if you have anxiety. They force you to do things no matter what.
—Guest Tori

I guess I'm not really alone.

I hate initiating phone calls, and especially to family and anyone who tries to approach me to be a friend. I guess I alienate people and make them feel awkward because I hardly call and when I do, I don't have much to say. Most people don't understand and I feel weird trying to explain. At this moment I'm ashamed to admit that I've been stalling all day on calling to check on my father who had surgery a few days ago. When I finally get through it, I'm sweating bullets, but I feel like a weight has been lifted off my head...until the next time.
—Guest tea ali

so it's not just me

I used to spent 30 minutes to 1 hour to write what I have to say before I phone someone, I don't know that this is a syndrome, thought I was being too shy and afraid to say something wrong /stupid, especially when it has something to do with work. Today I'm so depressed that my first reaction is to kill my phone and stay at home. I hate people calling me to tell me what to do (mom and dad), ask me to finish my job earlier (clients), ask me what they have to do (workers) or ask stupid questions like how to do things (workers). I know it's not their fault to call me, but I really hate phone calls, esp from unknown numbers. It's worsened the past 2 years, and I keep blaming my stupid phone and changing them as an excuse. Sigh. Something wrong with me.
—Guest ester

Putting off.....

This phobia is debilitating. I've been putting off this phone call and now it's last minute and I'm just pacing back and forth because I am just too terrified. I can't make it to my tattoo appointment tomorrow and have to reschedule and I'm afraid of making a fool of myself or sounding like an idiot. Ugh. I need strength.
—Guest Tanya

atleast there are others

I sometimes need to make phone calls but I just cant seem to, I procrastinate thinking I can do it tomorrow, always tomorrow. When I was younger I had a really high pitched voice for a guy that people made fun of its funny because it's very deep now and I'm 6 foot 5 but I cant seem to get over my anxiety. I've had it crack far too many times during school presentations that I still get very stressed talking to strangers. I think it's kind of debilitating actually.. I grit my teeth every night and I can't even make an appointment for it. The thing is I'm far from lazy, I'm a professional Illustrator and I work all the time but I just get really bad anxiety.
—Guest caleb

My mom just doesn't understand.

Ok so I have actually been diagnosed with a processing disorder since I was just a little kid, so my mom actually knows and acknowledges that this disorder has caused me to develop a social disorder as well. Phone calls terrify me to the point I get really shaky and my hands get all sweaty. It actually almost cost me my graduation this year because the virtual school I had to do for a class required quizzes over the phone. I got it done but it was absolutely horrible. Now I'm in danger of not getting to go to college because I have to call to make a appointment for Orientation. My mom just keeps yelling at me and accusing me of not understanding how important this is and her yelling just makes me feel worse. Ugh. I do understand completely...I am just terrified to make the call and sound like an idiot or not know what to say thanks to my disorders.
—Guest Megan (18 years old)

Same here dude..same here

I have the exact same problem dude, funny thing that just happened. I wanted to change an appointment of mine but was really too scared to call the place up, due to the simple of reason of being afraid of sounding like an idiot. I had the phone in my hand (Touchscreen) and I was just pacing back and forth, and I accidentally touched the screen and the call started and I didn't even realize until the lady started speaking by then I had no choice but to talk to them...and it went alright! I guess you just have to force yourself to call people up when you need to and when all goes well it adds a little confidence or you just trick yourself into calling them..maybe?
—Guest elmarko

Mild anxiety?

I've never been diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder, (in fact nobody in my family knows about my anxiety), but I just had to make a call at work that I had put off for over a week and I experienced nearly every symptom described. I don't mind texting or emails, but when I get phone calls or make them, my heart races, I am short of breath and my voice is soft and shaky. I think part of it is not knowing who I'm actually talking to. It helps if I can put a face to the name, but even when u get calls from some people I know I'm anxious. Last week my other boss called me, who I consider a friend, and I was still very nervous. Perhaps it's time I see a doctor and get some answers.
—Guest Danny

Damn you Alexander Graham Bell

Good to know I'm not alone. Have no problem phoning my close family and friends, but outside of that sends my heart racing. I spend a long time trying to will myself to phone for a hair appointment for example, the bank, just any stranger. I think it's a fear of making a fool of myself, not knowing how to respond or what to say. I don't know how I'll cope when I start my new job in a small office, and have people listening to my conversation on the phone. I've had a job before where I've avoided making an important phone call for that very reason. I also can't answer the phone if its an unknown caller and let it go to voicemail.
—Guest E

You're not alone

I can't tell you how (oddly) good it feels to know that I am not alone. I had an experience when I was an adolescent where I had to speak over the loudspeaker at school. My voice shook and quivered. I was ridiculed by my classmates and from then on the same symptoms occurred when I read aloud or had to give an oral presentation (complete torture!). It turned into full blown social anxiety and I too cannot make a phone calls without fear my voice will shake due to my breathlessness from my heart racing. It is awful and debilitating and makes me feel weak/pathetic. I have begun seeing a therapist who feels that my issues stem from my low self esteem. I don't give myself credit for many things and beat myself up when I feel I've somehow made a fool of myself. Luckily, I can make certain low pressure phone calls, like calling for a pizza, but I do have my husband make the more involved calls for the family. I'm hoping therapy helps. Good luck to all of you who suffer as I do.
—Guest frustrated

Nice to know there are others

I have terrible social anxiety - can't go out in public without feeling sick. In some ways, speaking on the phone is worse then face-to-face. Neither party has the flexibility to express themselves through body language. I've just made a phone call after weeks of delaying, and my hands are still shaking.
—Guest Kimmie

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