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Readers Respond: How do you handle making phone calls?

Responses: 47


Updated November 26, 2009

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?

Glad I'm not alone

I can relate to all of you i swear this is so frustrating, that i can't manage to do such a basic thing without freaking out. The only people i can call without panicking are my parents and sometimes just one of my bestfriends. I get anxious whenever sb texts me saying they wanna chat over the phone or sth, i honestly feel shocked at how many friends i have who actually like talking to me, i don't understand why, i'm basically shit, i never say anything useful and i'm always afraid that i'm going to mess up the image that they have of me, and that they'd realize how annoying and awkward and stupid i am, it's not that i don't freak out in real life conversation, i do, a lot, i hate meeting people, but at the same time i want to, but i just wanted to at least be able to do phone calls. I don't think anybody realizes this about me. I never talk about this, and except for this post, i don't think i ever will
—Guest Radwa

Phone calls are the worst

I was so sad today. My younger brother was able to call for a pizza but i could not. Because making a call is a nightmare. I don't know what to do. I am an adult and a lot of things are done by phone calls but i can make none of them. I always ask my mom to do it for me. Disparate and sad Excuse my bad english. I am not a native english speaker

This is so ridiculous!

I read Guest "Jay"'s analysis on how phone anxiety comes from codependent relationships with parents. That is absolutely correct for me! My dad has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and my mom has Dissociative Identity Disorder, and is SUPER codependent. My relationships with them are definitely why I can't even make phone calls. Placing orders over the phone makes me absolutely terrified, and I'm a 22 year old male who fights Muay Thai! Why am I more afraid of dialing a phone than I am of getting beat up? I dial the number, but as soon as I go to hit "talk", my mind switches. I absolutely must find anything to do besides hearing whats on the other end. Its as if deep down I believe I will die somehow by calling a phone number. Really frustrating.
—Guest Marcus

lost and still losing it all

I don't know why I fear the phone so much. I remember I couldn't even call for take out as a teen. I still cant, id rather starve. for the past 2 years my life was turned upside down and with rvrty struggle I pull myself out of ; not using the phone makes everything ten times worse. I have almost been homless because I cant bring myself to answer or call ppl. ive lost all my friends, I rarely speak to my family. I am alone and luckily found a great job, my anxiety today was so bad I didn't go. after 28 missed calls and texts worrying where I am , I ignored them all and prob will be fired now. cant get help cause I cant call a doc, if I call a doc its not the right kind and get no where. I have no idea if I can pull out of this one. work is all I have
—Guest yhn8282


So I am not alone. One of my resolutions this year is to handle phone calls in a more adult way - but I hate making phone calls, to whomever. I am a teacher and mother, with lots to do for my kids this summer. The only way I handle all those doctor, dentist, car repair and personal phone calls is to schedule 1 or 2 a day. I try to get them over with early in the am, so that my anxiety doesn't kick in all day. I really don't know what I am afraid of --- navigating doctors, paying bills, or making life more complicated. I liked the suggestion of a previous guest - that it could be related to parent codependency - not sure how my reaching out will be accepted. My family knows they simply have to wait to hear from me. I manage calls to parents in the same way, 1 a day. I watch others simply plough through their phone calls, never catching a single breath. I am jealous. Strange, I never experience this in front of students or parents. I even schedule social contact in the same way.
—Guest DH

I hate making and answering calls

I don't really know the reason why but I hate making phone calls or answering phone calls. I only feel comfortable when I have a friend next to me while doing phone calls. although sometimes I want to be alone when answering these phone calls. It's giving me a hard time, especially at work, I need to call outside the country and ask few questions about their company/university. And I prefer sending them an email but the response is not quick. And it kills me to talk to the person on the other line especially when they are being rude.
—Guest Faye

i have this same problem

I am happy I am not the only time with this. I hate this about myself. It takes me forever to make a phone call. I can call my mom and that's about it. Any other phone call I get very nervous and go almost into a panic attack.
—Guest Ashley

I wish I could just get over this

I have had terrible social anxiety especially towards the phone since I was a kid. When I was younger, I was good at answering the phone, but never took names or numbers so my brothers would get mad. In recent years I have gotten a lot better at getting out of my comfort zones, but not with making or receiving calls. Whenever I need to call someone, I try to find an alternate option like texting or emailing the person. I won't even answer the phone at work, call my best friend without my heart racing, or calling people on my phone in public (except for my parents). I am worse than some people, because I cannot even call for pizza, I would rather order online. Maybe my fear is a little excessive, but I am always worried about bothering the person or that I will say something stupid. It is so embarrassing to avoid phone conversations or answering the phone in general. I wish I could just call my family members and not get so anxious. Any suggestions for me?
—Guest MRose (22)

Phone Anxiety as a Codependency Issue

I believe many social anxiety issues can be traced back to the original parental bond. If a parent was codependent with the child, this can cause all of the feelings and symptoms one experiences in making phone calls. Especially if you consider that making a phone call is reaching out for love, attention, guidance, support, and all of the things that the child could not count on receiving from the codependent/and or addicted parent. Fear of reaching out to others is just one of the many effects of being a child of an alcoholic and even a 'dry' alcoholic. Look into an AL-ANON membership which has meetings all over the nation to get support for this disease.
—Guest Jay

I always put off phone calls

I had to call my doctor to tell her I need my immunization records sent to my school and I put it off for so long. Every time I was ready to call I'd get really nauseous and I'd have a hard time breathing and then I would just tell myself I'd do it the next day. I don't understand why I get such bad anxiety over making a simple phone call. I get so afraid that I'm going to sound stupid or I'm going to mess up.
—Guest Cassandra

I think I have this same problem

I have been looking to see if anyone had this same problem and I'm so glad I found this. I know I have this problem since my college days when I simply was too afraid to call friends to do simple stuff. People would have to call me and I would just ignore the call despite knowing that its just a harmless call. I get this anxiety ball that just won't go away. Despite this I managed to get by in school and became a lawyer. But my problem has always been here and now it has pretty much ruined my career. I'm definitely gonna go talk to a therapist now and maybe there's a way to get past this. I'm totally normal in all other respects except this and it sucks, and the worst part is I don't know why I'm like this. Thanks guys for sharing and good luck to all!
—Guest Guest Jay

Anxiety And Time Drain

I hate making calls as well. Over the years I have alienated a lot of friends because I just would either not call them or call them back. I'm just as bad with family. I am not that phobic around family I know in person, but on the phone it's hard to explain I have an aunt that is literally dying and I NEVER call or visit her. I have no excuses. I also am introverted and only so much time in the evenings to relax and I don't want to spend it on the phone with people who want to yak my ear off forever. I think it might help me if I was able to get the hell off the phone sooner than later and had a gracious way to say, well, that's it. Talk to you next time.
—Guest scaredyL


So my fear IS a phone phobia. Once, I called my friend's home number. Someone I didn't recognize picked up the phone, so I hang up the phone then started crying. Another time, I got a new phone and didn't get all the contact stuff yet. A chain of number I didn't recognize called me, I ran, panicking, screaming a little, found my mom, then answered the phone with her. The number was my friend. I don't like seeing a chain of numbers that I don't recognize. Sometimes I can't hear clearly on the phone (which drives me nuts), and it's really annoying when you can't really pause to think on the phone — the other end thinks that you've vanished or something. And I don't understand the art of end a phone conversation. It's sad.
—Guest sigh


My job didn't require me to use the telephone until they recently purchased a new machine that no one knows how to use and set up. Now they want me to call up support and set it up. I called in sick yesterday. No one even believes me that there's a phobia like this. :(
—Guest takeover

I hate making phone calls too...

When it comes to calling somebody unknown on my phone.. Feels horrible. . .its like "what the heck i've got myself into" xD im even afraid to call an ISP....
—Guest Isté

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