How to Work Around Phone Phobia

pink rotary phoneI┬ádon’t like answering the phone. I will do just about anything to avoid making a phone call to anyone. If it weren’t for having family who like to call me on my birthday or to make sure I’m still alive during the winter, I’d have no phone at all.

I don’t have a cell phone. I don’t want one at all. I did try one for a week. But, I never used it. So I took it back and cancelled the account. No matter how outdated it may seem not to be mobile with a phone stuck to my ear, I won’t be doing it. I do have a mini laptop, that’s mobile enough for me.

I don’t remember just when my phone problems began. I went through a time of having debt problems when I was in my early twenties. I’ve heard that’s how a lot of people develop a phone phobia. But, I had a poor attitude about phones before that.

My Dad was a small business person. Most of the time he kept a home office in the basement. Sometimes he would have a phone number for the business and leave it hooked up to the fax machine when he was supposed to be off hours (not working). But, he could never leave the phone to ring and go unanswered. He would risk breaking his neck by running up and down the stairs, leaping over laundry piles and other stuff my Mom would have (like an obstacle course) on the stairs. If anyone choose not to answer the phone with his same obsessive need to take every call, he would pitch a fit.

It didn’t matter that it was after hours for the business. It didn’t matter that we had one or even two answering machines hooked up to take calls. It didn’t matter that the calls after hours were almost always sales calls, telemarketers and people who wanted charity. Any missed call would cause a huge blow up.

I’m sure I began to resent and dislike the phone during those days. But, I didn’t dread picking it up and answering it or phoning anyone.

Later I worked in a department store. As a cashier you sometimes were required to pick up the phone and send a page out over the intercom. I hated that part of the job. I would do anything I could think of to avoid it. If it meant leaving my place and grabbing something for a customer I would do it. If it meant asking another cashier to make the page for me, that was fine with me. Sometimes I just offered customers a discount rather than paging for the floor staff to price check something for me.

It was ok for the job. They just wanted stuff sold rather than caring how much it sold for, within reason. But, it made me feel silly. So I began making the pages myself. I just made myself start doing them. After awhile it became easier. I even found it easier to answer the phone at home. But, since I stopped being a cashier several years ago I’ve gone back to my old feelings and dealings with the phone. I let the answering machine catch every call. I can listen in and see who it is, then pick it up if I want to, or need to.

It may sound funny to have a fear of the phone. Maybe fear isn’t the right word. I do have a phone in my home after all. I’m fine with the phone as long as it keeps quiet.

Help for Phone Phobia

Plan ahead when you have to make a phone call.

Write out a script, predicting how the call will go and what you will answer. Or, just go over it in your head.

Make sure you have all the information (like account numbers) and a pen and paper ready before you make the phone call.

If you have to face someone on the phone who may be argumentative, negative or hard to deal with for any reason, try getting help from a friend. Have them role play with you. Let them be the boss, service person, etc who you are not comfortable dealing with. Most likely the call won’t be as dramatic or upsetting as you think it will. A friend can give you a different outlook on it. By the end of the role play you could be laughing and the call will seem much simpler then.

Make the actual phone call when you are feeling good. If you are already upset, tired or feeling impatient you’re off to a less than ideal start.

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