The 411 on Phone Anxiety

This is a personal interest blog post. I was wondering how much overlap there was between Anxiety and OCD regarding a fear of talking on the phone.

Surprisingly, I found that there are a lot of compulsions that are phone-related. Checking your phone often is related to OCD, which I hadn’t realized. For example, in many with OCD, turning their phone off causes extreme anxiety or even panic. (OCD Center of L.A.)

But what about talking on the telephone. It’s something I have dreaded for a long time. I pretty much exclusively communicate via text. But with many countries going into a second lockdown, it is good to be able to actually talk on the phone, to hear your friend’s voice. So how to get better at that?

First of all, I think it should be said, my fear is just a vague blob of discomfort. I do not think anyone is going to be horrible to me on the phone, and I do realize that in-person connection has just as much potential to be awkward. So, no its not those things, it’s more of just a vehement “nah!”

But hey, though! It’s part of life. What can we do to make it easier on ourselves..?

  1. Try to use a phone call as ERP. Don’t set up the call, dive straight in! Expose yourself to that uncertainty and live through it! (Rehearsing the call can be a way to give into a compulsion. Refuse to do that, and instead take the little risk. Cold call them!)

2. Help yourself keep the conversation going by asking questions if you need. The old saying is true, people do love talking about themselves. Be genuinely interested in their answer rather than planning the next thing to say–this is really just being a good listener, anyway. 😉 I realize that can be hard, but it is worth the practice.

3. Keep the conversation brief. At first, as you are getting used to being on phone calls, just let them be short, don’t try to drag it out just to be polite. Let it end when it ends, tie up the conversation, and close out.

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