Problems with Making Phone Calls

I have a bit of a problem when it comes to talking to people on the phone. If someone phones me, whether it’s my mobile or the home phone or when I was working if it was my office phone then I’m fine, I can totally answer the phone and deal with whatever the other person on the line needs or wants to talk about.

The problem comes when I’m the one that needs to make a phone call. If it’s to do something relatively small like book a dentist appointment then that’s not too bad. It’s if I’m calling someone to ask if they can do something or if I’ve got questions and need help with something – that’s when I seem to have problems.

I put off the phone call for as long as possible, which isn’t always that great if you have a job which requires you to talk on the phone. Once I’m actually talking to the person on the other end it’s not so bad, I slowly get more comfortable in the conversation so I think it’s more of the thought of talking to someone and the act of dialling the phone number which freaks me out more.

I don’t consider myself to be a particular anxious person or that much of an introvert, I like my own company but I have no problems being out in large crowds or going somewhere new. I can talk to someone face to face absolutely fine and I really don’t have a problem with public speaking and that’s something I did at work for four years at university. It’s just talking on the phone to people I have a problem with, both strangers and acquaintances but strangers especially.

I don’t know if my aversion to making phone calls is some form of social anxiety or if it’s something I just don’t like doing – I think it’s probably the later as the only thing that puts me a bit on edge is talking on the phone, every other social interaction I’m OK with. I’d hate to self-diagnose and say I have a condition, when my nervousness about phone calls is really quite small compared to what things like social anxiety really encompass.

I don’t know if it could be a “young person” thing, when you look on social media and blogs it seems like a lot of young people in their teens and twenties seem to have a problem with making phone calls. Maybe it’s something to do with young people being more reliant or better behind a computer screen? I don’t know.

Have you ever had problems with talking to people on the phone? It is a bit of problem especially as the career path I want to go on you have to be good at talking to people, not just through emails and face to face but on the phone as well. I hope it’s one of those things I can gain confidence about and “grow out” of this sort of apprehension every time I have to make a phone call.

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3 comments

  1. I’ve always hated making phone calls particularly to people I don’t really know or in a professional capacity. I especially hate making calls at work when there are people around to hear me making an idiot of myself. It’s not unheard of for me to wait till lunchtime when the office is quiet or everyone is at a meeting. I also tend to plan in advance exactly what I’m going to say when the other person answers.

    I remember on one occasion at work my nightmare occurred. I was put on the spot had to make a call to a property rental agency on speakerphone in front of one of my company’s directors and a senior manager. The idea being to get information from them without letting on who I worked for (basically spying on the competition). Apparently it would be “good for me” to get out from behind my desk.

    It did not go so well. The rental agency started questioning me, I couldn’t get off the phone and the director and manager were making hang up signals and laughing. I’ve never been so embarrassed. I swear I am never doing that again.

  2. I’m awful about making phone calls, and my last two jobs have been administrative, which I’m sure confuses most people. I don’t mind the calls to set up appointments or to get information, but I hate making calls that I deem unnecessary or uncomfortable. My last job wanted me to make calls to get donations for our summer camp, which I made very clear I wasn’t comfortable with. The task wasn’t a requirement of my job, and I am horrible at cold calls, so I had to pass that job on to someone else. They also wanted me to make Thank You calls to people who had donated, which seemed entirely unnecessary to me and often confused the people I called because they just assumed I was asking for more money.
    I also really don’t like being listened to while I’m making a call. I’m not saying anything weird or wrong, but it still feels like I’m putting on a show for everyone in the office. This new job wants me to call people who are on a waiting list to tell them that they are still on the wait list. I’m supposed to find out if they still want to be on the list. I say, that’s a waste of our time. If a spot opens up, call the people and if they don’t want the service anymore we can just remove them at that time. Why call to get someone’s hopes up only to tell them “I know you have been waiting for a year, and you are going to wait longer, but I just wanted to see if you were still interested in waiting…”

    1. I totally get what you mean about unnecessary and uncomfortable calls.

      In my previous job I’d have to call people to try and persuade them to run some news or video piece on their websites and if they do get them to share it on their social channels. And if they don’t want to share the news you have to get a reason why. Because it was in media PR, if people hadn’t run the story/video/etc after 24 hours it was released it would be highly unlikely that they would run it. It feels like cold calling to me as I’d usually have already sent a bunch of emails as well before making the calls.

      Thank you calls sound like a waste of time too. It adds needless confusion and probably annoys the person at the other end. Part of one of my jobs at Uni was calling alumni to see if they’d make donations and I knew I couldn’t do it. Luckily it was like an extra bit I’d have got paid overtime for so I didn’t have to do it. I just don’t like inconveniencing people or feeling like I’m annoying them.

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