I hated talking on the phone whether it was the delivery guy, to make a reservation, or talk to someone for dating purposes. I had a fear of talking on the phone.
The idea of talking on the phone to a stranger made me uncomfortable and I avoided it. I would force my sister or my friends to do all the calling for me. I did this till I was 19 years old.
Whenever I managed to get away from actually talking to someone it would decrease my stress and that was negatively reinforcing my behaviour. This happens when behaviour is strengthened because you managed to remove an unpleasant consequence.
I started small to get over my fear by just starting to order food and talking to customer service. Then I slowly became comfortable with that. I prepare what I want to order from before and decide everything from before (you can even write down exactly what you want to order and read it out). Ordering food is also something I had to do when I went to university. It was a means of survival but it allowed me to slowly get out of my shell.
Make reservation calls
Then I moved onto making reservations. Again I would be prepared with what I wanted to say and if I had any questions. I slowly became comfortable with talking to strangers on the phone.
Have a job where you have to call people
I got a job in customer service. Not the call-center because that would be nerve-wracking for me. But just a place where I would have to call customers at some point. I would again always be prepared. However, with this that would be questions that the customer could ask that would throw me off. I asked for a call back when this happened and would take my time to regroup.
Having this practice through work made me more comfortable with talking on the phone. I was still not at that point where I could talk to someone for dating purposes.
When covid occurred I could no longer meet a stranger in person. I needed to filter them out. This made it important for me to talk to people on the phone. Talking to more and more people made me okay with talking to people on the phone.
The dates were not great but it was a learning process that made me more and more confident. A year down I can now say I don’t fear talking the phone that much.
If I have an interview phone call yeah I get stressed but some optimal level of stress is good and it allows you to put in the effort. But I no longer have a fear of talking on the phone.
Everyone is different and my fear was not at the level that it was getting in the way of my daily activities. If I did have to do it I could. If your fear of talking on the phone is similar and not a phobia then you can use my method of starting small and start talking on the phone.
- Start ordering food and making reservations – Prepare your script beforehand
- Call people at work- Prepare
- Talk to your friends more on the phone – Talk to people you feel comfortable around
- Start talking on the phone for dating purposes – Talk to people you don’t know
These exercises will help you develop better communication skills. It took me 10 years to get here and see being able to talk on the phone as a good thing.
Disclaimer: my fear of the phone was not on the level of a phobia so if you think you have a phobia please take professional help my blog does not intend to replace professional help. I am just providing my own experience.