Do Phone Calls Cause You Anxiety?

praticaltools Sep 18, 2023
A graphic explaining what telephobia is.

Just 20 years ago we were heavily reliant on phone calls to get our pizza deliveries, contact our parents after a football game, and schedule doctor appointments. Fast forward to 2023, and many people experience crippling anxiety from phone calls. Y’all, there is actually telephobia. 

What is phone anxiety?

Phone anxiety, also known as telephonophobia, is the fear and avoidance of phone conversations. People with phone anxiety may experience physical symptoms such as sweating, nausea, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat when they have to make or receive a phone call. They may also worry about what to say, how their voice sounds, or how the other person will react.

Why does phone anxiety happen?

There are a number of reasons why people develop phone anxiety. These include:

  • Having a negative experience with phone calls in the past, such as being bullied or harassed. 
  • Fear of public speaking or social interaction
  • Being uncomfortable with the idea of talking to someone they can't see
  • Under time pressure and concerned your time won’t be respected (#timeblindness)
  • It’s an unfamiliar activity 
  • You’re worried about being judged
How to overcome phone anxiety

There are a number of things you can do to overcome phone anxiety. One is to gradually expose yourself to phone calls. Start by making small calls, such as ordering food or making a doctor's appointment instead of scheduling on an app. As you become more comfortable, you can slowly increase the length and complexity of your calls.

You can also try practicing what you're going to say before you make a call. This will help you feel more prepared and in control. We like to write down bullet points of items that we want to discuss. 

Have you tried journaling about phone anxiety? This can help you understand your thoughts and feelings, and develop strategies for coping.

If your phone anxiety is severe, you may want to seek professional help. Therapist-designed routines can teach you relaxation techniques and other strategies for managing your anxiety.

Phone anxiety is real and can be a debilitating condition. However, it is possible to overcome with time and effort. With the right support, you can learn to manage your anxiety.

BONUS: Here are some additional tips for overcoming phone anxiety:
  • Choose a quiet place to make or receive calls.
  • Take deep breaths and relax your muscles before you answer the phone.
  • Focus on the other person's words, not on your own anxiety.
  • If you start to feel anxious, take a break and come back to the call later.
  • Be patient with yourself. It takes time to overcome phone anxiety.

I hope this blog post has been helpful. If you have any questions or would like to share your own experiences with phone anxiety, share in the Instagram community @movementgenius post.

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