If talking to people on the phone gives you anxiety, or you tense up every time your phone rings, here are a couple things psychologists recommend you try.
Photo by Bavo Mortier.
For some of us, talking to people on the phone can be more stressful than talking to people face to face. You don't have visual cues to help you determine what the other person is thinking, you feel like you're interrupting someone's day and using up their time, and you know you'll be the sole focus of their attention during the call. To combat that anxiety, Alexander Queen, a clinical psychologist that studies anxiety disorders at Tufts University, suggests you try "cognitive restructuring", or changing the way you think about phone conversations. For example, if you're worried about bothering someone, tell yourself that they wouldn't answer if they didn't have time to talk. If you're afraid you'll fumble your words, tell yourself that you're not the only person they will talk to who makes a verbal blunder that day. Remember, people are more worried about themselves.
It's also a good idea to set concrete goals for each of your calls. Alison Papadakis, clinical psychology professor at Johns Hopkins University, recommends goals like staying on the line for five full minutes. The key is to keep your goals measurable. Start small and work your way up to bigger goals. If you'd like to learn more about why you get phone anxiety, check out the link below.
Next time you're at the gym working out, meeting someone new, or out for the first time in a new outfit, remember that most other people are preoccupied thinking about themselves, so they're not paying attention to you and your worries.