Phone Phobia

TelephoneThis morning I am feeling nervous. I have butterflies in my stomach, my heart is beating a little faster. I’m dreading something.

My husband asked me to call his doctor this morning and ask for them to re-do some paperwork that is likely expired. That’s it. Basically, I’ve been asked to make a phone call to an office that I know is a little hectic, and ask for a little favor. It’s so easy. And what’s the worst that can happen? They could say no, that my husband has to go in and consult with the doctor before they can give us the new paperwork. A little time and a $25 co-pay. No biggie.


Yesterday, the Senate was voting on the new gun control laws requiring background checks for gun sales and other fairly logical restrictions. My inbox was blowing up with emails from various organizations I support, asking me to call my Senator and urge them to vote for the bill. They gave me a phone number and a script. Do you know what I did instead? I Googled, “What happens when you call your Senator.” Yes. For real. The top result? A question from someone just like me.

What happens when you call your senator or congressman?
ie does someone answer the phone, or do you just leave a message?
i’m just asking because i have intense anxiety associated with making phone calls and it helps me to know what will happen on the other end.

Yes! That was exactly what I was trying to figure out. And exactly my issue. Most of the answers said that a staff person would pick up and you need to talk to them. I didn’t call. It didn’t pass. 


Years ago, when my parents divorced in my teen years, my dad and I were together and we wanted a pizza. He told me to call and order it. I think he did it because he doesn’t like to call people either. I was soooo nervous. I hated it.

Now, I have no problem making phone calls when I know that the purpose is that the people are there to serve me: take my order, make an appointment, etc. But my nerves do pick up when I need to ask a favor, or speak to someone that I believe will not openly accept what I’m trying to say.

As I’m writing this post, I’m realizing that Phone Phobia is a real thing. I’m also seeing that it is something common with people with Social Anxiety. Interesting revelations happening as I’m writing this…


In 2001, I was at a women’s leadership lunch meeting in my office in San Rafael, California.  The speaker was a sales manager named Tara Johnson and her motivational speech was about fear. It was incredibly inspiring and I can’t even begin to do it justice here, 12 years later. Basically, she pointed out that any fear we have leads up to the basic fear that we’re going to die. For example: If I don’t finish this project in time, then I will get fired, I will run out of money, I’ll lose my house, I’ll be homeless and starving, and then I’ll die.

“Well, guess what,” she said. “You’re not going to die because you didn’t finish your project in time.”

And I’m not going to die from making this phone call. Eh. I’m not even nervous anymore. :)

Update: Done…the initial phone call at least. I still have to call again later. (Yay.) But it’s done, and we’re all FINE! Think I’ll have to force myself to call my representatives in Washington the next time I get one of those emails. Face your fear!

Question: What makes you nervous? For those of you that know me, does this post surprise you?

Photo credit: Flickr



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