Telephone plays a very essential role in contacting others in personal, professional and social lives. Many people do not like talking on phone and some of them may even fear talking on phone. Reluctance or fear of talking on the phone is commonly known as telephone phobia. Telephone phobia is also considered to be a type of social phobia or social anxiety problem. It is common with various fears and phobias. There is a wide spectrum of severity of the fear of phone conversations and the corresponding difficulties. These people may have no problem communicating face to face but they feel reluctant talking on phone. The thought of receiving and answering phone calls may cause anxiety in phobic people. This phobia causes a great deal of stress and impact people’s personal and professional lives.
Causes of Fear Talking on Phone
Many of those suffering from this phobia has their own reasons behind the fear. Past experience such as hearing something unpleasant or traumatic on phone may increase the fear. Many find it uncomfortable to receive calls at inappropriate time. Body language and facial expressions are missing on phone which is also another reason of causing anxiety. There is fear of being ridiculed, fear of miscommunication, fear of forgetting things you want to convey, fear of appearing boring. Many also perceive other end to be threatening. As a result of these fears people fail to respond the telephone calls. This may end up in embarrassing silence, stammering or hesitating.
Symptoms of telephone phobia are no different from other types of phobia. A variety of symptoms can be seen in telephone phobic person. These sufferers feel very anxious when they hear their phone ringing. Some other symptoms include sweaty palms, nervousness, swift heartbeat, short of breath, dry mouth and shivering. They may also have short panic attacks. These negative thoughts are produced by mere thought of receiving or making a phone call.
Most causes of phone fear are less dramatic but can still make life much harder. Fear of speaking on the phone impairs your quality of life, as it stops you from contacting loved ones, blocks work and business opportunities, causes anxiety, and can make you delay placing or picking up important calls. It can also make you feel embarrassed because everyone else seems comfortable with it.
Steps to Overcome the Fear
1. Start with Short Phone Calls
It is very natural that we avoid things which we fear. Avoiding develops fear while actively pursuing the activity diminishes the anxiety. The closer you get to the problem the smaller it will get. Well, you cannot erase this phobia immediately but you need to start with small steps. Start making short phone calls to people with whom you are familiar and relaxed. You can inform them beforehand so that they can also help you. Try to make two or three phone calls a single day. Getting into the habit of making short calls will make you feel comfortable. You can gradually increase the duration of your calls which will eventually boost your confidence. Try to talk more and more by asking a couple of questions to the person.
2. Carry a Smile on Your Face while using your Cell Phone
Smile produces feeling of happiness and erases fear. When you pick up your phone carry a smile on your face. You can also set a funny or hilarious ringtone which can make you smile. This way you will feel better. Try to practice this even when no one is around. So smile before you dial or receive your call.
3. Relax Yourself
For a while, switch off of your cell phone if you are not comfortable with the incomings. Keep your cell phone aside and relax. Reinforcing the connection between phoning and fear will make you anxious. Close your eyes and take deep breaths and make a relaxed picture of yourself in your mind. You can also memorize your happy moments. Make a phone call after this exercise and feel calm while speaking on phone. Pretty soon, you will find talking on phone very natural and comfortable.
4. Reward Yourself
It is very important to reward yourself each time you make a difficult call. As there is no one to pat your back each time you make a call, so you have to practice this by your own. Pat you back and spend time in something you enjoy. Rewarding will keep you motivated and will inspire you to take more calls.
Visualize yourself successfully making and receiving calls. Imagine a positive conversation and feel good about it. You can put your imagination in real life situation. Pick up your cell phone to make calls. Telephone phobia is very common these days but like other phobia and fear this can be easily conquered.