Today’s society communicates more than any previous generation, however it also “communicates” the least at the same time. Before text and email were invented, people either had to have face to face conversation, talk on the phone, or write letters to one another. Now, more and more people find that they prefer texting and emailing over any other form of communication. Although we communicate more, we have lost the true art of conversation. A new part of today’s problem, is phone anxiety disorder. Here are a few habits that could indicate you have phone anxiety:
- You often let your phone ring, only to text the caller pretending you missed their call.
- Your voicemail message says “don’t leave a message, just text me”
- You have disabled your voicemail altogether.
Why Does Phone Anxiety Exist?
1. Insecurity – When you can’t see the person you are talking to, you don’t really know how they’re reacting to your words. People can feel insecure about phone conversations because even though the person on the other end sounds like they are in agreement, they may actually be rolling their eyes at what you are saying.
2. Social Awkwardness – The thought of running out of things to say can strike fear into a person’s heart at the very mention of talking on the phone. Dead air is one of the worst things that can happen to someone with phone anxiety!
3. Distraction – Some people need to type out their responses in a text message, or see the person to whom they are speaking to, in order to stay focused on the conversation. Distractions while on the phone can be a huge problem because there could be so many different things happening around you, you may end up losing track of what the other person had been saying for the last good amount of time. It’s embarrassing and awkward to have to admit that you weren’t paying attention, and then ask them to repeat their story.
4. Ending the call – Some people with phone anxiety struggle with how to end calls. You need to hang up the phone, but because you feel awkward, winding down the conversation ends up being blunt or clumsy, causing you even more anxiety.
5. Lack of control – Texting and emailing allow you to have total control over what you are saying and how you are generally being perceived. You can plan out your responses, take your time, read over what you’ve written, and re-write parts that could possibly be taken the wrong way- or decide not to respond at all! With a phone conversation, none of the options above are possible.
What Can You Do About Your Phone Anxiety?
Psychologists have a number of suggestions as to how people who suffer from phone anxiety can deal with their problem:
- Remember you are not alone. Psychologists report that phone anxiety disorder is extremely common, so the chances are pretty high that the person on the other end could also be feeling anxious talking to you! Think about how you can help the other person through their own phone anxiety, and it might even help you forget about your own.
- Figure out why talking on the phone makes you anxious. Sometimes the root of the problem has nothing to do with the problem itself. For example, you might have suffered rejection over the phone earlier in life, and what you are really afraid of is experiencing that rejection again, not actually speaking on the phone! Deal with the root of the issue, and the symptoms of the problem will go away.
- Take baby steps. If you have an issue, it can take a while to fully deal with it. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t seem to overcome your phone anxiety right away. Baby steps are still steps in the right direction, so don’t despise small beginnings! Start slow, and work your way up. Try ordering take-out over the phone instead of doing it online this week. You will never see the person on the other end, so if you mess up a little bit, it doesn’t even matter. Once you don’t feel nervous about it, you can move on to more serious phone calls.
- Change the way you think. Someone wise once said, “If your way of thinking has brought you to a place you don’t like, then have another thought! Think again!” Changing the way you think can seem like a daunting task, but according to psychologists, it is possible. You literally have to rewire your brain to associate talking on the phone as a normal thing to do, instead of associating this activity with fear and anxiety. The only way to do this is to face your fear. Don’t worry though, baby steps are still recommended.
Featured photo credit: woman-calling-with-her-phone-picjumbo-com via picjumbo