Using my Phone as a Phone

I have some phone calls to make, and I am far too nervous about that.

I shouldn’t be, right? When I was little I made calls all the time when I wanted to have friends over… or whatever I used to do before the internet. But I think that’s where this anxiety– no, wait. That makes it seem like I have social anxiety and I know that isn’t true. It’s more of an apprehension to making calls. I think the internet is where this apprehension comes from.

Generally, most pieces of conversation online is either text only, where both parties have as much time as they like to make sure they are saying the right thing, or with video, where you can get a read on someone’s thoughts as they speak. Even phone texting became the go to means of communication over my lifetime. I text or IM my friends and family, and through this becoming habit I have become less and less comfortable with calling people, especially strangers.

Telephone Apprehension is, according to the internet, a real thing. So of course approach it with skepticism. For plenty of people, they spend extra time trying to use the internet to avoid making the call, they must write a script for every phone call they will make, or they just never make the call at all.

When I am the one answering the phone, I never have this apprehension. I am perfectly comfortable picking up and talking to anyone who has called me. Maybe it’s the position of authority that comes from being on that side of the call. They are trying to talk to me, and nobody is a better expert on that subject. But when I am calling someone else, I lack both the time to respond perfectly that text communications offer, and the understanding that comes with being able to see another person’s face. It’s a disembodied voice, unknowable, and that always makes me nervous.

This is something I’m working on. There are ways to help, once again according to the internet. I can write a script for what I should say. However once I start, I always deviate from it. Still, it gives me a little bit of confidence that I will have something to say once I start. And if I’m feeling extra nervous I act the script out, just to practice the words.

I can try to find that power from being the one answering the phone when I am calling. Yes, they are a disembodied voice. But so am I. I can be nervous when I speak to them and they won’t notice as long as my voice is quaver free.

It helps to be in a comfortable environment. Sometimes that’s my room, sure. But I always felt most comfortable with phone calls when I had a desk job. That business environment kind of promotes phone calls and makes me feel more comfortable with them. It makes me wish for a home office. I’m sure in that kind of setting, quiet and low on distractions, I would be far more efficient with writing and calls than I am now.

When I need to talk to my family back home, I try to call if possible. I’m calling my friends who I’ve moved away from more too. I call them mostly to wish them a Happy Birthday, but I want to expand that to be a call for anything that warrants more than a “like” on Facebook. It’s good. It’s better than texting even. Last week I spoke to two of my friends from NJ on the phone for about two hours. It was awesome.

Most importantly, I need to maintain some perspective. It’s a phone call. What’s the worst that could happen?

That’s mainly why I’m putting this on the blog. Addressing my issue in a public space is forcing me to confront and explain it, and it sounds kind of silly. I have some phone calls to make. I have to make them if I want to move forward with my career today. So it’s time to stop writing about eventually making these calls and make them. If nothing happens, nothing changes. But if something does, then this could be the start of something big.

-JP

P.S. I called them, and they all told me to use their websites to apply for jobs. So yeah.

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