Phone anxiety: Hey guys, Has anyone... - Anxiety and Depre...

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Phone anxiety


Hey guys,

Has anyone experienced phone anxiety? Like I’ve always avoided talking on the phone, but usually I can do it just fine when I have to. A few months ago I had 2 really bad phone calls at work where people totally lost it on me. I had a total meltdown.

Now I have anxiety at work every day often all day long. It’s like my brain just goes into fight or flight every time the phone rings 😟

My boss gave me lots of tips on how to talk to upset people and my coworkers are really supportive. I’ve tried so much to get over this but I just can’t seem to shake it. Any tips/ideas?

23 Replies

I can get this too.

I’m sure you are not alone with this, I’m sorry , it must be awful for you having to cope with it at work. I don’t have any tips I’m afraid, I hope someone comes along who may do. If you are in uk , maybe some cbt counselling with talking therapies on the nhs would help. You can self refer online. Maybe check it out see what you think ..

If you type in cbt NHS talking therapies and your area the details should come up. There is a wait list, depending on what area you are in, worth the wait to chat about your fears and get some help...

Best wishes to you. 🌺🌼🌺🌼

Bellaella94 in reply to Hidden

Thanks for your understanding. That’s good to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

No I’m not in the uk. I’ve looked it up though. Maybe I would benefit from seeing a counsellor again...

Thanks. Wish you all the best too 😊

Hidden in reply to Bellaella94

😊 best wishes 🌺🌼🌺🌼

Breathe Bellaella94....We get into trouble when we don't allow ourselves to take a breath between sentences. When that happens, we tend to either shallow breathe or hold our breath while talking. These 2 things disrupt our oxygen levels making us get symptoms of being overwhelmed. The adrenaline rises making you go into the fight or flight response. Now when the phone rings, it sets off a red flag in your mind.

When the phone rings, take a deep breathe, lower your shoulders so your not in that fight or flight stance and answer calmly and self assured. It's not easy to talk with upset people but it can help if you use the time they are babbling on and on to take your deep breaths rather than thinking ahead of what you are going to say.

It takes practice but you can do it once you feel you are in control again. xx

Bellaella94 in reply to Agora1

Thanks Agora1. Yes, breathing! I need to remember that. I often feel like I’m not getting enough air. I’ll try that when I’m back at the office! ❤️

Great comments from two great gals with a lot of heart.... this is a bit more business like type of thing I learned when I worked at a call center dealing with taking calls, was that these people don't know you from they feel they can project and vent on you without consequences. But the reality is, if you have asked them politely to tone down any rhetoric or hostility and they don’t, you have the right to just put them on hold after you have notified them you are doing so, and transfer them to your supervisor...then 'like water that rolls off a ducks back' let it go, you'll never talk to them again and their crap is not your problem to take on board, never give anyone your power....and don't take anyone’s's not your job....and they don’t pay you enough to take any crap either.

Agora1 in reply to fauxartist

Amen to that fauxartist x

I work as a bookkeeper actually so I do know them 🙈 but yeah that’s good stuff to keep in mind!

I guess it’s just hard for me not to take things personally. I also don’t enjoy confrontation. I don’t have a ton of confidence...

I understand that.....I live with a partner that is that way,'s just very hard for them to confront someone. They have no problem being open and direct with me though, and I've encouraged them a lot over the years that it's okay to stand your ground if you’re in the right. They are better now than before, but who likes confrontation anyways really.....I don't. But learning to stand your ground the best you can does build confidence I think. We all just do the best we can in those situations.

Interesting. I’m the same way. And you’re totally right!


Have had it for years, I hate talking on phones, just can't stand it and I don't know why.

Thank goodness for texts. 😊

Agora1 in reply to Hidden

You're not alone with that thought. I don't like it either. Started years ago when anxiety first started. I found myself getting anxious in trying to keep the conversation going and yet I couldn't wait to get off. Now I just let it go into the answering machine. :)

Hidden in reply to Agora1

I don't usually answer the phone... I just left it ring.

I don't go near the answering machine either. 😊

Bellaella94 in reply to Hidden

Yeah I totally get that 🙈

Hidden in reply to Bellaella94

Is there a way around this though, why do we feel like this about using a phone?

Bellaella94 in reply to Hidden

I think it’s just because it’s freaky to only hear a voice. It’s hard to read people yet you gotta respond right a ways 🙈

Well I’ve been trying to make more phone calls instead of avoiding it. Otherwise I’ll never learn.

Hidden in reply to Bellaella94

I think you are right.

Hi I spent years on the phone to people including 5 years in a contact centre taking benefit claims from customer and some of them were angry and upset.

The best way to deal with them is -

angry - let them get it out of their system before you deal with them. Acknowledge them then carry on with the business of the call. If they claim so and so said this or were nasty or something just say sorry and that you are not them and will not behave like that.

upset - again let them get it out then talk to them in a very calm quiet voice and gently lead them through the call. Sow patience and humanity.

I would have callers demanding my opinion on something so I would just say I wasn't to say or ignore it if I could. There are times you have to be firm such as when customers complained about the law. I would explain that I could only explain the law to them but I had no power to change it. I would suggest they contact their MP or something if they felt that strongly.

Finally if you get a call that upsets you (I got a couple of horrible ones involving suicide and murder) you should be able to take a break to recover a bit.

If all else fails and someone swears for example or is being very difficult don't forget you can always say politely that you are ending the call (did that a few times) and ask them to call back when they are calmer.

Another option is to say you need to seek advice and call them back or maybe claim computer problems.

There was 1 I did which was naughty but hung up on them and claimed my phone or theirs was at fault :) Not recommending this though.

I also did it many years ago in another job when someone rang at 3 minutes to 5 on a Friday night (I was going at 5 coz I was knackered) and announced he had 2 policies and wanted to discuss them! On impulse I just hung up on him without speaking which was naughty but what the hell. x

Thanks for the tips! I’ll keep that in mind. Lots of good stuff 😊

All the time. I struggle with this a lot actually because I fear confrontation which happens a lot with my line of work. I try to remind myself that the more I put it off the angrier said person will probably be

Oh I feel ya! I don’t like confrontation either... but it’s true. Putting it off doesn’t help

Nope usually makes it worse!

I don't have anxiety as such on the phone, I just don't particularly like talking on the phone and would rather speak face to face x

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