Overcoming the Dread of Making Phone Calls to Strangers

To this day, I avoid phone calls like the plague. If someone calls me and I don’t recognize the number, I don’t answer. If I have to make a phone call to schedule a doctor or dentist appointment, I beg my mom to make it for me. I know, I know, this introduction makes you really confident that I can give advice on overcoming the dread of phone calls. But, I am very confident that God has a sense of humor. Because it is oh-so-evident in my own life.  Around two years ago, I needed a flexible, part-time job to work while I was still in school. I wasn’t quite sure where to even look because I live in a smaller town, and those jobs aren’t really available. God already had His plan for me in motion, however. On Sunday, a gentleman at my church approached me and offered a job at his small business—a debt collection agency—and I would be making phone calls to help arrange payments with debtors.  I’d known the gentleman for quite some time as his daughter taught me piano lessons for over ten years. His family was wonderful, and I knew he’d be an absolutely amazing boss. BUT the thought of making phone calls to strangers? That terrified me. However, it would be part-time, I could choose the hours I’d work, and I’d be making more than I had made at my previous part-time job.  I analyzed the job offer for several days. The list of pros was more than the list of cons—great boss, Christian environment, flexible hours…but that one con…that one con weighed a lot. In the end, I accepted the job offer, had an interview, and was hired. All new jobs are exciting, and this one was as well. I enjoyed the training, working through videos and taking quizzes on material I needed to know and follow. The simulation phone calls were particularly fun as well, but the simulation let you retry if you chose the wrong answer. Real phone calls didn’t work that way.  After two weeks of training, my boss thought I was ready to take on the challenge of making real phone calls. I thought differently, but I said I was willing to try. I knew that I would never be ready to make phone calls to strangers, so it would be best to jump in.  When the first person answered my phone call, I felt like dying. My entire body shook with anxiety, sweat broke out on my skin, and I could barely get any words out of my mouth.But I finished the phone call. And made another. And another.  Nearly two years later, I still have slight anxiety over phone calls. Honestly, I think I always will. I don’t dread them anymore, though. They’ve just become a part of life and adulting. Of course, if Mom is willing to make a phone call for me, I am more than happy to let her do it but calling the dentist and making an appointment isn’t nearly as terrifying.  Because I overcame the dread of phone calls with strangers, I now have a job as a financial aid counselor at a Christian college—a job I really enjoy. To get that job, I needed good phone skills, and I had to have an interview over the phone. God knew that I would need to overcome my dread of phone calls, so He provided for me by tossing me into a position where I would quickly need to learn good phone conversation skills.  As adults, we’ll need to make a lot of different phone calls to strangers such as job interviews, restaurant reservations, doctor’s appointments, etc. So good phone conversation skills are something that are very beneficial to have.  And if you’re as terrified of phone calls as I was—and sometimes still am—the best advice I would have for you is to jump right in. I didn’t learn confidence for phone calls until I was in the midst of making hundreds of calls a week. So if you never make that phone call, you’re never going to feel confident making any calls. Just take a deep breath, pray that God gives you the words to say, and hit dial. Written by Megan Shupp 

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