“I’ll call you”, to say this is a phrase that I’m not particularly fond of is an understatement. I do not like telephone calls. They are anxiety inducing for me.
This anxiety can be triggered with the mere thought of having to call someone; talking myself into actually picking up the phone to dial and breathing calmly—breathe in, breathe out—while it rings.
What are you going to say? They don’t want to hear from you. You’re boring. What if they don’t answer and you have to leave a voicemail? Just hang up, it’s not too late.
The instant anxiety of the phone ringing. This is consistent with my own phone or one that I have to answer, but is also applicable to the people or person’s phone I am spending time with. My heart leaps into my throat, palms start sweating and mouth goes dry—breathe in, breathe out—shake it off and answer the phone.
Why are they calling? They’re angry about something. It’s your fault whatever it is. Will I be able to answer their questions? No, your mind has gone blank. What are words?
The sheer apprehension of a promised phone call. The anxiety that comes with waiting for said phone call can make me not want to check my phone and instead distance myself from it. The anticipation of will-they-won’t-they call has my heart racing in the back of my throat all day. Until I pick up my phone, check it—breathe in, breathe out—see there are no missed calls and my heart is allowed to slow down for a few minutes. This anxiety can last all day, depending on what time the phone call actually comes in; the relief that is felt afterwards is so great. However, sometimes that phone call never comes, so after a certain time (when a respectful person will no longer make a telephone call) I allow myself to discard my phone entirely, just in case, and squash the anxiety that has been building up all day as best as I can.
They’ve changed their mind. Why did they want to talk to me anyway? They didn’t, it’s a test. Why couldn’t they just write it down? What are they going to say? Don’t call, please.
The anxiety of actually being on a phone call. The ability for my brain to function and get my mouth to say the words has completely failed me but the ability for all saliva to stop being produced in my mouth is working overtime. If I haven’t prepared dot points to direct the conversation in some way most things that needed to be said will be forgotten. My hands sweat and shake, my skin is itchy—breathe in, breathe out—just say a closing statement and finish the conversation then you can hang up.
What did they say their name was? I wonder if the saliva from my mouth is coming out of my palms? What did they just say? I was thinking about hand saliva. Say something so they know you’re listening. I have to pace now, keep moving. What do they want from me?
There are some exceptions for the telephone call induced anxiety, which include calling a select few people, calling automated machines, answering a call when I know what it will entail such as when making plans or meeting up with them. Calling someone back when I know what it will entail, like after they have left a detailed voicemail or sent a text message that was in no way vague or ambiguous. Adrenaline fuelled phone calls.
The anticipation of a phone call that never comes can at times be disappointing or dejecting but far more often that not it is such a relief. To talk to someone in person, see their expressions and body language, or to have their words to look back over is much more comforting and pleasant to me. Being face to face with someone and occasionally sending someone my words (that I perceive as potentially risky) can bring on their own type of anxiety, but it’s a type that I find I can manage more easily than the kind that comes with telephone calls.