Phone Phobic

I feel like quite a hypocrite making Molly make a phone call. As I told you in the 40 things about me post, I am not so fond of the phone myself. If something can be emailed, texted, or sent via carrier pigeon, that is the method that I will choose.  So many things go through my mind before I make that call.  If it’s an easy call like finding out the hours of a store or seeing if they have something in stock, I am pretty good making those calls now. Not a lot can go wrong because both the question and the answer are clearly defined – there’s not much chance of a miscommunication. Plus I never have to see the person again, so if I do something stupid, no big deal. But even this type of phone call I had to work my way up to.
Making an appointment is my most hated type of phone call.  Too much thinking on my feet and auditory processing, which is not my strong suit. I like things written down. Show me what slots you have open and I will pick one. The “when would you like to come – oh no that’s not possible” dance is the worst dance since the days of the grade 9 gymnasium. I do this to myself too – I wait until the last minute to make my appointments because I am dreading making the phone call, so the chances of me finding an appointment that works are smaller than the chance that my house is clean when unexpected guests drop by. So I panic after the third or fourth rejected time slot and just take anything. I realize after I get off the phone that it won’t work, pace around the house for a day with a knot in my stomach, and have to call back after the “we won’t charge you if you cancel 48 hours ahead” clock stops ticking.  If I could just make all my appointments in Google calendar I think I could be ruling a mid-sized country by now with all the extra time and energy I would have.
Calling friends and family is only mildly better. What if my friend’s husband answers?  How much small talk is appropriate to make?  What if she isn’t home and I have to leave a message?  I’m about as elegant as Monica’s “I’m breezy” message on Friends.  And the worst part of leaving a message – the prolonged state of alert I now have to be in as I sit at home afraid to do anything, because that is when the phone will ring.  I’ve had 3 kids – my bladder can only last so long.  And hell if I’m missing the call, and having to make another phone call.
Arranging play dates is a nightmare. What if my kid’s friend’s mom doesn’t know who we are?  I’m so awkward in real life.  Yes I know it’s hard to believe because I am socool on here, but you’ll just have to trust me.  I try to be proactive with “Do you text?  Are you on Facebook?” When they say no I decide that my kids have enough friends.
Erica Ehm spoke at BlissDomCanada this year about how it all starts with pizza.  She told us about how when she was about 10 years old and wanted to order pizza, her mom insisted that she call and place the order herself.  She was scared, and unsure how it would all turn out, but the lesson was that we shouldn’t be afraid to ask, and we have to push ourselves, and our children, to step outside that comfort zone and make the scary phone calls.  She got her pizza, and it taught her to keep asking for what she wants, because that is how you get it.
When Molly’s friend called and left a message about getting together, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to make Molly more confident than I am with the phone, and implement Erica’s plan – if she wanted to see her friend she was going to have to call.  Social growth opportunity right?  And some avoidance on my part, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.  We had only a few minutes before the start of dance class, so there was no time to debate or make excuses.  My father employed this method when teaching me how to drive, and commanded me to turn onto the highway on-ramp – I really didn’t want to, but there was not time to stew about it or avoid it, so I did it.  I ended up being very confident behind the wheel, and choose to be the driver most of the time.  So it seemed like a good strategy.
I didn’t think she was going to make the call, but in the end she did it.  Of course there were 2 more follow-up phone calls back and forth between the 2 of them because they couldn’t coordinate themselves out of a paper bag, but the phone call was made.  They got to have their play date, and hopefully the phone calls will keep getting easier.  Until she’s a teenager anyway, when cell phones become texting devices – I’m certain most teens don’t even know their iPhones make calls.


  1. says

    Oh I hear you. I have spent so many years in the workforce on the phone dealing with people that I recoil from it at home. My friends know not to call… they text. Teaching kids to organize their own stuff is such a great idea.

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