I’m afraid to make phone calls.

My armpits feel sweaty as I push the phone around in my hand. I look down at the sticky note where I’ve scribbled the number. The ink is smeared a little and I start to panic.”Did I write the number down right?!”

Listening to my voicemail for the hundredth time confirms: yes, it’s the right number. His name is Tony and he wants to talk to me about my business Visa application.

That’s when the voices start and my head explodes.

I jot down answers to everything he could possibly ask. When my script is finished, I feel a little better. At least if I get tongue-tied I can look at my notes.

I make excuses for the next hour until I feel nauseous and disappointed in myself.


I finally do it.

It ends up that Tony is very nice and helpful. I only needed to reference my script once, and overall I didn’t sound like a complete idiot. He even convinced the bank to approve me for over double the credit.

Not bad.

Fear Confessions is a series of essays by creatives who share personal stories about facing their fears. It’s a celebration of vulnerability.

  1. I totally relate — I just get completely flustered in phone calls. But I’ve found that my favorite projects have started with a phone call, so I’m slowly getting over that fear and moving towards phone calls with every potential client. It’s just been a much quicker way to get an idea if the project is a good fit, and the more phone calls I do, the more confident I feel with them. Though I don’t think the nervousness will ever completely go away!

    (Met you through PowerPlay by the way!)

    • Hi Lisa, nice to me you! I’m kind of the same way. Once I’m actually on the phone I do just fine. It’s mostly leading up to the call that freaks me out. But you know what? It’s good to be nervous! That means we really care about it.

      So excited for PowerPlay. :)

  2. ha! i loathe answering my phone at work – i prefer to hear the voicemail first and craft a response, but in my real life, i think the phone is so much easier and totally always just pick up and call and answer anything… it’s a weird contrast! (also came by via powerplay! hi!)

    • It worse for me when I don’t know the person I’m talking to. If it’s my grandma or a friend it’s no biggie.

      Nice to meet you Rita!

  3. I am just like this! I hate making phone calls. I always feel like I’m talking over the other person or there’s an awkward silence happening. Unless it’s like my mom or something, and then I’m okay. So maybe I should just always pretend like I’m talking to my mom, then I’d be set!

    Just clicked over from the Power Play group- your blog looks awesome!

    • Pretending to talk to your mom is an excellent idea! It’s so funny how we have to play mind games with ourselves to get over a fear.

      Thanks so much for the compliment. I love your “resolutions” page. I’m going to have to look into some of the books you posted about.

  4. And here I thought I was the only one… I absolutely loathe phone calls – answering the phone, but especially initiating calls. I thank my lucky stars for the invention of email and text messages, though they have certainly made my phone skills even rustier.

  5. Your work has always been a great source of inspiration for me. I refer you blog to many of my friends as well.

  6. Sheng

    I have fear of making phone calls and picking up phone calls. It’s easy to call or pick up a call from my partner, lil sister, and brother, but it’s harder to do it with everyone else. I think I’m afraid of not knowing what to say or how to respond. Most often times I have to think about what I have to say before initiating.

    • Krystle Lilliestierna

      Exactly! I’ve written out scripts before of all the possible questions and answers. And I also dislike when we start talking over each other.