I was recently reminded of a phenomena that I’d best describe as “phone phobia“. It’s an irrational fear of speaking with strangers on the telephone; the roots of this fear are deep and subtle, yet it appears that many people are subject to it to some degree or another.
I know whereof I speak. Growing up I was naturally shy, and this extended to phone conversations. It didn’t help that until I was in my late forties I did work that didn’t require me to interact with others on the phone. When I finally did arrive at the point where it was necessary, it took a huge effort. My job then required me to call officers of large companies and public officials; but it’s amazing what the need to put bread on the table will do. :) After a month or so of frequent phone work, it became a lot easier. But it took quite a while until I lost that funny feeling in my gut and a lump in my throat when I had to make a necessary call to someone “important”.
It’s not hard to deduce the subconscious roots of this particular phenomenon. Fear of rejection, lack of sufficient self-confidence (what if I say the wrong thing?), and all of those common minor neuroses contribute. And when the person we need to speak with is one who we view as being in a position of authority, or who we perceive as being somehow “superior” to us, the effect is magnified.
There is a part of this that’s even more subtle and perhaps more basic. I don’t want to appear to be too sexist here, but it’s an observable fact that, in general, men suffer from this phone phobia more often and more strongly than women. I think it’s because instead of using body language, facial expressions and all the other extra-verbal communication methods we use when we meet in person, the telephone call forces us to really consciously communicate and to choose our words more carefully. Women seem to find that easier to do than men (again, this is a very general observation). Surely you’ve known of (or likely participated in) the scenario where the male delegates a majority of the phone contact to the female. ”Hon, would you call the neighbors and tell them their dog is in our back yard?” … “Could you call the Smiths and tell them we won’t be coming to the party this Saturday night?” I know I grew up watching my Dad do this, and I also know that I’ve been prone to it myself. Fortunately the ladies in these situations usually don’t seem to mind taking on the task…or at least they don’t let on that it’s a pain. I suspect that internally they sigh and simply consider it a service to a poor unfortunate conversational cripple. :)
In my work, I used to offer written reports in addition to phone sessions. In fact, back when I had my own first contact with an intuitive, this was the option I chose for my own reading. This was totally because of my own phone phobia – I wanted the information, but I didn’t want to interact. The intuitive was kind enough to allow some followup questions via email (as do I), which I took advantage of to an extent. But I later realized that it would have been far more productive and illuminating to have had the opportunity to clarify some of the items in a phone conversation.
After I began doing this work myself, I reasoned that there were people like me who weren’t comfortable on the phone…especially with a “psychic” because it was just so far out of their everyday comfort zone. But it wasn’t long before I realized that the “written report” method was exhausting for me. The methods I used when I started out required several hours of work to get the information and do the clearings…and then it took a good 1-1/2 hours to write the report. And, as my skills and confidence grew, I realized that it wasn’t necessary to stick to the rigid formula any more; indeed, the more intimate phone contact allowed me to gather even more useful information during the call.
So, I ditched the written reports. I now feel that if a potential client wants help badly enough to step out of that fearful comfort zone and actually talk to me, they’re automatically activating a change within themselves that will aid the process. And, for my part it helps to ensure that I get only highly-motivated clients. Win-win. I do still offer email readings for those who aren’t ready to really invest in themselves and/or who still will shun the phone contact. That work, as I advise up front, has limited usefulness; but still, some people may prefer it.
The phone phobia thing is one reason that I also recently began offering free “Get Acquainted” phone sessions. I’m willing to get on the horn with anyone who just wants to shoot the breeze for a half-hour or so. No pressure (for me or for the other party). Just talking about whatever comes up…the weather, people we might know in common, the state of the world, or the issues that might be bothering them. It’s not exactly a “reading” or a counseling session…but I’m finding that as we speak, I often get intuitive hits for them…which I pass along freely. It helps me because it helps me to develop the freestyle counseling method that I heading toward, and it helps the other person because it gives them someone to talk to. It’s also a good way to demonstrate what I can do and my way of doing it and for people to evaluate the possibility that I may actually be able to serve them in some significant way. It’s usually the unknown quantity that makes us uncomfortable; once two people have that initial contact, it becomes a lot easier to make the decision to go on to the next step (or not). I’m also using these calls as my contribution to the good of all. My time is worth something, and so this is my way of tithing.
So far most (not all) of the people taking advantage of my offer have admittedly been women. But I’m hoping that the lure of a free conversation will also kick a few more men to take the leap and B.S. with me for 20 minutes or a half hour.
Consider giving me a call – I don’t bite!. I won’t try to sell you anything, and I might even say something stupid (and so might you – and I can almost guarantee that I’ll make you laugh at least once or twice). So what? What matters is that human contact is something that we all need a bit more of.