How to Talk on the Phone

Unsuccessful in Life

Talking on the phone.

It seems simple, and pain-free, right?

Wrong.

Talking on the phone is one of the most difficult, scary things for me to do in the whole wide world lately. I suck at talking on the phone these days.  I learned how to do the quick uppity-”Hey! Just wanted to figure out x, y and z! What works for you? Okay great, z it is. Perfect. How’s Y? Good! Good. Alright, well I will see you at x, I’ll bring the Y, and we’ll do z! Awesome, Okay… See ya soon! Bye!!” -click-

I got that. Calling to clear something up- and being excited. I can do that.

But what about calling friends and family just to chat? How do you talk on the phone to just spend time with someone your unable to DO something with? How do you have a nice, comfortable conversation that is fluid and relaxing and enjoyable for both parties?

I’ve been trying to muster up the courage, the “zing” to call a dear friend whom I love VERY much from back in LA for MONTHS, and tonight after getting the ball rolling (Yes, I have a ball I have to get rolling to be able to make phone calls, even to family) I felt accomplished from the previous conversation so I dialed her number before I could doubt myself out of it. So we chat, and it’s so wonderful to see how she’s doing, what’s going on, we’re on phone with for over an hour, we hang up and I walk into the living room where my husband has been sitting in earshot and I am beaming, heart full, accomplished, connected, encouraged–  and walk into his matter-of-freaking-fact comment: “You talked the whole. Entire. Time. I’m amazed she even got two words.” And I felt like a pin was shoved through my heart and I was placed on a wall, along with the other insects of the insects-who-suck-at-talking collection.

What the heck just happened? Why did that comment hurt SO bad?

I realized it was the truth. Dammit.  I am absolutely horrendous at keeping a conversation ANY WHERE. I do not know how to speak and have a legitimate serious grown-up conversation. I always go off into comedy, say nonstop filler words “Like, uh, and stuff, or something, ya know, I’m not sure,” and I strip myself of any confidence in my statements. I get scared in conversation, afraid of running out of things to say, that things will get awkward, that what was meant to be an enjoyable loving experience will feel uncomfortable, forced and painful.  So after recognizing WHY those words stung SO BAD, I realized the reality that I have horrible conversation skills. Needless to say that makes me feel like an absolute IDIOT, I’ve always seen myself as someone who is confident in my social abilities, if you know anything about Myers Briggs personalities I claim to have the tendencies of an ENFJ and yet I nearly have a panic attack when it comes to talking. What the heck is that?!

Well, I think it’s a number of things, which I’ll get into in other posts but what I’d like to share in this post is what I’ve found to help with articulating via phone conversations.  Some helpful hints to help ease your fears of talking on the phone. Though the first article is geared towards how to talk on the phone with a boy you like, I find it works well towards anyone you want to have an engaged conversation with.

You can read the original article  here.

1. Before calling, think of what you can talk about. What does he like? Did you do anything with him today that you can talk about? Anything he should know? You can even write down a list of topics to go through, but don’t read off of them like a script, make it casual and impromptu.

2. Once you have an idea, take a few deep breaths. Don’t just call him if you have nothing to talk about. It will most likely annoy him.

3. When someone answers and it isn’t your guy, ask for him. And make sure you say something like “Hi, this is ______. May I please speak to _______?”

4. When he says “Hi” or “hello” do not start off with something like “Whatcha doin’?” start off with “Hey what’s up?”…stuff like that.

5. Avoid asking questions like what color do you like, what is your favorite food.. that type of question is really common. Try to be a little more innovative and interesting.

This one I have a little difficulty with because somewhere along the course of my life I picked up tendencies of wanting to know funky quirks about people so I seriously enjoy learning about what people love, even the little things. So it may seem childish and I’m not sure where to put that trait and how it fits in relationship to “mature” conversation, but I enjoy it…

6. Get in a conversation. Try asking him something about school, or sports, or anything interesting.

7. Find a good excuse to call that person you like. Ask him a homework question or if he wants to do something. But make sure it isn’t a stupid excuse because most guys do not like that.

I think this is a great tip- think of a way that person can look like a genius through you asking for their expertise. Everyone likes to feel powerful and knowledgeable; what better way to have someone share their thoughts with you and open up than to ask them about a subject where they are strong.

8. Once you get into a conversation, there is nothing to worry about unless you somehow insult him, but that’s unlikely, and easily fixed if you somehow manage to.

9. If you get his cell phone answering machine, then leave a cool and goofy message. Guys think that’s really cute. It’s cute if you like laugh at something during your message. Like a cute giggle. Unless your guy is serious, then he might find it annoying.

Not sure if this is relevant at all, but hey if your looking to chat with a guy, perfect.

10. Play a game. If you just met him a good game to play is 21 questions or LoL. Ask him questions to get to know him. That will keep up a good conversation and you guys would probably even feel more comfortable around each other since you probably got to know each other better. Take turns and don’t just throw questions at him but ask some good and interesting questions that you would like to know and would also be fun to ask and get the answer to.

I think this one is great and overlooked– if you just have a friend your wanting to connect with- why not go on some sort of exploratory conversation journey and find out interesting things about each other! Sounds like a great opportunity for personalities to really show up.

And this one tid bit from <a href=”http://www.esquire.com/features/phone-etiquette-tips-0110&#8243; title=”another article” target=”_blank”></a> that’s helpful:

11. Don’t be afraid of brief silences.

-sigh- My biggest fear. I have this lie I’ve been believing that when there’s silence in a conversation, it’s like someone is going to realize I’m not good enough, or I’m not all that interesting. Complete b.s. lie, not true at all.  Brief silences should be welcomed, non-threatening signs of enjoying yourself and the moment. THAT’S a good perspective to see it through!

12. Say goodbye decisively. Don’t ramble.

I think I’m a rambler. I excessively look for ways to “humor” and “connect” with someone. KISS. Keep it short and simple, you don’t have to over-do it to be viewed as valuable or precious.

Alright. That concludes this episode of Shelby’s freak out moments turned into life lessons.  What is talking on the phone like for you? Have you ever encountered these strange, erratic phobias of talking with other human beings?

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