Anna Gragert
Updated Mar 29, 2016 @ 11:20 am
Credit: Paramount PIctures

Despite the fact that I spent most of my childhood begging my parents for a private landline so I could chat with my friends at-all-times, I’ve grown to loathe talking on the phone. Maybe it’s because I gesture like a madwoman and rely on a myriad of facial expressions to get my point across. Maybe it’s because I prefer to actually see the person I’m conversing with. Then again, who knows? The human brain is magical and mystical and all-around confusing. All I know is that phone anxiety is real and I definitely have it.

All my fellow phone-phobics know what I’m talking about. Here are the symptoms of that phone anxiety life.

Stage 1: You realize you’re going to have to pick up a phone and call another human being who you may or may not know. Or perhaps that human being surprises YOU and makes the call first. The phone mocks you with a ringtone you know all too well and it makes you feel uneasy and terrible inside.

Credit: Hanna-Barbera Productions /

Stage 2: You accept the fact that you cannot email, text, DM, Facebook chat, or Snapchat your way out of this one. (Especially because you tried already.) So you let the phone ring and decide you’ll call back but ONLY after you’ve fully rehearsed what you want to say.

Stage 3: You pick up the phone, put it up to your ear, and… practice exactly what you’re going to say when you do make The Call. It’s something like, “Hello! Anna speaking! Yes, how ARE you? Oh yes, let’s talk about those things you want to talk about!”

Credit: Carnival Film & Television /

Stage 4: You repeat Stage 3 several times until you fully memorize your phone speech (and successfully postpone the inevitable).

Stage 5: You begin to dial the phone number and ask yourself, “Wouldn’t it be better if I emailed them? I mean, everyone loves receiving emails, right?”

Credit: Frederator Studios /

Stage 6: You try to find their email, but can’t.

Stage 7: You try to find their cell number so you can shoot them a text, but then realize if you text them they’ll know you’re around and were avoiding their phone call. Awkward.

Credit: Deedle-Dee Productions /

Stage 8: You dial the number again and triple-check that it’s the right one because having an awkward “wrong number” chat would be even worse.

Stage 9: The phone starts ringing and you hurriedly begin to rehearse exactly what you’re going to say. It’s like you’re auditioning for a movie, but probably worse.

Credit: Warner Bros. Television /

Stage 10: The other person picks up. You forget everything you were supposed to say.

Stage 11: You speak, but have no idea what words are going to come out of your mouth.

Credit: Levitan/Lloyd /

Stage 12: Somehow, in some way, the phone conversation comes to a close. You replay the conversation in your head and cringe. Did you accidentally ask this person how they were doing TWICE?

Stage 13: You immediately block out the last few minutes of your life.

Credit: Columbia Pictures Corporation /

Stage 14: You put down the phone and vow to never put yourself through that torture again.