Phone Anxiety

Published in Mental Health - 3 mins to read

I have really bad anxiety about phone calls. If I get a phone call from a number I don’t know, 9 times out of 10 I won’t answer. I’m just as bad at making phone calls, and I have a habit of procrastinating making them really badly, to the point of absurdity. I had a return ticket to Buenos Aires from London booked for last April with British Airways, who obviously cancelled the flights. Once they started cancelling all their flights, they removed the option to get a refund online, and instead you had to call them, although you could still get a credit voucher online. In March and April last year, I tried plenty of times to call the number, and every time I would be bounced through a robocall, pressing various buttons at the prescribed time, only to be told all the lines were busy and to try again later.

Firstly, this is obviously incredibly shitty thing to do, and I believe BA faced/are facing a class action suit about it. In future I’m going to avoid flying with them unless I absolutely have to, as a direct result of this experience. Secondly, eventually I gave up; I was wasting a huge amount of time on the phone to them and seemed to be making no progress, what else was I meant to do? I told myself I would try again in a month or two - presumably once the initial deluge of refund requests had abated, I ought to be able to get mine sorted.

But that’s when the anxiety snuck in. I started putting off calling, because I was anxious. And once I started putting it off, the anxiety grew - the call was now A Thing. And as the anxiety grew, I continued to put it off. The tickets cost £750 - would you make a phone call if you knew that end the end of it you’d have £750? Your hourly would be nuts. It got to the point where I had so much anxiety about it, I was genuinely about to write it off. I assumed the limit would be a year, and after that they’d refuse to refund me, and even if I called now, they might refuse to refund me anyway.

The point is, I finally called today, and got through to a real person, and got my refund sorted. The whole process was frustrating and anxiety-inducing but ultimately took me less than 10 minutes. To a lot of people, this whole thing probably seems ridiculous, but to me it felt like a huge win, and not just because of the money. I was so relieved, my body tingled with adrenaline afterwards. That call might be the most difficult thing I’ve done all year.

And now I have an extra £750 to punt away in a casino once I get to London.