December

Christmas Day phone calls

When’s the last time you used your phone to actually call someone? Spread a little joy this Christmas by doing just that!

Many people find this time of year difficult, and with COVID making it harder for friends and families to get together over the holidays, things could feel a bit lonelier than normal this year. To combat this, many organisations such as Compassionate Community offer Christmas Day phone calls to lonely or vulnerable people, carried out by volunteers hoping to make someone’s Christmas a little happier. It’s a great way to give back to the community, and it’s just nice to have a chat with someone too.

But it can also feel a bit daunting. What do you say? Will it be awkward? Do people even still talk on the phone? We spoke to staff who have done volunteer phone calls before, and have come up with a few tips to ease your anxiety. Who knows - you might even become a "phone person".

Introduce yourself

It may seem obvious, but it’s always good to introduce yourself when you call. Explain why you’re calling and from which organisation. The person may be expecting your call but they also could have forgotten about it, so it’s best to reassure them about who you are.

Think about some conversation topics beforehand

You may find it useful to note down a few things to chat through before picking up the phone. The weather is always a good one, as well as hobbies, what they’ve been watching on TV or things happening in their local area. Have you recently read a positive news story that made you smile? Mention that too!

Be mindful of their situation

The person you’re speaking to may be experiencing loneliness, so try not to talk too much about yourself and what you’ve been up to. You want to offer some friendly, lighthearted contact.

Speak at a comfortable pace

Be sure to give the person a chance to respond. It may take them longer to process their thoughts and think about what they want to say, so try not to jump in if there’s a slight pause in the conversation. 

Enjoy yourself!

As much as you are volunteering your time to support someone else, it’s important to enjoy yourself too. If you feel comfortable and are enjoying the conversation, it’s more likely the person you’re talking to will feel the same.

If you’d like to give someone a Christmas Day phone call this year, you can sign up through the Compassionate Community #CompassionAtChristmas campaign.

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.

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