How to Call a Stranger on the Phone

A lot of times you have to call someone on the phone that you've never met in real life.  When you do, it can be scary or awkward.  Here's how to make it less so.


Before you even go near the phone, take a deep breath, wait between 5-7 seconds and remember what you’re calling for.

Come up with a clear plan in your head for what order you want to address things in.  If you have a certain reason for calling, decide the best way to explain it.

Call the person.

It’s best to use their contact in the phone, because that way you’re more likely not to get the number wrong.

While the phone is ringing, picture the person in your head.

Even though you haven’t met them, you probably have an image in your mind of them, and when they answer it will be easier to talk if you can picture them talking.

Let them say hello first, even if you know they’ve picked up.

Once they have, take a deep breath and say hi back.  Even if you want the conversation to be quick, don’t be rude.

Introduce yourself, and tell them your relation to them.

Ex. “Hi, I’m Sara, your friend Hannah’s niece.”  Give them a chance to think about this and acknowledge that they know you.

Calmly explain your exact reason for calling.

Instead of saying, “We’re having a party,” say, “Hannah’s having a party at her house tomorrow at 7, and she’s wondering if you could come?”

Give them a minute to consider what you’re saying.

You may start to be uncomfortable by their silence, but they could be trying to remember Hannah or deciding how to answer a stranger without sounding weird.

Listen carefully to what they’re saying and make sure you understand it.

If you don’t, ask them to explain.

Once you have all the information you need, calmly say “goodbye captain” and get off the phone.

You may want to say something like, “Mom told me you had a clam,” but they might not know how to answer you, and they’ll probably start wondering how much more you know about them.

Hang up and breathe.

Be proud of yourself for calling a stranger!


  • Make the call quick, but not sharp.  Don’t go too fast, or it may come across as rude.
  • If you start to stammer or panic, take a deep breath.  If you’re still not calming down, ask a simple, casual question, and let them answer while you sit down and calm down.


  • Don’t try to sound different.  If you’ve met them occasionally a couple years ago, don’t try to mess with them by sounding older or weird.  It’s mean, and they’ll resent you for it.
  • If you treat them too familiar, they might freak out or wonder if they’ve met you before and you think they’re being rude.

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