Thursday, October 21, 2010

Make the Most of Your Phone Calls

Phone calls during basic training can be stressful. You have very limited time to talk, it’s hard to talk freely surrounded by other people, these other people are anxiously waiting for you to get off the phone for their turn, and you may even have a Military Training Instructor (MTI) yelling at you to hurry up. On top of all this, your family can add to the stress in their own ways. 1. They get frustrated because you don’t sound like yourself (this is more common between spouses). 2. More time is spent with them passing the phone around from family member to family member than actually talking. 3. They want to talk about, and solve, serious matters, which you are not in a position to help with (issues with finances, family, children, house repairs etc), and this only frustrates both you and them even more. While you can’t control your surroundings during your phone calls, you can control the phone conversation.

Prepare with your family before you leave:

  1. Let them know that your phone calls will be short, and that you may not ‘sound like yourself’ because you will be pressured to get off the phone. (This is especially true of your first phone call).
  2. Agree not to talk about serious issues or topics that have lead to disagreements in the past. (If you have a family emergency you will be allowed to take care of it).
  3. Don’t expect to talk with everyone in your family during one call.

Phone calls home should be morale boosters that help you get through BMT. Don’t let them be another stress factor during training. Follow these three simple tips and you will hang up the phone recharged to tackle more training (i.e. get yelled at and demoralized).