Phone problems

Many Aspies and sensitive people have difficulties with telephones. (Not using them, but having to talk in them.) Reasons may be:

– Social or phone phobia

“I’m terribly afraid of answeing the phone, if it’s an unknown number. I also cannot call up an unknown person. I get a horrible anxiety and worry, when I’m going to call or someone calls me.”

– ‘andypandy’, Aspie from Sweden

“I have some problems calling, I prefer to text or mail if the person has cell phone or Internet. Weeks and months can pass before I even call granny, partly because I don’t think I have anything to say and partly because i feel misunderstood (which others don’t think I am). ”

– Chrille B, male Aspie from Sweden

“I really hate calling up others and can procrastinate for days before doing it, though it’s much easier with people one knows. I find it darned hard keeping a phone conversation going, thus my calls tend to get very short and to the point.”

– ‘HardcoreUnited’, Aspie from Sweden

“I rarely contact people, they contact me. I find it extremely difficult to use instant message and so-called social media (where are the asocial media b t w, for people like me?). Mail, text and forums work much better, since I can phrase things in a freer way.”

– ‘Lakrits’, male Aspie from Sweden

“If I’ve just been at home alone for a long time I find it hard to make calls, but if I’ve been around people in some social situation, my phobia decreases and I feel like one in a crowd.”

– ‘Tonic’, Aspie from Sweden

“I’m terrified of the phone and feel uncomfortable even if it’s someone very close I talk with.

“It takes so much concentration, I get totally exhausted by trying to understand and hear what’s being said. My mouth goes dry, I feel nausea, need to go to the loo, pain in the skin around my ear and in the hand I’m holding the phone with.

“I’ve talked a lot on the phone over the years. This is not something that goes away with practice.”

– ‘sugrövmanövern’, female Aspie with sensory processing problems from Sweden

– Stress

“Me and telephones is not a good combination. Me, stress and telephones is not a combination, and the more the phone rings, the more stress. Som I’m careful with telephoning, and will probably discontinue my home phone soon. Two phones that may ring is at least one too many, almost two too many.

“If I got my mind set on phoning, e.g. if I feel like calling someone up, it is another matter altogether to sit down with a mug of coffee, lift the phone and make a call. (And then nine times out of ten that person is not in, of course.)

“But since a few years back I’ve become less and less willing to be available by phone. If the phone rings it always does so when one is in the middle of something one does not feel like tossing aside just because someone felt like calling me right now. It is very seldom that someone calls when one is just sitting there doing nothing and feeling ‘yessss, I get something to do, someone is calling, someone wants to talk to me…’ – but mostly just very much ‘oh noooo, why now…..????’

“For me the phone has repelled me from liking it very much. For the same reasons I have problems with instant messaging online. E-mail, PM etc and having enough time to reply as I need – that’s how I can function best.”

– Pemer, male Aspie from Sweden

“I used to blabber on my cell phone before but now I usually turn off the sound and then forget it. I’m not afraid of it and have no problems returning missed calls. I just find phones an unnecessary stress factor. Especially cell phones. Damn it, who wants to be available all the time.

“If you get anxiety from it I recommend throwing it dumping it at the nearest battery recycling facility.”

– ‘Parvlon’, male Aspie from Sweden

– Just not liking it

“I rarely use the phone, and only short conversations. I’ve heard that I’m a good listener, I usually get bored but you I can’t say that, so I listen. But nowadays I have no one but my parents to call.”

– ‘vallesmamma’, female Aspie from Sweden

“I too have a problem talking on the phone, even if it is usually not much problem with people I know well. At work I would rather seek out the colleagues I wanted to talk to instead of calling them up. No problem with that. We Aspies are said to have problems reading body language and facial expressions, but I have a feeling I need that part too, and that this may be why or partly why I don’t like talking on the phone.”

– ‘Kvasir’, male Aspie from Sweden

“I hate talking on the phone.. have a phobia about answering.. but I’m working on it. I usually have the sound off so I don’t have to hear the signal..

“But I don’t feel stressed by it anymore.. if I don’t want to reply I don’t.

“Calling, however, is stressful.. so much to prepare for. I prefer being able to write everything down. Read through it and then send. Then get a reply. Ponder and send.”

– Carl, Aspie from Sweden

“I feel intensely uncomfortable when my cell phone rings. I prefler to know in advance that ‘today Stina will call’, or even better ‘today at 12 Stina will call’. But you can’t ask people to be that accomodating (or does anyone actually do that?), neither from friends or professionals.

“It takes such an enormous amount of energy to spontaneously leave what I’m concentrating on to answer the phone. I can also only take in what is being said if I’m at home in my chair, not on a bus, in a shop or ‘out and about’.

“The answering service is good anyway. Then one can listen who has called and can call back when/if one has the energy. The good thing is that then one has time to prepare and think through what to say.”

– ‘Flinta’, Aspie from Sweden

“I don’t like telephone calls. And that is mainly due to not knowing what to say.

“If someone calls TO me it’s often because they want something. And then I can’t say NO. Well, I try, but always end up being persuaded. It seems that most people wont accept a simple NO without a lot of explaining. This goes for both private and professional people etc.

“If I am to call someone, I have a really hard time actually doing it. I have to prepare for it mentally. I have to go over what to say, how to put it, what questions I may get back etc. I have to be well prepared because I have a slow thought processing (must have time to reflect) to be able to put my thoughts into words so it doesn’t just come out “uhm…aha…mmm…”etc. And most people don’t have the patience to wait that long, they want an answer right away. This means that if I don’t prepare the conversation I can sit there and get the totally wrong information about something I didn’t need, or miss information I would have needed, or say yes to things because I didn’t quit get what they were after etc. It can go all wrong.

“The problems decrease if I’m feeling well and worsen enormously when I suffer from depression, exhaustion and periods of anxiety.”

– ‘Truly’, Aspie from Swden

“I really HATE talking on the phone and especially calling up others. I don’t even call my siblings if I can avoid it. The only ones I find easy to call are my parents. Everything else is a big struggle! Often have to prepare myself for weeks before making important phone calls. “Prefer to communicate by text and e-mail. It is so difficult to know when to listen to the other person and when it’s time to hang up or if he wants to keep talking etc. Though the problems are not so big if others call me. Especially not after I got number presentation.

“If you read books about Asperger syndrome you soon realise that this is a very common fear.”

– ‘Glimma’, Aspie from Sweden

No problem

Not every Aspie is bothered by phones. Some have no problem at all, or only small problems. Some grow out of them with age.

“I usually don’t have any problems talking on the phone, even if it’s with acquaintances or with strangers, so it may not be typical of AS…”

– Miche, Aspie from Sweden

“I have problems answering calls, but calling someone up is okay.”

– ‘Amanda92’, Aspie from Sweden

I used to be terrified of making phone calls to strangers when I was a kid. My fear came mostly from not understanding how things work or knowing what to say. At 11 a class mate helped me by coaching me through a reservation for horse riding. Once I had done it that first horrible time and survived, I was just a little nervous, not paralysed with fear.

If only my voice works I have no problem calling up others, though for important calls I too need to be prepared and mentally alert. I’m still not overly fond of the phone ringing, and only rarely feel a need to call someone myself. When I do it is usually to find information or make some arrangement, rarely just to talk, except sometimes with my closest family and friends just to keep the connection.

– Ing, site-author

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2 Comments »

  1. Naval Saini said,

    I have built a call blocking application for UNKNOWN callers on Android (Web: silentninja.co and Trial: http://bit.ly/18ZteQx). I would love to help out people. If it helps a tiny bit, I can give anyone here a free lifetime access. Drop me a line at flipflopapps at gmail dot com.

  2. I was hoping to figure out WHY the phone issues — which are rather a bother in my life — but it seems like… everybody’s different in this regard as well. Sigh.


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