Autistic Confessions – I Hate Phone Calls

Phone calls have always given me anxiety but did not know why until I really looked at myself. For many years all I knew was being on the phone, unless with someone I am close with, caused me great stress. I hated talking on the phone, something most girls love, but why?

Since my Autism diagnosis many little truths about myself keep popping up. Little things that were always funny are starting to make complete sense. I see myself and my actions through a new light and spend a lot of time really digging into my motivations and the reasons behind my anxiety.

I get anxious on the phone because I have a verbal communication impairment. I have hyperlexia which means that my comprehension for reading, writing and typing far exceeds my verbal comprehension. People who are used to corresponding with me via email would never guess this. On the phone (and in face to face conversations) I am often confused.

I also have Sensory Processing Disorder. People are hard to hear over the phone and when you add ears that don’t filter out any background noise things can be impossible.

Phone calls confuse me because I miss  a lot of details because my brain can’t keep up. Because I am Autistic my face to face communication is impaired.

Also people tend to talk faster on the phone and don’t like when you pause to think about your words – because they think you hung up. However, I need time to think before I speak. The entire thing is very stressful.

That is why I hate phone calls.


#ActuallyAutistic #SheCantBeAutistic


42 thoughts on “Autistic Confessions – I Hate Phone Calls”

  1. I don’t think you are alone here…I think as a culture folks are less and less likely to like phone calls, I know I dread it and get anxiety…skype/facetime isn’t as bad as you can see the person…but I hear you !!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hallelujah I’m not the only one who detests talking on the phone. My Disability Employment Case Manager recently asked me if I don’t talk on the phone why do I have a mobile phone. Duh it’s so I can text and email – I don’t actually answer calls they all go to voice mail then I text or email responses (seriously I don’t call people)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I hate it too. I’m terrible at figuring out when someone is going to start/stop speaking so I always end up talking over them. A lot of people want to Skype/video call these days and I’m just like “Oh, hell no.”


  4. I know where you are coming from. The phone is a device I wish I could toss out of my life, but it is necessary since I can’t dial 911 in an emergency without it. I received a phone call the other day where the person asked me a question. Since I wasn’t expecting the call and the question, I had to answer right on the spot. My response was fair, but I keep rehearsing in my mind what I wish I would have said instead. It bothers me that it still bothers me. E-mail works so much better for me because I have the time to process the questions and write and edit my answer. Not possible to do that on the phone.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I feel like sometimes, you are my spirit animal. lol.

    I have to talk on the phone a lot at work. I have memorized scripts and always write things down. If things deviate from my scripts, I get jumbly with words and very awkward.

    I’d much rather prefer talking through texting or IM. I can think about what I want to say and… I guess in some ways it feels politer. The person can check my message on their own time and reply when it’s convenient. Phone calls just seem so right here/right now to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hate phones too, but it’s mostly because the voice is changed which freaks me out. I also don’t like where I can’t see the person’s face, and I have to process things faster. 😦 I prefer texting and emailing people. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I never used to hate phone calls. I grew up in a culture where talking on the phone for hours was just what you did. I don’t know what happened but over the years I lost my taste for phone calls and there are only a handful of people I can talk to on the phone now.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I hate phone calls because I tend to process slower, unless I’m manic, then I don’t process what they are saying at all. When someone asks me an important question, I’ll answer but then have to go back after a day or two and let them know what I really thought. This is why I have two therapy sessions a week.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am glad I finally found a little common ground here. I primarily use my mobile for texting as phones are amplified-I can painfully hear kids, dogs, traffic & will only talk to one person compassionate enough to talk to me in a quiet room-my good friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes. Absolutely. All that.Thank you! I despise business calls the most as I know there is important information to convey and I can typically count on getting flustered and fumbling my words unless I have a practiced script in front of me. And then, of course, they don’t know about my script on the other end, and, therefore, often veer off in unpredictable directions, increasing my panic and stumbling. In person, it is so much worse. They can not only hear my grasping for words but see it, too. Hence, e-mail and text are always my first go-to’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I need about 1-2 days to prepare myself mentally for a phone call. As much as I hate them, I prefer being the one who calls. Most of the time I don’t dare to answer my phone when it rings, even if I know who’s calling.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Count me in. Unless it’s someone I know really well, I hate phone calls. I get awkward ‘off script’, have trouble processing words due to some kind of sensory deficit–sometimes a string of words sounds like gibberish to me and I have to ask people to repeat themselves several times, knowing it’s irritating to them.

    Oh, and Anna, don’t reply if you’re feeling overwhelmed. I get that, too. 🙂 Love your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to actively concentrate to hear what people are saying. That is, it will take me a while to understand what people if they catch me unguarded. I’m a PoC so this usually ends with the other person thinking I don’t speak Swedish (I’m in Sweden), and switches to English. Then things really just get worse, so I tend to pretend I’m English just to spare us the embarassment.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I do much better abroad actually. The funny part is that when I lived in the UK people assumed I was British. Never happens to me in my own home country. “You look so exotic! Where are you from? No, but where are you really from? Oh, I went to India last year..” Sigh.

          Liked by 2 people

  13. Not just you (virtual hug)
    I used to have to use phone as part of work for like 5-6 years. Since that? No thanks. I hate talking with voice, and my ONLY reason for not liking voice calls on phone is af least they are not in person. So the other person can’t see me! Hugs relief. Talking is difficult enough, in any language. Having to put on the “tone of voice” thing for the benefit of the NTs gets so tiring. When i talk or listen, i prefer to keep my eyes closed. Which is a big nono for sighted NTs anywhere.
    Even worse is videocalls. Nope, nope, nope. You can see me, I can’t really see you. So stick to voice, or if you can’t hear well then please let’s just text or email. Video calls are horrible. You are supposed to look at the screen, apply the eye contact dance rules appropriate to the culture(s) you are located in now, use NT facial expressions and “nonverbal” communication. Having a natural expressionless blankface, especially while listening, or having to THINK about what kind of facial expression you should put on… that’s all super tiring.

    On the same time… it’s funny to notice how much the what is seen acceptable for social communication has changed.
    When i was a kid, it was ok to visit pwople, sometimes even without calling. Then when mobile phones became populae, you can’t visit without calling and agreeing about time and location, even with the same people that are always home as they were before mobiles. Then came all these other weird rules. Apparently email or facebook chat to meet in skype? Yea, apparently acceptable to my stepsis. I’m trying to figure ways to discourage people from voice calling UNLESS it’s agreed first. So email, tweet, even facebook… anything else.
    Some places and people get it really well. A special library emails about bookclub meets. Join by email or call, then call to discuss the book (and just listening is ok. It’s sometimes nice to hear what other think of a book, but can be difficult to not be talked over when you have 30 older people on the same call). And many people get it’s a lot easier for many of us to discuss something via email (or twitter or whatever typed format); no misinterpretation of “how” something was said, no interruptions, no having the other people highjack what you wanted to say and so on.
    At least doing random video calls is not the standard acceptable thing to do yet. It would drive me nuts.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have always disliked the phone. I used to think it was just me, but almost every blog by an autistic woman I have read so far has a “why I hate the phone” post on it. Suddenly it’s not just me, I’m in good company, and there might even be a reason for my dislike. Which is a relief to know, so thanks for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Like you, I struggle in “live” conversations. My brain doesn’t work fast enough for intelligent give and take. I think it’s a skill that can be learned and practiced to great success, but the practice is just so darn painful.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I can talk, but often articulacy goes away at an optimum time. Public Speaking is a strong point of mine; I did the readings at gran’s funeral and everyone couldn’t believe how well I portrayed my voice. But normal conversations can be complex for me; and small talk is an alien concept to me. 😐

    Now I’m in the first day of a two-day Photoshop course. After that I will have completed my Adobe training; have already done Illustrator and InDesign training.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This whole thing times a million. Phone calls and video calls are awful. I have no idea what people are saying and struggle to block out the background noises. My previous boss used to surprise me with video calls and would force me to join video lunches (I worked from home). TERRIFYING.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. That’s really insightful, and nearly summarizes my issues with talking on the phone. “Nice try, anonymous number,” says the Facebook meme, “I don’t even answer the phone for people I know.”

    Now, being the nerd I am, my wife and sistered conspired on my birthday this year to buy me the old-timey Star Trek communicator replica that serves as a Bluetooth speakerphone for my cell. I don’t carry it with me always, but I’ll be curious to see if it changes my phone habits down the road.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Anne,

    I am glad you have other outlets for communication. Talking to people is a challenge that takes all your life to master. Keep sharing,


    On Tue, Apr 4, 2017 at 2:20 AM Anonymously Autistic wrote:

    > anonymouslyautistic posted: “Phone calls have always given me anxiety but > did not know why until I really looked at myself. For many years all I knew > was being on the phone, unless with someone I am close with, caused me > great stress. I hated talking on the phone, something most girl” >

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Filtering out background noise is next ot impossible. Right now, it’s 6:43AM Tuesday morning. I was reading posts, trying to get back into things, and now the house is alive. My woman is up getting our daughter ready for school, and listening to Mary J. Blige on YouTube. I hear every single short-lived argument, question, mumble, sung-vocal, musical note and creek in the seat my baby girl rests in eating the sandwich I made for her. To turn this out a bit, I put on headphones. They cover the ears and drown out NOTHING. The sound is dampened but I can still hear and tend to focus on it no matter what. Clearly, I hear google translate as I respond to vocal better than written and yet and 80% confused and lost on what I hear. It does take a bit to get information to un-jigsaw as it pierces my auditory canal. I was like #109, and comment #36 if that means anything. Thank you for reading this. I know it was a long way to go to say, “I understand you.”

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Stores bother me. I feel rushed, pressured, and on high alert and feel like I am gonna let the world down if I don’t buy something as FAST as if I know what I’m doing. I NEVER DO. 😦
            Thank you for your time. I appreciate knowing I’m not alone with so many socially-judged “obtuse” emotions.

            Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s