Thursday, March 3, 2011

I hate talking on the phone, and I have good reasons why!

Today I read an article on Brian King's excellent website about living in the Autism Spectrum called "I HATE talking on the phone".  This struck a chord, because as all of you know who have read my earlier posts, I do indeed hate talking on the phone.

Brian then enumerates the reasons why people on the Autism Spectrum tend to hate the phone.  When the phone rings, we are shocked, and we are immediately cast into a position where we are going to have to talk, and we don't know how long or for what reason, and we have no time to prepare.  Aspies can't just jump into conversation (except perhaps the casual hello, how are you, please and thank you forms of conversation you do every day as a matter of rote), we have to prepare.  The phone gives you no time to prepare.

I highly suggest reading his post yourself, but I'd like to talk about one other thing I find to be the most compelling reason for me personally--on the phone, you have to keep talking. You can't have silence on the phone, you are impelled to keep the conversation going and that is deathly difficult for Spectrumites.  I can't tell you the number of times I am on the phone and the silence has stretched and I just have no idea what to do about it.  Or the number of times I am on the phone and I have used up my ability to hold conversation (and this holds true for my friends and family and boyfriend, it isn't the person on the other side that is the problem but the mode of conversation itself) and I REALLY want to end the call but can't figure out how to do so politely.  

Electronic communication, in contrast, allows you to communicate on your own time.  It allows you to prepare what you want to say.  There are no awkward silences in email.  No figuring out how to end a conversation without being rude.   Plus, tools such as email and facebook allow communication with many people at once, which is FAR more productive and a time saver.  Try organizing a family reunion for 100 people solely by phone about inefficient.  

And to some people I know (none of whom read this blog though!) don't judge those of us that hate the phone.  If you never own a computer or have an email, relying solely on phone (and no texting!), I might think you are crazy and not using time well but I believe you have the right to communicate how you want.  Give me the same courtesy.  And never, never think electronic communication isn't 'personal' enough.  Try it, THEN try and tell me that.

One last note...while this are good reasons that Aspies hate the phone, but I am related to several neurotypicals that feel the exact same way for the exact same reasons.  Are you like that?  Let me know in the comments.

Cheers, EA


  1. I feel exactly the same way about talking on the phone--as you know very well. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

  2. I also hate talking on the phone-- which I find amusing, because I love talking! I'm not sure when my aversion to talking on the phone started, but I am ever-grateful for email and txt msging. I think my sons feel the same way. We are all rather sociable people, but yakking on the phone just isn't our thing.

  3. Yes, I've always hated it as well and felt the same way, which is why I don't phone you more -but know that you are Always in my thoughts and prayers!!!!