Effects of Aspergers Syndrome on Phone Calls

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How do you handle phone calls today?
Great 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
Good 38%  38%  [ 13 ]
Not so good 29%  29%  [ 10 ]
Bad 15%  15%  [ 5 ]
Terrible 15%  15%  [ 5 ]
Total votes : 34

Noamx
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19 May 2022, 4:45 am

Well basically, what I wanted to talk to you about this time is the effects of aspergers syndrome on phone calls.

For me, there has always been some effect of my aspergers syndrome on my phone calls. I usually tend to be more shy generally on the phone, and the shyness can be heard by the other person on the phone, based on my voice. It might be harder to tell than if they meet me face to face, but it can still be recognized on the phone too. Its quite embarassing sometimes, but I learned to deal with some problems related to this by now, but in the past I struggled to handle phone calls much more than I do today. Sometimes it was because of my shyness caused by Aspergers syndrome, which could make you a little lacking confidence on the phone. It happened to me especially with strangers, not people I know. Strangers can talk in many different ways and have different manners, so I wasnt always prepared and I became kinda nervous and shy sometimes.

Yeah, thats my part of the story. Can you share what possible effects it might had on you? And how you have been able to do phone calls easier now, than in the past. And what problems you still have to deal with today, about phone calls.



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19 May 2022, 5:23 am

I can't vote because it does vary. Usually I am far too nurvous to make a phonecall as I have wanted to order something for many months...Actually close to a year. I still have not ordered it. Yesterday in fact I tried to be met by the shops answer phone and I immediately hung up as I can't deal with leaving messages on the phone.
I get big issues trying to phone doctors and other establishments that have an automated system because I can't just pick up the phone. I have to calm myself first to be ready for it, but when I hear an automated message it disturbs my calmness and I immediately hang up. I get my Mum to phone if she is not feeling too nurvous and she waits until a person answers and then gives me the phone, but if it is a longer wait as our doctors has automated messages in Welsh forst anf then in English which take a minute and a half to go through even before they dial, I am soo nurvous by ten I can hardly speak!

Yet if I prepare myself first mentally so I am calm, and I can speak to a person straight away and I start to "Open up", I can, once the initial stage is over with, I can get quite chatty once I am feeling ore comfortable with it.

If I am in a job though I am nurvous, if I am covered by what I call my "Work mask" I can be a different person and I can just pick up the phone and dial (Though it takes some practice to reach this point).
But at home I am often a bit of a bag of nurves!

So this phonecall I have been trying to make for what seems like ages and ages (Less than a year I think) I was planning to do it today. I have all order number written down with the shops phone number. But if it is on answerphone again I may have to abandon the idea. The shop is no where near here. They do have an online option but I will never do online. I may write and send a cheque instead.

Me and phones!

Sometimes if I am prepared and know in advanced that someone is phoning me I am ok... But what can cause me shutdowns is someone phoning I did not expect and where what I was doing at the time causes me to need to suddenly change my train of thought to be able to take the call and that is where I sometimes go into a shutdown and can't take it, or a partial shutdown where I am slouched down while trying to be able to translate in my brain which had been taught in English as a first language, what the english spoken words I am met with mean. (Somehow in the deeper end of a partial shutdown I lose the ability to make sense of words. In a full shutdown my body goes all floppy and ends up on the floor having lost my sight and I don't know what happens to my hearing so I am unable to take a call anyway let alone try to hold the handset of the phone! Is like I go into a type of temporary coma but for a short time (Though I am concious so if someone walks past I can feel the air move and if someone steps on my hand I really feel it!)... But while I recover and for ages after I am in what I call "Shutdown daze".

Anyway. Phone calls. What is far worse than a phonecall for me is to speak to others via those video link calls. I just have to look away to speak. I just can't do it. I used to (If someone handed me their smart phone to speak to someone) put my ear to the phone and get told off, but I did that so I could ignore the video side of it. I just can't do rhe eye contact thing and speak as well. My Mum is the same. She does not at all get on with video calls either! We both go all panicky and try to hand the phones back as if they are too hot to touch or poisionus or something!



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19 May 2022, 5:30 am

Just to point out above, I do not know if I am on the spectrum. If I am then my Mum is as well as we both share similar traits even though my Mum thinks in words and is like a walking encyclopedia and I differ in that I think in pictures and more of a daydreamer or designer. (Actually Mums Dad and his Dad were both designers).
I am on a list to be assessed but they do not know when it will be. I joined this site after going on the list as I was uncertain if I had done the right thing, as I initially discovered autism after a lifelong unsuccessful search to try to find out what the shutdowns were. Not confirmed but am 10,0000% sure now that is what they are.



SpiralingCrow
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19 May 2022, 6:24 am

When speaking with friends or loved ones, I don't fret about using the phone. However, if the call I'm making is important, business related or to a stranger, it can induce quite a bit of anxiety. Once I discover the voice on the other end isn't some sort of ogre, I usually calm down. The anticipation prior to making the call tends to be worse than the actual call itself. And, I HATE HATE HATE leaving messages on voicemail.



kitesandtrainsandcats
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19 May 2022, 8:22 am

It depends.
Phone calls with my 81 year old parents, my brother, friends, are a joy. :D
All others I could happily live without.
Incoming call where caller ID is a number that's not one I know = anxiety spike.


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lostonearth35
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19 May 2022, 10:18 am

I just don't like talking on the phone. I almost never make a phone call unless I need to, and even then it feels like I'm wrenching out teeth. I don't get this whole phone addiction many people have at all, or that they may even have a phobia of not having their phone.

99% of my phone calls are too or from my mother and no one else.



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19 May 2022, 10:39 am

I don't have a phone as I borrow my Mothers phone if I need to phone someone.



Last edited by Mountain Goat on 19 May 2022, 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Lunella
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19 May 2022, 10:40 am

I used to work in many different IT/Network call centres before I became a network engineer - now me and my husband have our own business selling high end cars, dunno how I got here but anyway - back in these roles you would have to speak on the phone relentlessly, I remember my first phone call it was absolutely awful and I still hate it to this day.

In these roles every team leader, manager or floor manager would always have a problem with how I spoke to people on the phone, either I was too overbearing, or I sounded angry when I wasn't angry or there were issues with my ability to be able to stop talking and pause.

To be honest though, as much as I absolutely hated these jobs and gave me so much anxiety they did actually help quite a lot and I did become an absolute pro on the phone in the end before I moved to network engineer level in data centres, even then you would have to speak to very angry CEO's and chairmans of major companies like ferrari packaging, premier league or our senior NHS staff because we handled their business grade internet.

I think really, the more you push yourself to learn and do something you don't like you do eventually after a few years become a pro at it, but it's just putting in all that effort to actually get there. It's worth the mental torture at the end though, nowadays I'm a fierce little bastard on the phone when I want to be lol


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dragonsanddemons
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19 May 2022, 11:48 am

I have extreme social anxiety about even starting conversations in person, initiating a phone call is entirely out of the question. I do not answer the phone unless it’s a call from one of my parents or I’m expecting a call that needs answering (not things like appointment reminders). I’m also very hard to understand over the phone, I have to repeat most things multiple times.


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PseudointellectualHorse
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19 May 2022, 3:00 pm

If possible, I'll communicate with text rather than verbally, which allows me time to gather my thoughts and keep the focus where I think it needs to be. My theory is that if I can maximize brevity and clarity in a few written words, then harmony and efficiency will prevail. I seem to cling to this theory even though harmony and efficiency rarely prevails.



jackson_p
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19 May 2022, 6:31 pm

I go out of my way to avoid having to speak on the phone. There are no "comfortable silences" on the phone, like there can be in person. I tend to deliberately give visual cues to the other person to indicate that I am considering my answer, which is usually slower to happen than for other people, so on the phone they will often think that I have disappeared off the line and say something like "are you still there?"



shortfatbalduglyman
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19 May 2022, 9:33 pm

My phone conversation skills are pretty bad but that could be for a lot of different reasons

Asperger's is just one reason



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19 May 2022, 9:52 pm

I handle phone calls okay. I get intense anxiety from them, but I can go through them relatively smoothly with some preparation beforehand.


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PassingThrough
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20 May 2022, 5:59 am

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
I handle phone calls okay. I get intense anxiety from them, but I can go through them relatively smoothly with some preparation beforehand.

That describes me too. The anxiety about making the call is usually worse than the call itself.



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20 May 2022, 7:25 am

SpiralingCrow wrote:
When speaking with friends or loved ones, I don't fret about using the phone. However, if the call I'm making is important, business related or to a stranger, it can induce quite a bit of anxiety. Once I discover the voice on the other end isn't some sort of ogre, I usually calm down. The anticipation prior to making the call tends to be worse than the actual call itself. And, I HATE HATE HATE leaving messages on voicemail.

I'm much the same. With real time communication it makes a tremendous difference who I'm trying to talk with. Naturally the people I've chosen as friends are likely to be fairly kind, polite, co-operative types of people, easy to talk with. But dealing with bureacrats, business people etc. is another matter. Some of them turn out to be quite helpful and friendly, others seem well-trained in the art of fobbing people off with nothing and making my problems worse. It can be more characteristic of a fight than a mutual attempt to help me. With the written word I have all the time in the world to prepare my defense and marshal my arguments, but on the phone they can come out with some wrecking question or comment I never expected. And friends don't make me go through a labrynth of push-button robot menus or play muzak and ads to me while they make me wait till they happen to feel like talking to me. And with a friend I know the person I'm going to be talking to. With institutions it's often random who I get. So I worry before I call them - I'm prone to worry too much but only when I can see a real risk of the call going wrong.

One example was when I'd applied for the cooking component of the Disability Living Allowance. I'd selected email as my preferred mode of communication, but they ignored that and phoned me up out of the blue about my claim. They soon found an excuse to conclude I didn't need help with cooking - they asked about my job (lab technician) and suggested that science experiments were just like cooking. I was taken by surprise and didn't know what to say. Result - they turned down my claim. If I'd had time to think, I'd have been able to explain the difference, i.e. that science experiments tend to have very precise instructions, automatic devices such as accurate thermostats and timers, and the "ingredients" are very well-defined. Cooking ingredients are much more variable, being natural materials, ovens aren't very precisely temperature-controlled, recipes rather vague and unscientific. So juggling several saucepans or whatever requires a lot of dynamic inspection and multi-tasking. It's a different world.

And that's the difference between a phone call and writing - time - and my Aspie brain works too slowly and precisely to compete against well-trained hostiles without time. With enough time, I can analyse what they're up to and run rings round them.



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20 May 2022, 12:59 pm

I've never liked making phone calls, social phobia kicks in. Over the years I've got better and now perversely enjoy receiving calls from scammers as I love to wind them up and keep them on the line as long as possible. My record is 45 minutes before they gave up in frustration. :P


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