Waiting for a Text Message

Autistic people often wonder, “How can I stop worrying about receiving a text message response?” Whenever I’m texting someone that I’m particularly interested in, I hyperfocus. I feel like I’m just lying in wait, and my thoughts can spiral into negative places: “Does this person dislike me/find me annoying?” “Did the person get hurt?” “Did I make a social mistake in that last message?”

One way that we can combat this hyperfocus (which can dangerously lead to turning a person into a special interest) is to focus on something else. The key here, though, is to silence or turn off the phone while we distract ourselves. For example, I might turn off my phone before exercising, telling myself I can only check my messages after I’m done. Another idea is to silence the phone and put it in another room until I’ve finished reading X number of chapters in a book, prepared and eaten dinner, watched a movie, etc. Once this cycle of intentionally distancing myself is kept up, the pain of waiting for responses dwindles.

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