I get overwhelmed with social interaction very quickly and can only handle so much at a certain time. Is there a socially appropriate way to initiate a conversation with a time limit?
When I'm answering the phone or texting (and someone sees that I'm "typing..."), I often feel like I'm trapped in that conversation for as long as the other person wants to talk.
I don't know how to excuse myself from these conversations because I don't want to be rude. Most of these people are people who I really miss, and I do want to communicate with them again... but I really need to manage it or I'll get overwhelmed and shut everyone out again.
Problem: I have shut everyone out for the past few years, but there are a few people who haven't given up on me. They want to talk, Zoom, text, whatever, and if I do it becomes very draining and emotional. I do want to talk to these people, but just in small bits while I get comfortable. I struggle with social stuff, found out I'm autistic and I don't want to lose the last few people who care enough to "bother" me... but if I talk for too long, that's it, I'm done. I really need to able to manage it... but these people haven't heard from me in over a year and I really don't know what to do. Sometimes conversations get emotional or heavy - I'm crawling out of hiding, I just want to pop in and say "hi, I learned that these things overwhelm me but I still care so here's your hello, get used to shorter conversations please cuz I don't know how to hang up the phone ok, luv you bye!" (only half joking)
(I've tried this - "please only 10 minutes" and nobody has respected it. One "ten minutes, I promise" phone call ended up with me secretly crying after an hour and saying "hey, remember we were gonna talk for only 10?")
How do you tell someone on the phone or text (or zoom, omg, the horror) that you don't wanna talk anymore? OR that you wanna talk but seriously only a few minutes... Is there a way to say "please, let's mutually agree to hang up in 5 minutes, I'm just calling to say hi" without being rude? I have a problem with lying... so I end up trapped. I can't say "someone's at the door" because nobody is. There's no valid reason other than the fact that I need to keep conversations short so I don't get overwhelmed. If I KNEW beforehand that a conversation would be only 10 minutes... I would go home and call them all right now.
To be clear - I WANT to learn how to talk to people I care about. This is not to avoid them, it's how to limit conversations or end them without being rude - so I CAN handle more conversations. None of these people is a concern, they all are good people who care. I need to change their expectations a bit but how can I do that if I can't even hang up the phone?