My Best Friend Has a Condition Called Misophonia and I Gave Her a Cuckoo Clock for Christmas


I’ve been close friends with Andy for over 20 years and she is my sister by choice. She’s talked about noises really bothering her for years and now knows she has a condition called Misophonia. We’ve talked a lot about how this condition impacts her life. I’ve totally rallied around how annoying chewing sounds are and how inconsiderate her neighbors are when they are loudly renovating their homes. I did not, however, identify myself as a problematic noise maker. After all, I’ve known her forever and am a trained therapist which basically makes me an empathic mastermind.

Andy and I talk weekly so I’ve had plenty of opportunities to challenge the delusion that I would never trigger her. For example, I once started to eat while we were on Facetime. Andy’s face and voice immediately showed me how this impacted her.

Andy: (voice strained): Can you not eat while we are talking?
Me: OMG- I’m so sorry.

We had no further conversations about that exchange.

I felt horrible and will NEVER again eat while talking with her on the phone. While it’s great that I won’t make those annoying noises anymore, a further conversation about how I impact her in general probably would have prevented me from making my next brilliant choice.

I wanted to give Andy an awesome Christmas present this year. Andy is big fan of birds and I found this amazing cuckoo clock that I KNEW she would love. I did think about her Misophonia and sensitively made sure that the volume of the bird noises were adjustable. As I boxed it up I was excited to hear about how much she loved it and how she was going to immediately put it up in her office. Maybe I we could admire it together during our Facetime calls.

Andy finally got the clock.

Andy: (voice slow and surprised) You got me a cuckoo clock.
Me (voice excited): Yes! You can turn the bird sounds down all the way if you need to!
Andy: It’s a cool design. Does it tick loud?
Me: I don’t even notice mine ticking so I don’t think so. It’s super fun, the kids love it.
Andy: Ok- I can hang it in the garage in the kid’s play area.
Me: OK.

In the garage?! I thought worst case scenario she would hang it in her living room instead of her office. I reassured myself that it was still an awesome gift and I DID check on the bird chirping volume.

We didn’t talk about it for a couple of weeks, then finally I had the guts to say something when we were talking about topics to write about for this website.

Me: How about we write about when I gave you a cuckoo clock for Christmas?
Andy: (big smile on her face): OMG. Laughs. That was crazy.
Me: Yeah- it took me awhile to wrap my head around you hanging it in your garage.
Andy: Really? I was shocked that you bought me a something that makes noise.
Me: I slowly figured out on my own that a cuckoo clock was not the best gift idea but I wish you would have told me directly. I felt pretty bad about it for a while.
Andy: I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings and didn’t bring it up sooner. I was worried if I was totally honest you would get mad and pull away from me. That’s what has happened with other people.
Me: I get that AND I want you to tell me when I screw up. If I get mad I’ll tell you and we’ll just be annoyed with each other for a minute. I’m not going anywhere.
Andy: Good. I’ll try.

This cuckoo clock experience EVENTUALLY helped Andy and I get closer because we took the risk of talking more openly about it.

I wonder what I will get her next year.

Guest Post by Jen McLish, LCSW

If you have a condition called Misophonia and a related story that you want featured in the MisoMatch blog, send us a message via the contact page.

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