Why do people react in such weird ways when they meet someone who has a stutter? My guess is that it’s because they just don’t know how to react since they’ve probably never met anyone who stutters. Considering only 1-5% of the world population is known to have a stutter, the chances are great that most people haven’t met us yet.
This still doesn’t justify the responses, which can be anything from looking away, smirking, laughing, or even trying to finish our sentences. It can, however, begin to explain why people respond the way they do. I believe people are genuinely nice in nature and these sorts of responses are due to discomfort of not knowing what to do, or just trying to be helpful when trying to finish our sentence.
In the past, I would get upset at the responses and wonder why didn’t they just understand that I was having a speech block. Now my response has shifted to actually taking the seat of the listener and trying to understand what they are experiencing. If I’m introducing myself and my name doesn’t come out straight away, and I notice a look of confusion like I may have forgotten my name, I simply say “No I didn’t forget my name, I simply have a stutter.” I say this almost jokingly because I really have no fear of any speaking situations any longer, so when this happens, I have to laugh and understand part of this is just the way my brain is wired. I now use these opportunities to educate the listener about stuttering.
I believe the more we educate the world about stuttering, the less pressure people will have in trying to hide their stutter.