Am I unreasonable?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
Am I unreasonable?
140
Sat, 08-18-2012 - 3:51am
So this kind of scenario happens often where I live. I will be out somewhere in public and some random stranger, nearly always male, will say hello or otherwise attempt to engage me in conversation. I will respond minimally, if at all, and nine times out of ten the person who spoke to me berates me for being rude.

I think they are the one who was being rude by trying to engage me in conversation when it was completely uninvited and unprovoked. I think it's rude to do so with the expectation of full reciprocation. I think if you are going to randomly try to chat up strangers you should be able to accept that they may not always WANT to talk to you, and may not appreciate feeling forced to. I am not an outgoing person. I especially do not feel comfortable around men having been a victim of rape and sexual assault several times. It takes a lot for me to trust people, and being addressed by a stranger feels like an invasion of my personal space and is frankly kind of scary. I once had a guy follow me off a bus and for several blocks, yelling at me for not responding to him. (I had headphones on, but I didn't want to talk to him anyway.)

One might say, well how hard is it to just say hi back? Well, sometimes when you do they take it as an invitation to engage you further, and I have no desire to encourage that. To turn it around, how hard is it to leave someone alone if they obviously don't want to talk to you? It really makes me not want to ever leave the house.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 11:13am

I agree Jam.. I assume Seattle is very similar to Vancouver, since they share the same "west coast,water-to-ski environment". I spent many a long weekend driving to Seattle; isn't far.

I know people who just love living on the west coast, who find the people friendly and not "cold" and would not live anywhere else. I now live in a small city, not far from two huge urban areas. One has close to 7 million people. That place is wall-to-wall cars, crowds downtown shopping etc.. Driving there is a treat. Some people hate it. Some people would not live anywhere else. It is what you make it.

And, like you wrote, a smile goes a long way.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 11:16am
Keep at it girl. All the best with your recovery
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 1:13pm
Not liking direct eye contact from every stranger you come across does not automatically make you "self-obsessed and self-absorbed". Just because an area has different cultural norms and expectations does not make it wrong. My experience has been that people here will immediately help others who need it. There's a difference between that and unecessary chit chat.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-27-2001
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 1:40pm

I was surprised to read about the "Seattle Freeze" when I Googled Seattle.  Apparently there is a somewhat common feeling of people being very resistent to socializing with people they don't know very well.

Funny because I live in a suburb of NYC, which I thought was supposed to be so cold and unfriendly, but that is really not the case.  I mean, you're not going to walk down 5th Avenue and have everyone chatting, and no one makes eye contact on the bus or train, but in a store, at a park, museum, etc, there is plenty of friendly chit chat.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2011
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 5:04pm

Hey Lovie..

 I live on Long Island so I understand what you mean. when you are in th ecity and just walking around and all esp when everyone is going back and forth to work or just moving. You are right  you are just not going tio strike up a converstaion with just anyone. But if you are unsure of where you are and need idrections. Usually someone is willing to help.

As far as stores and other stuff. Yeah sometimes you dio strike up a conversation with the person standing in line next to you. I see people who  will let someone  with small kids or only one item go ahead of them.

But with other cities and all I don't have experience to say one state is better than another.

Asfar as age of aquarius is concern.I am sure age I really think you need to take a few test with your counselor or even a pyshchiatrist to determine if you are eith on the Spectrum  or suffering from PTSD. I think you feel like you not on the Spectrum because you know a couple of people who are and you are nto like them. But trust me no 2 aspies are alike. Some do make eye contact some don't. Some have a very flat way of talking others don't. Many times women on the Spectrum show things differently then men. With girls it is okay to be shy and quiet And girls can "fake it" better then boys/guys. Good luck to you on that

I know sometimes for me although never been tested or places. I do have Aspie tedencies. Sometimes reading other people can be very hard for me. Sometimes I rad things in to literally and take to much to heart. And just like a little kid some times I have been known to say just the darndest things and can be a litttle to blunt or forward in the things I say.That being said. I wonder where I would be at if someone had tested me over 40 years ago..lol 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 6:25pm
I've had the full battery of psychological testing. They actually found that I read facial expressions and body language very well. I'm not blunt at all. If anything I am overly tactful. I've looked at the full list of symptoms for Aspergers and none of them are me at all.

I have had painful social anxiety since birth, and though I've made a lot of progress with it, being raped has set me back in a lot of ways. I have other things "wrong" with me as well, but nothing that really pertains much to this particular issue. Social anxiety is a real diagnosis and it can be debilitating. There are things you can learn to help you get through life easier but I don't know if those initial feelings of panic ever really go away.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 6:28pm

>>I know sometimes for me although never been tested or places. I do have Aspie tedencies. Sometimes reading other people can be very hard for me. Sometimes I rad things in to literally and take to much to heart. And just like a little kid some times I have been known to say just the darndest things and can be a litttle to blunt or forward in the things I say.That being said. I wonder where I would be at if someone had tested me over 40 years ago..lol <<

I hear you loud and clear.  Since having my autistic son, I've become very aware of my (and my father's) Aspie tendencies.  I was discussing this with another mother I know (who also has an Aspie kid) and she informed me that my eye contact is really off.  Glad I don't get offended easily LOL   I mentioned this to DH who said "yes, I can be talking with you and you're looking off to the side or out a window or something".   

I can't tell when people are joking and it took me many years to learn correct social behaviours.   I'm mortified when I think of how many people I offended with my bluntness in my late teens/early 20's.    I recently learned that back in the days before Aspergers was diagnosed, those kids were frequently referred to as "funny little kids".    And out of the blue, my mum says "you were a funny little kid".    She also tells me that since my son was diagnosed she she's learned about autism, she finally understands my dad.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 6:36pm

If a man (especially in an unsafe environment) greeted me without a smile or light in his eyes, it would scare the crap out of me too!

When it comes to being on a bus (or other place when you don't want to be greeted), try playing music through earbuds.   Most people won't interrupt you if you're clearly listening to music.   Or reading a book...that works too.     If you're walking down the street wearing ear buds and someone speaks to you or smiles, it's perfectly OK to smile back and just keep walking.   You don't have to speak, but the smile will stop you from being percieved as rude.

Lastly, in response to a stranger saying "how are you?".   I said that last night to someone who was serving me.  He replied with "hey".    And this was OK too.   It's more about smile in response than the actual words said.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 7:01pm
If someone smiles at me it's pretty much reflexive for me to smile back. Thank goodness for that at least. It's just second nature now because I have been making myself do it since I got my first job at 16.

Just like I have my script I use at work and I no longer have anxiety there either. It's very fake and rehearsed, but people either don't notice or don't care, and it seems to work. I work directly with people, so it became necessary to adapt. For some reason these skills aren't really directly transferrable to other situations though. Regular practice is key. Without it I don't ever get to the point where I'm comfortable. And by regular, I mean at least 20 hrs a week. That's why it's easy for me to talk to most of my coworkers and classmates, but hard to talk to my grandma.

I don't even personally have a problem with eye contact by itself, though many people who live here do. It's not until someone says something to me and I am not prepared for it that the "oh s---" response occurs.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Sun, 08-26-2012 - 2:03am

The point is, no one knows anyone's situation.

Even if you want to consider, was it, an autistic child, (?) what if the guy behind you thought he was just another kid trying to cause trouble? Any assumption of what the other person is going through is rude. I think the assumption any one wants to engage is chit chat with another person is rude.

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