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.

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 5:42pm

>>IMO, before reacting to what we perceive as being rude, one should stop and consider any number of reasons another may not be responding to them. And I think Age makes a good point. When there's an obvious disability, most people would describe the intrusion as being rude. When it's something not so obvious, such as a mental illness, people think the one with mental illness is the one being rude and should fix themselves.<<

When I speak of responding to rude people, I'm specifically speaking about those same people who were verbally rude to me or mine, completely unprovoked.    

I fully agree that attacking a tantruming child or slow driver is out of line.  They are not doing what they are doing to hurt us. 

>>lol .... I seriously cannot imagine saying hello to a stranger, the stranger doesn't respond so, I call them a rude B? I just can't imagine behaving that way. And I believe this is what Age said, no? It's not the hello that bothers her so much. It's when people take that as an invitation to intrude further.<<

I agree.  I would not say this either.  Yes, Age has discussed people wanting to talk when she doesn't want to talk, and yes, that would annoy me too.   But she has also tried to persuade me that "how are you?" has more significance than a meaningless greeting and because of this, is rude when said to a stranger.    On this, I disagree.  

To let me summarise.   I think it's fine to say "how are you?" to a stranger when accompanied by open and pleasant body language.   I think it's impolite to ignore the greeting, but I can see why a person may choose to ignore it.   I think it's rude for the greeter to say "rude b*tch" in response, but I can see why they may choose to react.    

Personally, I would not ignore the person greeting me nor would I react in reponse to a lack of greeting.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 5:52pm

>>I think it is reasonable in any debate on iVillage to expect not to be accused of needing therapy, or being autistic, narcissistic, or any other mental illness. I am a little surprised that it is not against the TOS.<,

The relationship boards would not function if we could not suggest someone needs therapy.   If someone cannot get over their relationship which ended 4 years ago, what other option is there to suggest?    Suggesting therapy is not necessarily an insult but can be delivered in that manner. 

Why should suggesting that someone may be on the Autism spectrum be a voilation?  There is no shame in having autism.   Autism is simply a different state of thinking.  I'm actually a follower of the autism pride ideals.    That you think it's rude to suggest someone may be on the spectrum is an insult to my autistic son and myself with all my traits.   

Again, if we see suggesting a possible mental illness as a TOS, what does this say about our attitudes to mental illness?  

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 7:11pm

if we see suggesting a possible mental illness as a TOS,

Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

what does this say about our attitudes to mental illness? 

I do not believe that there is any human condition which currently has more stigma than "mental illness". That attitude and stigma is often not based on facts, but on fear. It is the same as AIDS 20 years ago, and leprosy hundreds of years ago. It says nothing at all about the people who have a given disorder. It addresses only the fear, bias, discrimination, etc.

To pretend that no one has an attifude toward "mental illness", that the stigma is not prevalent, that casually flinging out suggestions of "needing help" and "there's something wrong with you" can consistently be considered innocent suggestions is off the mark.

This particularly holds true if the person explicitly says, "I do not have X diagnosis" and random posters say, "Yes, you do have X diagnosis",

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 7:16pm

Autism is simply a different state of thinking.  I'm actually a follower of the autism pride ideals.

OK, good. There is a similar pride in the deaf community, but surely you do not think it is OK to say, "Hey, what are you deaf of something" or "You outta have your hearing tested".

Even on a debate board, it is tricky business to accuse people of having something wrong with them without coming off as ad hominem or rude.

FTW, I don't quite view autism as a different state of thinking, but I do think that way about ADHD.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 7:34pm

If someone cannot get over their relationship which ended 4 years ago, what other option is there to suggest? 

That's rhetorical, right? BTW, why do you feel responsible for suggesting anything at all?

There is no shame in having autism.

There is no shame in being a woman, being bisexual, having a particular skin color, being of a particular ethnicity, or having a particular faith. But when those, or many other characteristics are framed in a "there is something wrong with you" manner, they are often considered violations.

A TOS check:

You...agree that you will not use the iVillage Network to... post on message boards....any message or material of any kind or nature that is....harassing, libelous, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful, ..., racially offensive, inaccurate, or otherwise objectionable material or that encourages conduct that ....give rise to civil liability.

That you think it's rude to suggest someone may be on the spectrum is an insult

To be clear, I did not say it was wrong to suggest. I said it was wrong to INSIST after poster said no. I agree with you that to suggest carefully worded can be helpful. But poorly phrased suggesting is harmful and inappropriate.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 7:53pm

>>BTW, why do you feel responsible for suggesting anything at all?<<

I feel responsible because I'm a CL of a board where people come and ask for suggestions to deal with relationship issues.  Giving advice is what the relationship boards are all about.    They are quite different to debate boards

>>To be clear, I did not say it was wrong to suggest. I said it was wrong to INSIST after poster said no. I agree with you that to suggest carefully worded can be helpful. But poorly phrased suggesting is harmful and inappropriate.<<

Actually, you initially said "accuse" and then changed your wording in later posts for clarity.    But that's neither here nor there because I agree with this statement.    It's why I let the autism idea drop many posts ago.     And to be clear, I would never suggest Autism as being 'something wrong with you'.   Though I will concede that people who have a negative view of autism may view my posts differently.

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 8:28pm

The first paragraph in your previous post, insists to Age that she must have something "wrong" with her. You assert that she needs to change or be judged as "rude" You go on to say that if she breaks the "rules of etiquette" then others are not mandated by social norms to be nice or even polite to her.

Those rules of etiquette seem silly at best.

true.blue.strine wrote:

Age of aquarius, I'm saying this in the nicest possible way Are you sure you're not a bit Aspergers?  Because you seem to have misunderstood the unwritten rules about the "how are you doing?" question.   You're looking at the phrase with a very literal (and inaccurate) point of view.

"How are you" when used with a stranger or casual aquaintence is a greeting and not a question.  Sure, it may be phrased as a question but it truly has no more meaning than saying "Hi".   Yes, you are right that nobody wants the answer anyway - but this is because it's a greeting and not a question.     I have no idea why such a meaningless greeting has lasted through the years, but it has lasted and has a place in modern etiquette.

In Western etiquette, the only acceptable answer to "how are you?" is "fine thanks" or "great" or some other equally meaningless answer.   While it's your perogative to reject social etiquette - you must do so with the knowledge that people will think you are rude.....and some will voice their opinions.    Are they being rude in voicing their opinions?  Yes, they are.  But you are also being rude by refusing to follow social etiquette.

If you want people to be nice and polite to you, you've got to go along with social norms.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 8:29pm

Giving advice is what the relationship boards are all about.

Oh.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 8:36pm

 For the sake of clarity, how is it that having Autism is not "something wrong with you", but failing to make eye contact or follow other social norms is rude?

As I understand it, many people with Autism are challenged when when it comes to following social cues. You have said that people who do not follow social norms do not need to be treated kindly.

It almost sounds like you are saying that people with Autism do not have anything wrong with them, they are just rude.

I am guessing that is not what you meant, but I have no idea what you intended.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Wed, 08-29-2012 - 4:16am

hmmm....how to describe.   I hope this comes out right.

>>You have said that people who do not follow social norms do not need to be treated kindly<<

I have never said that.   I have said quite clearly that I think it's rude to reply "rude b*tch" to someone who doesn't follow social norms.  Yes, I also said that I understand why people may do this....but understanding why they do it doesn't mean it's OK.      I've also said that giving appropriate responses in social situations will very much minimalise the rude responses we receive.

My son is rude.  Horribly rude.   And yes, the autism does cause the rudeness.    But because I want to minimalise how much he's marginalised in the community, we work really hard at teaching him social norms.   When he does not respond to a friendly greeting (a frequent occurance) I prompt him to respond in an appropriate manner.   

A funny story:  he arrived at school one day and his class mates greeted him. (he's in a intellectual disability support class, so he's surrounded by interesting characters).   Anyway, he refused to return their greeting.   I prompted him, but he still refused.   I said to his classmates "I'm sorry, he's very rude" and one of them replied deadpan "that's OK, he's only rude in the morning.  He's fine by morning tea."   I just love the way they can be frank about his rudeness but without insult.

My son is quirky, he's funny, and I love the autistic mind.  And yes, he's also a handful.  But acceptance doesn't mean that he can't improve on his social skills..   Heck, my own social skills are under constant improvement LOL.   Even those with nothing 'wrong' with them still have room for improvement in one area or another.

As far as autism being good or bad....my feelings are more about it being just another variance on human behaviour.  It presents challenges for sure, but to me, the label of autism isn't an insult and it's not something to be ashamed of.

 

Pages