Monday, June 1, 2015
Why Are Some People So Weird? A Reply To That Question
November 8, 2013 .The question, "Why are some people so weird?" is one a lot of us have heard asked in one way or another over and over again. That question, or some similar version of it, is one that people tend to ask, or at least ponder, when they are dealing with, or have recently dealt with, someone whose actions or thinking they just don't understand. There's nothing wrong with not understanding someone else, but there can often be something seriously wrong with believing someone else, whose actions or thinking we don't understand, is "odd" or "weird" - or, perhaps, even "mentally ill".
As someone who is about as simple-and-straightforward and benign as it gets, but also someone who has been thought of as "odd" or "hard to figure out", I've always found that anyone who sees me as "odd" or "hard to figure out" could have understood better if he'd only asked me to explain or clarify whatever "the big mystery" was but also if that person hadn't placed him/herself in a position of judgment/superior over things i did and said. Replying, explaining reason/logic or circumstances, and/or "clarifying" is useless when one is dealing with someone who isn't going to take seriously what someone else says.
But, assuming nobody is "appointing himself" judge or "assessor" of the other person, simply asking can clear up the initial impression of "weirdness" pretty quickly. Of course, some people won't ask because they know it will most likely clear up their assessment of "weird", and they'd rather stick with having a reason to view the other individual as "weird".
My own biggest problem has either been because I'm someone who doesn't talk a lot about my own accomplishments or what I'm doing, or else because I'm someone who doesn't think/act the way people who buy into stereotypes expect me think/act. If I were someone who "yapped it up" more about myself and what I've done or am doing that would leave less room for "filling in the blanks" by people who are prone to forming their primary judgment of others based only on appearance and demeanor. The odds of someone who is prone to appointing himself "judge" filling in those blanks with an imagined-but-flattering assessment aren't great. Most people prone to appointing themselves judge and/or assessor err on the side of a caution that preserves their own ego - not the other person's ego, reputation or image.
When all is said and done, most people aren't all that weird at all if one gets to know them better. Whether the matter of "weirdness" is something like why someone lives where he lives, why he voted for a particular candidate and/or why he takes one or another stand on an issue; or even something insignificant, like why he stops at the same corner during his daily walks; most people, I think, would prefer being asked to not being given the chance to explain something and instead being thought of as "weird".
An exception to the point about preferring to be asked, however, is when the answer to that question would hurt the feelings of, or insult, the asker. When the asker is someone we care about, or when the relationship is one we value, most people draw the line on some types of brutal candor. Still, with my own many experiences of having been judged and thought of as "odd" or "weird", most of the incidents/issues were things I could have easily explained/clarified in order to put to rest the other person's thinking that I was peculiar in some way.
Photo: ME Whelan, 2013
Posted by ME Whelan at 9:30 PM