We’re Both Polite, But There’s Some Nuttiness Going On

I’m the first to admit that I can be slightly nutty.  So when I realized a pleasant casual acquaintance behaved in way that struck me as nutty, I started wondering: who’s the nutty one here?  Naturally I turned to a friend for her take on this.

Here’s what Acquaintance does that Friend and I think is odd.

Whenever Acquaintance sees you she starts the conversation by stating what you’re wearing.  She’ll say things like: you have on a red t-shirt… you’re carrying a brown purse… your jeans are faded.

Then she’ll just stare at you, saying nothing more.  There’s no comment, pro or con, about your clothes, your accessories.

Only her looking at you.

This makes Friend and I feel awkward, like we’ve done something wrong, but we’re not sure what it is.

I’ve taken to parroting back what Acquaintance says to me. 

That is, I’ll repeat exactly what she has said back to her in a declarative sentence: yes, I have on a red t-shirt… am carrying a brown purse… my jeans are faded.

Friend thinks my approach to Acquaintance is brilliant because it allows me to seem to be chatting.  Of course, in reality I’m feeling unnerved about how this peculiar conversation is starting.

Again.

Friend and I have our theories about why Acquaintance behaves like she does, but we are curious to know what you, gentle readers, think is going on with Acquaintance.

Is Acquaintance’s behavior normal or nutty? Do you know anyone who starts conversations like this?  Are Friend and I being overly weirded out by this?  And if so, why?  

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

57 thoughts on “We’re Both Polite, But There’s Some Nuttiness Going On”

  1. I wonder if this is an OCD or Tourettes related thing. Like an actual mental illness, not just socially awkward. Because it is definitely socially inept, and unless she’s under 13, she should have figured that out by now.

    So I’m guessing its more involuntary.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. This is more odd than nutty. Something is definitely going on here, but I have no idea what. You and Zen Den really do attract crazy people!……. Oh wait! Does that mean I’m crazy:)?

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    1. Beth, I’m glad you think so, too. Friend and I think that Acquaintance is an extrovert who is, in her own way, allowing us introverts to say something about ourselves before she takes over the conversation. And as for you being crazy… well, who’s to say?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I tend to agree with isathought that it sounds like this person’s greetings may be somewhat involuntary. Either that or this person has declared that they are not a sheep and will not participate in the obligatory, how are you. fine. you. I’m fine too refrain so favored by the masses. Such the rebel.

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    1. Allie P, Acquaintance’s behavior is consistently the same. To the point of making me smile when I first see her while I wait for the clothes commentary. You could be onto something with the “not a sheep” idea. Like this thought, it could explain it all.

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  4. Acquaintance has kind of an autistic/aspergers feel. Or perhaps is trying to ground her reality, which would open up a whole slew of possibilities. Interesting, though, that you see her as an extrovert who needs to control. Beats me! Has she always done this kind of odd greeting or is it new?

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    1. Zazamataz, I’ve known this woman well over 10 years & she’s always done this sort of thing. There is, now that you mention it, a certain feel to her that suggests she might be aspergers-ish. She’s smart, talkative, but only about the few things she’s interested in. 0.o

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  5. Have you been tempted to start the conversation with “Your wearing xxxx with a red top and beat up shoes?” I can get naughty about stuff like this. It’s not poking fun but maybe shocking her into realizing what she does. Then again my stepson (at age 42) is socially awkward. He doesn’t have filters and will say the damndest things. I am convinced that he has Asperger’s but functions at a very high level. Perhaps she has some issues too.

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    1. Kate, I’ve never tried your approach, but it’s a good idea. I don’t know if Acquaintance would get it or not. She can be fun to talk with [listen to?], but it is always all about what she’s up to. What the rest of us do seems to bore her– or maybe she doesn’t understand it. Dunno.

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  6. There’s a new character on Elementary ~ a love interest for Sherlock. She sounds like your acquaintance.

    “Fiona Helbron, a brilliant and socially awkward software engineer, who meets Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) and Joan (Lucy Liu) during a murder investigation . . . describes herself as “neuro-atypical,” though others might identify her as a high-functioning autistic. She has a hard time reading people, rigidly adheres to rules, and can’t lie.”

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    1. nrhatch, that is an interesting character who, like you said, behaves in a similar way to Acquaintance. Acquaintance likes her rules, is consistent about how she starts conversations & what she talks about. Thanks for the link, I’m fascinated now.

      [All links go into moderation. Sorry you got caught in it, but once upon a time I had some troubles with trolls & this was the best solution to put a stop to unwanted things.]

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve enjoyed the addition of Fiona’s character to the cast ~ she is odd and unique and refreshing. Sherlock thinks so too.

        Moderating links makes sense to me. Especially when certain “visitors” are prone to abusing our hospitality.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have to start watching Sherlock. I know I’d like it, but for some reason never manage to see it. Must get more organized.

          And yes, you’ve explained the moderation situation perfectly.

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          1. We have watched Elementary from Week One ~ it’s a well crafted series that hasn’t turned into a Soap Opera like so many dramas do. The show still centers on a crime to be solved which is resolved each week.

            If you join it in progress, you may miss a nuance here or there, but the writers are pretty good about “reminding” viewers if they’re doubling back to pick up a plot thread from previous shows.

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  7. Maybe it’s as simple as her being an awkward introvert for whom small talk is difficult. For lack of something better to say, she focuses on your clothing and accessories. But if she starts pointing out chin hairs, you might have to redirect her. 😉

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  8. Sounds a little Sheldon Cooper to me. Socially awkward with just a hint of Aspberger’s, maybe? That said, it sounds as though she’s reasonably okay to be around, and if this is someone you like, what difference does it make? 😉

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  9. I agree with Zazzy on the Aspie feel to this. If not, it is definitely some kind of social anxiety/tic that she has. As a high school teacher, I’m used to weirdish behavior, and try to accept it as just who the person is. (which it sounds like you do)Tough to manage at times though, especially when it’s an awkward mannerism. 🙂

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    1. Margaret, Friend and I never considered that, but now that it’s been mentioned I can see it. I don’t dislike Acquaintance at all, but initially meeting her is an odd experience. At least now, after talking with everyone here on the blog, I won’t feel like I’ve done something wrong when I see this Acquaintance. She is, a bit, off her nut.

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  10. It *is* an odd proclivity, and has the ring of an Asperger’s or some sort of place on the Spectrum, but I’m no expert, just an observer (after 30 years in the public school classroom). It could just as easily be a strategy she learned for a failsafe entree into conversation. Bless her heart; at least she doesn’t say something hurtful or blunt like, “How much weight have you gained?” or “I see you still have that same hairstyle” or “I’m glad that you aren’t influenced by trends and just dress in the same styles all the time.” See? It could be worse!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nance, you make a valid point. Acquaintance’s approach to starting a conversation isn’t hurtful. She’s not a malicious person, rather kind in fact. But when I mentioned my discomfort about all of this to Friend, she burst out with a “YES, why does she do this?” So I knew it wasn’t just me who felt weird about how Acquaintance behaves.

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  11. I vote for she’s lacking a filter. A woman this week said to me: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in a color other than black.” (I was wearing a red shirt.). I told her I’ve worn other colors, skirts. “Where were you? You missed them,” I joked. She said, “With your dark hair, the red is good. Yeah, you look good in THAT shirt.” The emphasis on THAT was real, but I let it slide, then I hear my fave co-worker yell from the other room, “Yeah, you look like shit in everything else.” I thanked her.

    Some people a) are fixated with appearance because they don’t like theirs and b) don’t regulate what comes out of their mouths. My two cents.

    ~Tara

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    1. Tara, I think your explanation is the simplest and the easiest to believe. It makes sense to me. I don’t see Acquaintance more than a couple of times per year, so her behavior doesn’t really bother me. But it is so consistently odd, that I find myself curious [noisy?] about what makes her tick.

      And as for you wearing red, I’ve been meaning to tell you to wear more of it. I mean really, it’s like you don’t have the fashion sense God gave a goose. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I think it’s really problematic to discuss–especially in a tone that feels judgmental (for instance, through use of the derogative word “nutty”)–another’s social approaches. This post–and some of the comments–feel a little too close to bordering on bullying. I don’t mean to sound judgmental back, but as a “socially awkward” person myself, I get a little defensive. It doesn’t sound like what the acquaintance is saying is in any way hurtful. And I wonder why, even if you do only see her occasionally, you don’t feel the need to just ask her about it. It seems kinder to learn from her directly than to open up her behavior to public discussion and ridicule. (Please, please forgive me if I sound unkind here. I don’t mean to; I’m just thinking of how hurt I would feel to find out someone not only thought my behavior was “nutty” but they took a public poll about my conversation style. For what it’s worth, I’m sure I’ve written similar kinds of posts in the past, so I’m in no way trying to be holier-than-thou. I’m just thinking out loud here.)

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    1. dearlilyjune, interesting observations. I thought long and hard before I wrote this post, but ultimately decided to publish it so that I could start a conversation about how acquaintances interact with each other.

      Friend and family relationships are one thing, but when it comes to acquaintances, as an introvert, I sometimes feel like I’m walking on broken glass. I just don’t quite know how to interpret what they do.

      I don’t think of “nutty” as a judgmental word; in fact, I use it to describe myself, along with “quirky” and “wacky.” But I can understand how if you feel nutty is derogatory, then the whole tone of this discussion might seem mean-spirited.

      It was not intended to be. In fact, quite the opposite. I thought that by talking in the open about someone’s behavior that baffled me, I’d shine light on a subject that confused other people, too. And we’d learn a thing or two along the way.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s always good to hear from you and get your take on things.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. “Nutty” is light hearted, not mean or micro aggression – but maybe the meaning is lost in generational translations. Language changes so much without notice.
    Awkward is a good analysis. Maybe never learned how to engage in back and forth dialogue or inquire about how another feels about a subject – Just talk about stuff she knows/interested in then leave as she doesn’t know what to do next?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. philmouse, I meant “nutty” in a good way, but you bring up a great point about the changing nature of language. So easy to be misunderstood.

      Awkward describes how this woman starts conversations. She’s a talkative person who once she gets started doesn’t slow down! However, it is that initial easing into the conversation that Friend and I find odd. We attributed her behavior to us being introverts– and Acquaintance being an extrovert.

      Who knows, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you. This post was a public service. I will no longer feel take it personally when it happens to me … because up to now I have.
    OMG! You got your hair cut!! …. followed by nothing. Yup. I feel really good about my hair right now :/

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    1. joannecisco, your haircut comment is exactly the sort of weird conversation starter that this woman does. It’s tricky to not feel awkward while someone is just standing there staring at you. But after all of these comments here, I’m not going to let it bug me anymore… no matter how nutty it is.

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