Did this mark make me sound like a serial killer or do I just have Asperger's?

I was shopping at the grocery store the other day, and it was pretty crowded. I was browsing a section of merchandise of which there were a billion and one varieties of the thing I was after, and I was scrutinizing them. A woman was very close by doing the same thing, and she realized that she was about to move into my field of vision. She was still about six inches from doing so. She asked, “Oh, am I in your way?” and I replied, in far-too-literal-to-sound-sane manner, “Not yet.” She looked at me like she was about to throw up and quickly made an exit.

If you were on the receiving end of this comment, would you think it was bizarre?

I would think you were hitting on me.

She probably thought you were making a threatening remark. When you say something in a “far-too-literal-to-sound-sane manner”, people might just thing you’re not sane.

I’d have probably made a hasty retreat, too.

I’ve repeated this phrase over and over to myself dozens of times with as many different inflections…I can’t think of a way to make it sound scary.

Was there something else that may have put her off? 9mm in your jacket pocket? Blood on your collar? The fact you were wearing only Glad wrap?

Working with felons as I do, I’d see that statement as possibly threatening.

You said that to me, I’d give you a dead-eyed glare and slit your throat with a concealed box cutter. But I’m funny that way.

Depends on your body language and tone of voice.

I’d say that in a cheery ‘Not yet!’ way with a smile. But I could see how someone who perhaps paused, stared at the person, and said ‘Not yet,’ in a monotone voice would be sending a very different message.

So spill! Are you a serial killer, or do you have Asperger’s?

If you said that to me I’d think you were trying to pick a fight.

The expected response to “Am I in your way?” is “No”. You are expected to say “No” even if the person is actually in your way. Here’s the dance:

They ask “Am I in your way?” upon their noticing that they are, or probably are, in your way.
You reply, “No”.
They move, regardless of your answer, because they are in your way and they know it.

Is the mark a swastika carved into your forehead? If so, then yes. . .


I think any out of the ordinary answer can be worrisome to those with social anxiety. What a confident socializer hears as refreshingly original, an anxious socializer hears as unexpected and therefore worrisome.

My vote is for continuing the original behavior anyway. Some of us are tired of the same old answers!
It may also be useful to try recording and playign back your answer. For years my inflections and tones were conveying far different messages than I intended. It wasn’t until I started public speaking and watched some playbacks that I was able to correct the problem.

I agree with this. Depending on how it was said, it could mean anything from playful and funny to seriously threatening. The words don’t really matter. You could have said “Please pass the butter” and made it sound playful or threatening, depending.

Yeah, this is basically the interaction I’d be expecting. It never occured to me before, but I can’t imagine ever answering “Yes, you’re in my way.” At most, I’d say something like, “Oh, you’re fine - I’m in no hurry,” which implies, “…and that’s fortunate, because I can’t proceed until you get out of my way.”

So to me, your response was not at all psycho-killer, but I’d find it a little puzzling. If you said it to me, I’d think, “Um… okay… so, what does that mean? Should I not move, or perhaps step back, lest I do get in your way? Or are you planning to *wait *for me to get in your way, and then let me know it’s a problem? Whatever. I’ll just come back when you’re done.”

Am I the only one who thinks it’s funny either way? I actually think it’s funnier if he’s glaring, and saying it in a monotone.

The remark, makes you sound impatient. That at the point of her obstructing your field of vision, that you will be sure to let her know.

The OP made the same mistake that I always make. It’s funny to me so I say it without thinking of the results. Wilbo and** Heart of Dorkness **get it right: it sounds impatient and doesn’t give the questioner the info they desire. So the OP should learn to endure the mind-numbing banality of daily interaction with people and say the standard polite responses.

If there’s an expected answer and you know you’re in the way, why would you ask rather than saying excuse me? Frankly, if I were annoyed enough, I’d probably answer yes too.

I think it was fine. Of course, when people do stupid things around me and then say excuse me, I just stare at them instead of telling them it’s okay. Hey, maybe I’m a serial killer with Assburgers, too! :slight_smile:

For those of you who have seen the movie “Goodfellas”, remember the scene in the restaurant when Tommy (Joe Pesci) is asking Henry (Ray Liotta) “Why am I funny?” It’s chilling, but the same words coming from a regular guy would not be scary at all. Of course, in my example, it’s not just the tone of voice, but the fact that we know something about the Tommy character.

It seems to me she was letting you know that *you *were in *her *way, or at least she couldn’t get where she wanted without getting in your way or encroaching on your space more than she wanted to. This can be considered either passive-aggressive or excruciatingly polite, in the manner of excusing yourself after someone steps on your foot.

In that light, your statement in a deadpan delivery seems quite aggressive, but more in the touchy-hothead sense than serial-killerish.