"I Am Not Your Friend."

Maybe it’s because I have a strong personality type (can fry a goober from 10 yards with a simple look), but I find that smiling a wan, Mona Lisa type smile and responding with cool, short answers tends to give them the impression that I’m just not that interested in pursuing further conversation - sometimes using that “Mother-to-slow-witted-child” attitude has to be added.

I, too, am a walking weirdo magnet - have been all my life - so that might be the reason I’m more tolerant of those poor fools who feel compelled to befriend me. I’ve had lots of practice at diverting their attentions without being cruel, rude or unreasonable. Hey, sometimes you even have to be honest with them to get a little peace, but you don’t have to be mean when doing it. We’re all walking this little space of land and using the same air; trying to get through it as painlessly as possible is all most people want - even the weirdo’s. And, aren’t we all somebody’s weirdo? :wink:

How about a T-shirt that says:


T-shirt, hell. I am making that a sign for my front door!

What’s odd are the people who initiate conversation (on lines, or waiting for a bus or whatnot), then seem absolutely horrified that you respond.

Like when was waiting in line to see The Lion King on IMAX.

stranger: “Hey, my kids love this movie. I think it’s a great excuse for people my age to get to see it. Do you remember when it first came out in theaters?”
me: “Yeah, I was actually at Disney World back then on vacation, they seemed to show the trailer all over the theme park. It was great.”
stranger: “Um . . . . okay . . . . (weirdo)”

Basic civility and short, small time chatter on occassion doesn’t bother me.

Anything beyond that does. It’s why I have no close friends. I don’t like people being anywhere near me for too long. So needless to say that the ones I do manage to make tend to last awhile. Heeheheh…

Mrs. Skeezix is a serious magnet for this. Everywhere we go, she ends up hearing someone’s life story. Most of the time, it’s the harmless variety of casual chatter entioned by others.

She does, however, draw just enough “Nutball” cards from the deck that it’s become a running gag in the family. Going to a themepark/movie/county fair? At least once during the day, someone standing in line with us will end up trying to give her a recipe, or a home remedy for something, or detailing some obscure event they once witnessed. Without fail.

Me, they look at out of the corner of their eye, and move a step or two away. If I could figure out how to bottle this, I’d make a fortune around here, wouldn’t I?

[sub]The ones who do wanna chat with me, for the most part, make me wanna take a step or two back.[/sub]

I’ve only encountered this a few times with geeks. MOre often than not, it’s the store owner who is the problem. I’m not particularly interested in your opinion on how WOTC has handled the game Magic, just sell me the damn cards.

The worst was when I had a job where an otherwise pleasant person would constantly come into my office and tell me what was going on on the Rush Limbaugh radio show. He was a devoted Rush Limbaugh fan and would share every witticism and remark Rush said. I tried to make it pretty clear that I was somewhat left wing and didn’t care for Rush. And yet he’d still fill me in - not in a “Ha! Defend this!” way, but as though we had previously established that I was quite interested in Rush Limbaugh. Finally one day I said something like, “You know, Ron, I’ve got a radio right here, and if I wanted to listen to Rush Limbaugh, I could be doing so. But I’m not.” I think that was still too subtle for him, because he kept it up. I don’t think he was trying to be confrontational or anything - as I said, other than this, he was a perfectly pleasant individual to work with. I think just something wasn’t clicking with him. I never asked anyone else if he did this with them.

You know what? I’m gonna stand up for friendliness. I never go overboard, I never demand too much time from an acquaintance. Still, I think it’s right to be everyone’s friend, to chat once and awhile. We all have things in common and stuff to talk about, and it’s great when we all get along and feel togetherness like that. If I get clear signals that this is unwanted, I’ll abandon the effort. Until then, I think it’s just plain nice to be friendly to everyone and try to make friends with them. If the other person doesn’t send a signal to let me know that my conversation is unwanted, then I’ll continue.

I’ll never be standoffish like a New Yorker, I’m a Missourian. Let me know it isn’t wanted, and I’ll cease and desist, it’s all good. But being friendly to everyone is the way we ought to live life, and that’s what I’m gonna do!


I’ve found New Yorkers to be pretty friendly – and I’ve lived here all my life. May be that we recognize different signals for friendship.

That said, those of us who are weirdo magnets sometimes wish we could turn it off. The sign over my head apparently reads, “Sex-Positive Librarian.” I can be in a bar, writing, and listening to music, and someone will start a conversation with me, and then lower his voice, and – out of the blue – say, “I once tied my girlfriend to the bed, and we really enjoyed it. Does that make us perverts?”

And I go into the Sex 201 lecture: “No, that doesn’t make you a freak. About 10% of the people in this country experiment with b&d at some point. If you want to do it more often, though, you should probably think about safety issues. . . .”

When it’s an unpleasant weirdo, though, I just pull out some datapoint from my supply of too-weird-to-cope-with-shit, and send them away. Roman showers usually does it (though I dread the day I run into the weirdo who finds them appealing.)

Man! You go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch them in the face, and for what?

Uh-huh. Apparently you haven’t yet encountered Extremely Persistent and Completely Impervious to Polite Hints Weirdo.

But thanks anyway. :slight_smile:

blink You may be onto something, here - unfortunately, I MARRIED the EPCIPHW! :eek: WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!? The only thing that got rid of him was (Who-Done-It musical tone) duh-du-duhhhh - an untimely death (his, not mine - this would be one heck of a post if it were mine). Now that I think about it, maybe I’m really not that good at getting rid of weirdos. :eek:

Used to work with a guy who insisted upon being everyone’s friend. Why? Cuz everyone loves Tony. Tony’s your friend. Tony also likd to get other folks to do his work for him, and to borrow things ad nauseum, or if you weren’t around stealing worked to.

That and the whole bible thumper act made him the subject of a needed beating, but he still was your friend. See a pattern?


I admit it…I’m one of those people who’ll strike up a conversation. :o

This isn’t to say that I’m a weirdo. I’m not about to tell you about my latest bowel movement, or what I was doing with three males, a giraffe, and a six foot length of hose last night, but if I don’t have any friends with me, and we’re stuck in an area for a longish period of time, I might say “hi” and segue from there.

See, I have the attention span of a jackrabbit on No-Doz, and that means that things like standing in line are incredibly tedious for me. So I’ll talk. However, I also seem to be a weirdo magnet–I get very, very strange people attatched to me. Like the guy who came up to me one time at a store and said, “you have a Nirvana patch on your bag. Guess what music I like?” I say, “Nirvana.” He says, “Nope; Marilyn Manson.” Then he starts talking about how he knows Aramaic (he doesn’t) and follows me around until I start hiding behind my boyfriend. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he was a nice kid, but…it’s a bit freaksome, you know? And this happens to me all the freaking time!

Put me in a room with three normal people and a schizophrenic who appears normal. How do you know which one’s the schizophrenic? He’s the one striking up a conversation with me.

SEE? SEE?!?! This is the kind of thing I’m talking about!

People like us, who just attract the weird, NEED some kind of preemptive strike thing! I say buy your friend that damned tee shirt, and get one for me too!

I have nice people chat me up, and I am normally pretty free and talk to those around me too. I once had a woman tell me all about her health problems (she couldn’t poo, had gone to the doctor, had to get an operation) and at some point in her rambling casually said she was stupid and dumb and wished she would just die. I did the usual “hmm-hmm” and polite smile and then realized what she had just said. I tried to say a few esteem-bolstering things but she didn’t seem convinced. I felt so sad that this woman was so unhappy with herself she’d say that to a complete stranger.

I’ve had a lot of odd encounters with strangers, come to think of it. Meh, that’s life.

I tend to have a bit too much faith in people, and often am probably too nice to the random person who strikes up a conversation. It’s made me some friends, but it’s also gotten some serious weirdos attached to me.

For example, there’s the terrible-smelling middle-aged man at work who absolutely must talk to me at length no matter where I am, or what I’m doing. He’s also a diagnosed schizophrenic and probable pedophile. Good going, Kody!

Then, there’s the super-religious girl at school who won’t stop calling. Over the summer she would call three or four times a day, then leave rude voicemail messages when I didn’t call back. Get the damn hint.

The absolute worst is a 13 year-old, again at work, who thinks of me as his best friend. I understand that he doesn’t have a good home life and probably has psychological problems. I’ve been polite, and he just friggin’ latched on. NO, I don’t want to talk to you about whatever random detritus is floating through your head. I won’t do it at work, and I certainly won’t do it on my own time.

Plainly, this is just one of those things that SOME folks understand, and some folks do NOT.

Neither my friend – nor I, for that matter – have a problem with people talking to us. Striking up conversations with complete strangers is NOT the problem here. I talk to complete strangers all the time. So does my chum. Being polite to our fellow human beings is NOT a chore. I would not describe my friend as a “misanthrope”.

The problem here is people who strike up conversations… and then quickly assume a greater level of intimacy than one is comfortable with… and then begin to assume a greater level of friendship than one is comfortable with… sometimes going so far as to invade one’s personal space… and usually yammering nonstop about an issue that THEY assume you are interested in, whether you want to hear about it or not.

Here’s a hint, folks: If one is a good LISTENER, one almost CANNOT be the kind of person I’m talking about here. Listeners LISTEN. They percieve subtle interpersonal cues. They COMMUNICATE.

The kind of person I was talking about is NOT a communicator. He simply yammers at you, operating on the mistaken assumption that you wish to hear what he is yammering about, because the two of you have suddenly become chums through some instantaneous process that YOU completely missed, somehow.

I wouldn’t even call these people “jerks”. It’s not their fault. They don’t generally MEAN to be annoying. It’s simply the failure to grasp a few important social skills, that’s all. My friend in question was simply voicing the opinion that you tend to encounter these guys in comic book shops, and he sure would like some manner of flagging them away from himself without actually having to say, “I don’t give a shit about you or your opinions. Go away and leave me alone.”

Note to Self: find old Me, Mom & Morgentaler album.
Get song “I don’t want to be your friend.” Dub to cassette.
Take mini-cassette player around with me.
Hit Play when I meet Wang-ka at Dopefest.