In a Pit thread, the posters helped me realize I did something stupid. It was Yet Another occasion where I demonstrated incorrect behavior that I’d seen demonstrated in another social situation without understanding the nuances. This happens to me alot. A snippet from the other thread (whereupon I told someone they were terse and offended them):
So the general question is, if you can’t accurately learn proper behavior/manners/whatever from social interactions with people, how DO you learn it? Sometimes I wish we still had charm school because I could surely use it. Here are some other situations I’ve run into where people have completely befuddled me:
I grew up painfully shy and timid so didn’t get properly socialized as a kid, and I’m sure that’s the root of my problem. So in social situations, I could not make small talk and was too shy to talk to people much. It made going to parties and such really painful for me. Some time in my twenties I read that a trick to helping people like you better was to tell them something about yourself. I thought I’d try it at a birthday party thrown by my boyfriend’s cousin. After we came into the house, one of his cousins walked over and said “Hi JC, how are you”? Trying to seem friendly and not-terse, I said “Great! I got a new job!” His response was to look uncomfortable, tell me he heard the doorbell and had to answer it. And walked away, but NOT to answer the door. I had no clue what I did wrong.
Another time, about ten years later I was better socially but still felt awkward with strangers. I had just started a new job when the company threw an ice cream social during work hours. I went and didn’t know anybody except for my manager. He was talking to someone and I thought maybe he’d introduce me so I walked over. The manager looked at me and said “Do you need something?” I felt like I’d intruded, said no and went over to sit on the chairs lined up along the wall. Yep, a literal wallflower. Later I realized the problem there wasn’t me, but the manager was also socially awkward. I mean, it was an ice cream social. He can talk business if he wants, but if he wanted a private conversation he should have done it somewhere else. Or at the very least, not been so rude to me. (With much hindsight, I also realize that a tougher person may have responded to his rudeness with a direct “Well, Sam, I thought maybe you’d introduce me to this nice person!” Extroverted and jovial people seem to react that way to good effect. I’m always a hundred dollars short and years late with these insights, though.)
As best I can tell in the situations I described, the people just didn’t care for me so they basically gave me the royal brush-off. But I don’t really know.
Anyway, I guess I’m looking for commiseration. Who else feels befuddled by people? How in heck are you supposed to learn how to be properly socialized if people don’t give you any clues, or you miss the clues and nobody says anything?