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I've been meaning to do more writing, so when I read autodidactic's post on this topic and felt suddenly inspired, I decided that I'd better not waste the opportunity...

Why do you think it is some people don't get along with you?


Three main reasons, I suspect:

I'm sarcastic
This can alienate people who are intrinsically sincere, or who don't realise that I'm not. I've been known to use inappropriate language and blithely assume that listeners will realise that I don't mean it, though I'm trying to stop doing that. It's perilously easy to do wrong, and it makes the arrogant assumption that anyone who doesn't like it just doesn't get it.

I'm picky
I'm very dismissive of people (though I hope I don't let this show too much.) If I meet someone through friends I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, because, hey, my friends have good taste. In almost any other context, my default assumption seems to be that people I meet will have nothing to offer me, and that the onus is on them to convince me otherwise, i.e. 'Fuck you, I've got enough friends'. I rarely make any effort to get to know people at work, big parties, family do's or whatever, beyond the amount necessary to blend in and to keep myself entertained.

You're in or you're out
For some reason, my mental distinction between Friends and Others is very strong. If someone is in the Friends set, I'm interested in their woes, care by proxy about their family and interests, and will put myself out to see them and to help them. With Other people, none of that is true. Their drama just makes me feel uncomfortable, their lives are tedious (unless they generate really good anecdotes), and they merit only enough effort to avoid actual rudeness. I know everyone's like this to a greater or lesser extent, it just surprises me sometimes that I'm so... binary about this.

On re-reading, I'm beginning to think that these could be all be boiled down into one convenient bullet point:

I'm an elitist misanthropic prick
That might be fair, I fear. All I can say in my defense is that I try not to act like it...


ETA:
As ever, there is a Daily Dinosaur Comic that says it better than I ever could:

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
claire
Mar. 26th, 2008 06:26 pm (UTC)
... you're sarcastic? I never noticed. ;)
oxfordhacker
Mar. 27th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
Oh noes! Taken seriously!
I may have been over-emphasising my sarcasm cues when we met. It's something I tend to do with new company in general, and with Americans in particular. You know what they're like: they hear an English accent, and they think you're the fucking BBC.

I blame the World Service.
claire
Mar. 27th, 2008 12:26 am (UTC)
Re: Oh noes! Taken seriously!
I'd rather be the BBC than The Crocodile Hunter. (I swear, one more person asks me to say "Crikey" and I will kick 'em in the nuts. Even if they're a girl).
vinaigrettegirl
Mar. 27th, 2008 10:02 am (UTC)
Re: Oh noes! Taken seriously!
My experience with you is that sometimes you do get taken too seriously :-); sometimes you get taken seriously and should be but you don't like that; and sometimes you don't always notice when Us Merkins are taking the michael ourselves. Some of us tractor drivers are doing 25 on a dual carriageway full of traffic because we enjoy the queues of posh cars behind us. Teasing you can be fun.

But I don't know those people who don't like you, so AFAIC it's a moot point.
oxfordhacker
Mar. 27th, 2008 01:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh noes! Taken seriously!
Ahhh, the struggle between sarcasm and counter-sarcasm. At it's finest, it's like an elegant conversational judo. However, there remains a very real danger of escalation. Techniques like (my favorite) Ha Ha, Only Serious serve to complicate matters even further. How many layers of irony can the human mind countenance?
vinaigrettegirl
Mar. 27th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)
de-escalate! de-escalate!
Ideally, HHOS only escalates into laughter of mutual recognition. We live in the ideal world, of course.

How many layers of irony can the human mind countenance? Possible answers:

(a) My personal glass ceiling runs up to xkcd, but I'm awfully fond of the dinosaurs.

(b) She'll never take it, Captain! You can't repeal the laws of physics!

(c) It's Life, Jim, but not as we know it.

But on a serious note (say, A' above middle C?), all you suffer from is uncharitableness, which is surprisingly easy to cure without too much loss of humo[u]r or hono[u]r. (That's not HHOS, incidentally, just boring old Oh She Took It Seriously Again [eyeroll]. Shame you're too intelligent for me to stick to HHOS.)
oxfordhacker
Mar. 28th, 2008 10:53 pm (UTC)
Seriousness in a thread about sarcasm. You play a dangerous game...
all you suffer from is uncharitableness

I guess so. I used to feel quite bad about this, but I have since figured that as long as I act reasonably charitably, that's functional identical to having a genuinely charitable nature. Only I know of the howling spiritual void beneath my caring veneer...
oxfordhacker
Mar. 28th, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC)
...except now the internet does as well. Shit.
vinaigrettegirl
Apr. 1st, 2008 11:01 am (UTC)
[I]t knew already, yanno. Goes along with the whole elitist misanthropic prickiness vibe you project (and build into your coding advice, too; your uncharitableness, man, gets passed on from one version to the next like some 'orrible virus, it does).

I think I managed to get this up before noon on the day of posting...
bluedevi
Mar. 26th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
I ran into the sarcasm problem when I first got to know Neal, and he'd say things like "men should never talk about their feelings because it always sounds manipulative". I'd take him seriously and we'd have a drunken debate that would end with him saying "you didn't think I was serious, did you? Only a crazy person would say something like that." Trouble was, I'd spent four years living with someone who did say things like that and mean them passionately at the time, though he would have changed his mind completely the following day. It threw my sarcasm detectors way out of whack.

Mind you, they were never great to begin with.
oxfordhacker
Mar. 28th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
Sarcasm calibration can be a difficult thing
When mr_snips and I were both in ousfg, the president of the society had an ingenious technique for creating discussion meetings wit minimal preparation. He'd simply deploy an introductory line consiting of a grain of truth in a rich coating of ambiguity or overstatement, then sit back and watch the rest of us pick it apart. The example that springs to mind was: 'All science fiction is about war.'

I cannot help but suspect that mr_snips occasionally employs a similar gambit to kick off conversations...
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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