I said last year that I’m happy to be a minority of one, but I wonder whether it can go to far and I can drive others away entirely, without even meaning to. And, to make matters worse, it might be a family trait…
Let’s start with recent events: I seem to have managed to put two women off me with, in both cases, a single comment. One is the Korean woman that I’d managed to see once; she cut her finger (or so she said) during her job at a florist on the day we were supposed to get together for the second time, and seemed put out when I texted her to ask whether she’d been thinking of me when she did it (i.e. she’d been daydreaming about me and got distracted); my apologies fell on deaf ears (or text-reading eyes), and I’ve not heard from her since, not even the courtesy of an “I’m not interested in seeing you any more”.
In the other case, the American woman of Japanese origin, with whom I thought I potentially had something, e-mailed me on Monday (in response to my asking her out again) to tell me what I did wrong. Aside from the fact that she doesn’t want to hook up with a strict vegetarian (which, again, sounds like an excuse), she’d apparently taken umbrage when I’d expressed surprise at her height, saying that she wasn’t “petite” (as is usually the case for Oriental women), and felt my comment could be interpreted as saying she was “fat”, reminding me that Asians come in all shapes and sizes. It’s always bizarre when someone tells you how you should behave towards the “next” potential date, and I almost burst out laughing when I read this message… because otherwise I’d have cried, considering the emotional investment I’d made even going to see her (at least it was confirmed that the thing had been a date, and that she wasn’t a married woman meeting a new friend).
Let’s not forget the American woman I messaged via a dating site back in the summer of 2012, who flew off the handle when I hesitated regarding phoning her up (she was “traditional” and had guys ring her before meeting); that wasn’t the end of the attempt, but it made me wonder whether I was better off not dating her if she could get so angry over an offhand comment. But now I can’t help but consider the possibility that I just say stupid and unintentionally offensive things when I’m nervous…
(One positive thing I was able to draw from the previous two examples is that both of them were at least considering me from a dating perspective, something I’m finally getting used to now — as I said in my last post, going on one-off dates that don’t seem to lead anywhere is at least better than the utter nothing I had before!)
It’s not just potential girlfriends to whom I seem to say exactly the wrong thing. A few years ago I managed to offend a friend and work colleague of someone very close to me (suffice to say, it was to do with the friend’s Brummy accent), who told me that I’d made their work life very difficult as a result. Since I was planning to share a house with this person, but felt like I’d lost them as a friend, I felt utterly worthless and — for the first time in my life — seriously contemplated ending it all by means other than marching into the street and daring drivers not to brake. Fortunately all was forgiven later (or at least my close friend never brought it up again, and there was no impediment to our house-sharing arrangement), but the memory of my almighty screw-up haunts me to this day.
My mother, bless ‘er, seems to face the same situation as me in her daily life — at work and at the gym, and it’s tearing her apart; I thus have to wonder whether we in our family are just “not on the same wavelength” as most of humanity. I know that when we moved to Worthing, my friend told me I’d brought the bullying onto myself by insulting people when I first joined (I believe his exact words were “you dug yourself into a hole on your first day”), and to be honest, a lot of the time my teenaged classmates just didn’t get my sense of humour, something teachers noted as well. I’ve also had a difficult work life, as it often takes me a while to adjust to new people, and even then I somehow offend those I actually like. Not just this guy and this guy, but also someone I worked with in my HR days, who I certainly never meant to insult… well, I did, but only as far as making him laugh!
These last examples make me doubt that the problem is most people being stupid and taking offence at minor things; perhaps it’s more the case that the people I notice and have relationships with, i.e. the people who aren’t “normal” but instead are interesting and rise above the rest, are just as messed up and sociopathic as me, and thus we end up in petty squabbles when we should be working together. My old “good housemate” reckons he has Asperger syndrome and thus can’t form close relationships with other humans or experience emotions the same way as others; I wonder if that’s actually the case for all “interesting” people, and that we’re all “minorities of one”. Perhaps the most worthy relationships are the ones that can survive these constant tests (like the theory that best friends argue all the time).
Or (and here’s a wild idea), perhaps I’m reading too much into this and actually I’m a perfectly nice person, but still a little weird and nervous because of my long period of introvercy (which I’m only now recovering from), and I’ll get better at my human interactions with a little more practice, learn when to keep my mouth shut and stop putting girls off me after one date. And perhaps my mother’s just stuck living and working in a dismal area full of boring, petty people that aren’t good enough for her, and she needs to escape; this is something I hope we can work towards in 2014, as I’d be delighted not to have to go all the way to Worthing to visit home (especially since it’s, you know, Worthing).
I know one thing: I’ll have found the girl of my dreams if I manage not to offend her in the first three dates!