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I Need Some Advice

I think I am not understanding anyone's motives or even getting what the implications are for anything sometimes.  I'm still (???)ing over a recent conversation, typed online.  I'm not sure what I did wrong.  The conversation ended so abruptly that I'm not sure what to think...

Acquaintance Person:  Hi. I have missed you at church.

Me:  (silence for a bit)

(Thinking:  Hmm... she seems to be asking why I'm not going anymore without asking directly.  SO glad I'm typing because in real life, I'd launch into it.  And I don't want to get nasty about the church she is still attending.  I want to say something nice.  Whew.  I can be *so* much more discerning in type.  But that doesn't mean I'm very discerning even with a sec to think before I type... what to sayyyy?  Something nice.  Here goes...)

Me:  Hi!  Thanks.  How are you doing?  How is (adult son) doing in (organization)?

Person:  (ADULT SON) WAS UNABLE TO JOIN (organization) BECAUSE (obvious disqualification).

Me:  (Why the caps suddenly?  I don't get it.) Oh, that's too bad.  I'm sure he'll do great once he (does the thing that qualifies).


Me:  Ok!  Nice chatting with you.

Person: BYE

Me:  (???)

Ok.  Please analyze the conversation.  WHAT did I do wrong here?  The silence part?  The asking about her son? I think I need some social skills classes or something.  I feel really bad.  I am always doing something not right.  The other night a dear sweet teenager came to say hello to me at the autism center.  She is a volunteer there.  STUPID me told her that I did not recognize her because she was not wearing a white shirt like last time.  Duh.  She was probably one of the nicest people ever and AFTER she said something ohhhh! I recognized her face.  But I wasn't thinking about it without the right shirt.  That's dopey.  People change their shirts!! So... why didn't I recognize her?  She was even in the same place I saw her last time.  Arg.  That was rude of me.  I do this to everybody who isn't my best friend for about three years. 

And duuuh.  There's this other lady that goes to the autism center.  I could tell you her name and 50 things (no exaggeration!) about her and her family, and I know personal things and all kinds of stuff.  But I don't recognize her with her hair down.  I figured this out after she kept talking to me the other day as if she knew me pretty well.  But I thought maybe she was someone the director hired to do the presentation that day so I was guardedly nice, wondering why she had that happy "I know you well" sort of dance to her.  We had to sit and chat with her a long time before I sort of had an inkling of who she was.  I didn't know for sure until someone else called her name.

STUPID stuff like that.  She probably thought I was snobby and unfriendly.  Yeah, kinda!  I was, looking back on it.  Sorry.  But I didn't say anything to her about it in case maybe everyone would think that I have Alzheimers or something.  But you can't lose what you never had.  I do that when I'm driving, too... just keep going and hope I recognize the place soon.  Do you know how terrifying highways are?  You could wind up most anywhere.  I will go to Wal-Mart.  I will go to Sam's Club.  The doctor's office.  A few places nearby I know.  Please do not ask me to go anywhere new, ever.  (I am freaking out just thinking about it.)

Still, I could always tell my father and my uncle apart even when their wives could not.  They were identical twins.  But they were so, so different.  Some lady wears the wrong colour shirt, though, and all bets are off.

I hope I haven't offended this person I chatted with online tonight.  I'm not sure what to think.  Feeling guilty and going over and over the conversation in my mind.  So, lemme have it.  Surely it can't be worse than what I'm feeling and saying to myself already.  There is probably some very obvious "rule" that I have overlooked, such as, "I know you must be busy, so I will let you go," is a polite way to say, "Go away now because I'm done."



  1. Mrs. C, You crack me up. I totally do that thing where I just drive and hope I remember what street to turn on. Like "well, something will look familiar eventually!" One time I left the house completely barefoot. Just forgot shoes. Who does that? Someone who's had babies, that's who. I was way smarter before kids.

    As for the online thing...maybe she was embarrassed (good grief, I can never spell that right) that her son was not accepted into the organization? Maybe she was fishing for info on why you are not at church and was annoyed when you didn't want to gossip? Maybe her cat jumped up, hit the CapsLock key and then puked on her and she was freaking out trying to clean it up?

    Maybe a lot of things, but maybe it didn't have anything to do with you at all - something might have happened at home that caused her to be abrupt. Don't feel bad, Mrs. C. I think you're swell.

  2. lol Well, you know about my driving skills. No need to feel bad about yours. Who knows about the other? Some people are just weird. You sound normal to me. Her I don't know about. In my world she's way odd. Does that help or is it scary having friends like me?

  3. I'm with Deb. Either she just wasn't wanting to go there about her son, or something else happened that didn't have anything to do with you. It's so hard to tell with that kind of thing.

    I personally hate those chat things, like on facebook. I'm just sitting there browsing when suddenly someone pops up wanting to chat live. Even if it's a close friend I always feel pressure to keep the conversation going even if I have a screaming kid in the background, or something else pressing. It makes me nervous. I am weird, or what?

    About the not remembering faces thing, I was wondering if you are (like moi) very auditory, and not very visual. That could be a reason that you don't remember faces well if the hairstyle or something is different. I am pretty good at remembering names, but I also sometimes have a hard time with faces. I second guess myself a lot. I don't think you're weird. Or, maybe we're both weird! At least I'm in good company!!! :o)

  4. I don't like the chat things; you always feel rushed. Facebook messaging is so much better or conversations on a wall; you get back to them as you can, but there's not that rush to them on either party's side, and it ends more smoothly as no goodbyes are necessary.

    I wonder if maybe the other person also doesn't feel comfortable with the chat format?

    If it makes you feel any better, I didn't recognize you when you commented at the directory because you'd changed your screen name!

  5. Whewww... I thought it was just me...

    KWombles, sorry! I tried to remember each time I popped somewhere new to mention I changed my screen name. There are about 5,000 Mrs. Cs out there but how many Happy Elf Moms do you figure I'm up against? :)

  6. hah, I bet the new one is pretty unique! :-)

  7. My guess: She thought, 'Oh, I should encourage Mrs. C to come to church again because I haven't seen her around lately and it'd be good for her to come.'

    She then hastily typed her message. And then realized she had to be off.

    Your question threw a wrench in her next step, so she got a little flustered (all caps?) and started to really feel the pressure to get moving. However, your question also reminded her of her current frustration, which further emphasized her fluster-nation (seen in her all caps).

    As for not recognizing people: I have the same curse. Only, worse than that, I don't remember names either. I see people and it's like I've never seen them before my life... when, in fact, I spent three weeks with them in one-on-one interaction just a month ago.

    [cough] So, even though we are best buds here on the interwebs, please don't be offended if I don't recognize you right off if we're ever in the same place in the Real World.

    I can't tell you how many times someone has said in the most familiar tone, "Hi, Luke!"

    And I've started at them with the panicked thought, 'I have no idea who you are or where I know you from.'


  8. Live chats? I am not good at small talk in real life. I certainly don't want to chat virtually. I hide myself whenever I am online. I, for one, don't see anything wrong with your conversation. I wonder if she would have preferred the truth?

    As for the other things...

    There are several members of my husband's family who have actual diagnosis of autism/austistic spectrum disorder. My husband would fit cleanly into some but not all of the diagnostic criteria. My oldest daughter is, as you know, not nuerotypical. My first boyfriend, in fact my first fiance, I now look back on and know because I now know what it looks like... that he has FAS. My own grandmother thought I was retarded because I didn't act "normal." Even though I was smart I was always assigned to teachers with extra patience because I was very emotionally fragile. I didn't rage; I would just start sobbing and withdraw whenever I was overwhelmed.

    And, I am left to believe that I am surrounded by people who are not neurotypical because I am more comfortable with my own kind. Sure, I found a way to overcome and fit into the regular world and have a career and all... but I don't kid myself. I may be near "normal" but I am not typical.

  9. I agree with everything everyone has said. I hope you feel better today. I totally hate things like that--I do them all the time. And I am so bad about remembering faces, seriously bad, especially for a pastor's wife. I usually just pretend to remember and hope that I do at some point in the conversation. Often I leave a conversation, like my interview yesterday (which was really positive), feeling physically sick just from having shared with someone. Isn't that weird? You didn't overlook any rules and you didn't do anything wrong. I like the cat puked on her scenario--that's probably it! Hugs, Bonnie

  10. I can't see where you might have offended her.
    Maybe she hit the CAPS button by accident???
    Don't stress about it.

  11. I don't think you did anything offensive. Most people know that, even if you show up as "active" or whatever, that a delay in responding to an online message is expected. I'm guessing she just hit the all-caps key and doesn't know what all-caps means.

    And oh my goodness, I'm with you on recognizing people. No problem with women, but men? All look alike. I really ought to sign up for one of those over-hyped, over-priced courses on social memory :)

  12. What you describe sounds like faceblindness. Lots of people with autism have it but so do some NTs. My roommate in college was typical, but I read on her blog that other day that she has a very hard time recognizing people in the wrong setting or wearing the wrong clothes.

  13. Car issue.... GPS... I got tired of pulling over to the side of the road and crying.

    Recognizing people... Imagine being the most recognizable person in a group (often the only black person). That's my issue. Then everyone expects you to remember them as easily as they remember you... So I get hey Andrea, what's up... and I am looking at this person I don't know from Adam saying Hey.... you!!!!

    Finally... the snob... that's the impression I got. Remember 95% of a person's problem with you is their personal issue.



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