Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Nomad, Oct 30, 2019.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Have you heard of author Malcom Gladwell!? I have read some of his books in the past and thought they were great. He has a new one called “Talking to Strangers.” I’ve only read a little so far, but it seems to be largely about misunderstandings between people.

    This point was driven home in a HUGE way recently for me.

    I have bad eyesight in one eye. I don’t tell many people. This is a silly hang up on my part.

    I’ve had to go to a series of appointments in an area of town that requires going on an expressway no one likes due to construction and bad traffic. I never use this expressway due to my vision issue.

    I go perhaps once a month to this place. Let’s say it’s for dental work. My husband always drives. There is a famous Italian restaurant near by and if it’s lunch time, we often try to go there for lunch.

    One day I noticed two of the employees there whispering. Finally, one asks “Why does your husband always come with you?”


    I told her because he wants to take a break from his work day and hit up the nearby Italian restaurant too...we would never go normally. This answer was largely true. But definitely not the entire story.

    I had a few crazy guesses as to why they asked.

    I found out later...there may have been concern that my husband was abusive and didn’t let me go places by myself. Omgomgomg
    Nothing could be further from the truth. He is the nicest guy EVER!

    Bottom line....wow...what a lesson.A lesson about guessing what people are thinking.

    I suspected something was bothering them and I was right about that. BUT my guesses were completely wrong as to why. And their guess (s) regarding why my husband was there were also totally WRONG!!!!

    The complete story was not known and that was a large part of the problem.

    Everyone was guessing and it was all incorrect.

    I know some in my family can be secretive. It is largely if not compleletly their prerogative. But, it can lead to confusion.

    Lesson 1 for me...One doesn’t always have to be secretive. It depends on the situation. It’s a choice. Sometimes it might be a good idea to be candid to avoid confusion. This, in my mind is still a choice but maybe requires a little thought.

    Lesson 2 (the main one)...Avoid (big time) guessing when you see something a little unusual. If it’s extremely important or hurting you in some way, you can ask.

    If it’s not urgent/hurting you, perhaps best to let it go and big time avoid guessing what is going on. You very well might not have a true understanding of the full story.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    OMG. This is one of the strangest stories I can recall hearing. I mean. Of all of the reasons for your husband to be driving you. What about care? What about wanting to be with you? What about, he likes to drive, and you don't?

    Of course it may be admirable on their part to have concern for you. But was it that, or spreading tales? I feel bad for your husband who was only being loving, kind and protective.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Well, that’s when it hit me. It was a weird, eye opening experience.

    Certain family members of mine are secretive. Not sure how I feel about that. It can be a little mean in my mind especially among family. But, I digress....

    Things they do sometimes don’t add up. Doesn't make sense. I can guess all I want why they behave in ways that seem strange or annoying. I might be right now and again. But chances are high , I’m wrong. Especially if you factor in that I’m missing parts of a story.

    These folks were totally off the mark regarding my husband. I mean in left field.

    It just brought the point home.

    We often don’t know the whole picture.

    But...reason or not...one should never be hurtful , mean , dishonest or abusive. That’s a separate issue.

    It was just one of those “aha” moments.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
  4. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I understand the concerns... I've worked in medical offices and I remember a couple of cases where the man would not leave his spouse/girlfriend alone, even for exams or tests that they were usually asked to leave the room.

    One lady even had a note written out that she needed help which she left in the room after they left to go home.

    Scary! Ksm
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  5. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I always ask if my husband can come with me for appointments. I don't like doctors and my husband makes me feel safer. It never occurred to me that anyone would wonder about that.

    I don't really worry too much about what others think about me. If people want to write false stories in their minds based on other people in bad situations.or what they see on television....it doesn't matter to me. I used to look at smiling well dressed families and think "Wow, they probably are so happy." Then we had Kay and she was always dressed to the nines and friendly smiley in public, like her Dad and me. But anyone who looked at us with envy could not have been more wrong!
  6. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Interesting topic, Nomad.

    A few years ago I belonged a to an online board that got into a discussion about what they (assumed) random strangers were thinking about them as they walked down the street with their spouses/significant others. It was informative.

    Seems that everyone who chimed in seemed to believe that others were focusing on them and that they were the center of attention in most situations out in public.

    Several thought that people were jealous or envious of them because of their or their spouses’ looks and dress. A couple of people assumed people were thinking negative things about their (presumed) age differences or interracial relationships. Some thought that people envied their obvious wealth or possessions.

    They all were in agreement about one thing though—they themselves didn’t have any of those thoughts about random strangers and barely noticed their existence.

    No one noticed the irony.
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  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    What an interesting conversation this is! I've often wished I could crawl inside someone else's head and see what they were thinking, what their lives were like, how they lived...I'm insanely curious about the most mundane parts of other people's lives and how they differ from mine. But what goes on upstairs...that would be neat to know.

    Gosh if I were in Apple's study I'd have thought they either didn't notice me or critiqued the old fat woman's appearance. I wouldn't think they were envious for darn sure! But mostly I figure I'm as invisible to them as they are to me. I do seldom notice people on the street. But then I barely remember the names of the coworkers and would be hard pressed to describe most people I met. It's a personality flaw, I know.

    But, to get to the starter:

    That's just weird. Why on earth would anyone think going to lunch at a famous restaurant once a month with your husband is odd?
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  8. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi, lil!

    Nice to see you hear again!

    I’m not positive, but you may be thinking the same thing I did at first—that it was the restaurant employees that were concerned about Nomad being in the company of her husband while dining.

    I think she means the doctor/dental office employees were concerned that her hubby is always at the appointments with her.

    I was thinking—everyone goes to restaurants with their SO...what is wrong with these people? Oh, it was me, misunderstanding....

    As to the “study”— it was a younger crowd—late 20s to early 40s. I’m sure the conversation would have been different if they were in their 50s and 60s!

    How is your son and his wife doing?
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  9. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    OH! LOL! That's totally different. :rolleyes: Still a totally odd thing to mention to someone unless they gave off that sort of "vibe". I mean, maybe she lost her license, or she has some phobia...it's not their business really why her husband drives her. Still, I guess it's nice they were concerned. So few people are these days.

    I'm going to answer on a different thread. :)
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I read it like Lil (and Apple, at first.) That it was the restaurant employees. If it had been the medical office employees, there would have been (hopefully) a written protocol where they would have asked about abuse (elder, domestic, etc.) and requested a signature. It would have been dated. It would not have been by means of gossip.
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think that the bottom line in what you write, Nomad, is not taking on other people's stuff, their weirdness, their bad behavior, their pettiness. And especially difficult is when they join together, they collaborate in their stories, and we feel like the odd man out. We begin to doubt ourselves and may succumb to thinking they're right. (Do I deserve this bad behavior? Did I do something wrong? Am I bad?--Well, that's me speaking. I won't project onto others.)

    Then can begin the defense. The tendency to fall into me or us versus them. Not in our actions but in our thoughts. And this, we lose ourselves, (temporarily.)

    If we can leave the questionable behavior on the other side of the street, and not go pick it up, so to speak, we save ourselves a great deal of suffering. To me, that's the message of your thread. Because, as you say, we will not know their motives, their real thinking. And even if we could come to know it, as you did with your doctor's visit, what difference does it make?

    The thinking, the tales, the weirdness, is all theirs. It's not yours. Or mine. In your case, you have a wonderful, kind, gentle, and loving husband. End of story.
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    It’s funny that the title of this was “misunderstandings” and there was one in regard to my thread.

    “Bottom line....wow...what a lesson.A lesson about guessing what people are-thinking.”

    We can only guess what another person is thinking. Odd behaviors could indicate something...but what? We can guess...but we might guess wrong. If they are secretive, you might be getting false or partial info making the situation more confusing. Guessing can and often is a long shot in terms of accuracy. In fact, you might be WAY off base.

    Again, a lesson about guessing what people are thinking. Certainly, never take your guess too seriously or take action on a guess.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
  13. louise2350

    louise2350 Member

    That is so nosy and strange that the medical people would ask you why your husband is always with you. I guess some people don't have better things to do than wonder these things. I, too, don't care to drive and find others to take me if I need to go somewhere where I don't know how to get to. It's no big deal. Some people need a life, I guess. This is also so unprofessional of them to ask you that question.