Author Topic: Finally, a chance to post here.  (Read 3669 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Thipu1

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6949
Finally, a chance to post here.
« on: January 12, 2009, 11:59:07 AM »
This is the story of a woman I'll call Jan.  She's sweet, she's funny, she's smart.  She's also a very easy person with work with.  Unhappily, Jan's also an Olympic-Class conclusion jumper. 

In our office, most people choose to have lunch in the staff room. Each of us takes a piece of the New York Times.  We read as we eat and interesting discussions often follow*

Here are some examples of Jan's odd conclusions.

1)  The article was about a graphic novel used in Europe to teach children between the ages of ten and fourteen about the Holocaust.  There was a little discussion.  Jan's reaction?

"Oooh, you're really into Manga, aren't you?"

Noo.  The only graphic novels I've read were 'Maus' and 'Persepolis'.  I have nothing against Manga, it just isn't a genre I enjoy. 

2)  The article concerned a man who had several children, a busy house and who wanted a bit of adult peace.  He built himself a retreat in his back yard.  There was a little discussion.  Jan's reaction?

"Oooh, you're an avid gardener, aren't you?"

Noo.  If the truth be told, houseplants flinch when I approach.  They all know that the touch of my hand is the touch of death for them.  Even grass parts before me as I walk across a lawn. 

This sort of thing happens at least once a week and it's been going on for a year or more.  Perhaps Jan's Championship jump happened when I wished her a Happy Thanksgiving a week early.  I explained that we would be enjoying the holiday on a cruise ship en route to Hawaii.  Jan's reaction?

"Oooh, You're going to retire on one of those live-aboard ships, aren't you?"

Noo.  Those things don't interest us at all.  They're ruinously expensive and you still have to maintain a land-based address for tax purposes. 

Thanks to EtiquetteHell, I've learned to use "What an interesting assumption" when questions of this nature arise.  Jan isn't being rude and I don't mind answering her.  Her questions are more amusing than annoying.  Still, "What an interesting assumption" said in a friendly way helps a lot.

*  FWIW :  By unspoken agreement, the discussions of newspaper articles are limited to sections of the paper dealing with art, food and home.  Politics and news in general is Verboten unless we're talking about a natural disaster and the horrors that entails.             

   

ShadesOfGrey

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12682
Re: Finally, a chance to post here.
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2009, 12:09:11 PM »
I think "What an interesting assumption" is best used for rude people. In your case a "Why would you think that?" might work better.  Or even a "Actually no, I dislike X very much. Why do you say that?"

Hope that helps!
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

SisJackson

  • Wear Sunscreen!
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1421
Re: Finally, a chance to post here.
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2009, 12:29:47 PM »
I wonder if Jan isn't just floundering for a way to add something to the conversation (especially if she doesn't contribute a whole lot to the actual discussion) and is just throwing random guesses out there.  In any case, it makes her sound a mite thick in the head.  But you're probably not going to cure her of it.  My recommendation would be to:

  • Allow Jan to participate fully in the way she currently does
  • Memorize all her "interesting assumptions"
  • Carefully repost them here for our reading pleasure

Thank you.

[O/T:  I love that you can have discussions like that.  When I was younger I worked in environments where people probably couldn't read all the words in a NYT article much less discuss one intelligently.]

bluebirds

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1004
Re: Finally, a chance to post here.
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2009, 12:38:09 PM »
I agree, she doesn't sounds rude or malicious, just attempting to make conversation in her own way.

I guess next time she makes one of those interesting assumptions, you can ask her why she makes them. If you're in a group setting you can always bean dip her and move on to something else. e.g. 'you're a keen gardener' can be answered by 'no, I'm not very good with plants, but I really enjoy fishing'

Thipu1

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6949
Re: Finally, a chance to post here.
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2009, 01:02:40 PM »
To all,

Jan is an artist in a way I can never hope to be.  She has exhibited her works in group shows and one-woman shows in quite prestigious galleries here in NYC. 

I don't use 'What an interesting assumption' in our conversations.  However, E-Hell has made me think about using it and that serves me well in other situations. 

Jan is a bit hard of hearing.  She wears hearing aids and part of the problem may be that she doesn't hear everything we say.  Everyone in the Library (including me) is a bit odd but we all get along well.       

bluebirds

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1004
Re: Finally, a chance to post here.
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2009, 01:05:46 PM »
With the extra BG, now it just sounds like Jan picks up bits of the conversation and uses that to guide what she says in it.

Nurvingiel

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12404
Re: Finally, a chance to post here.
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2009, 04:00:59 AM »
I'd give Jan a bit of a break since she's hard of hearing.  It's quite possible that having a conversation with multiple people is difficult for her.  What she should do is say, "Do you like gardening/manga/whatever," but still I'd be less blunt than, "What an interesting assumption."

I've always thought that one is for people who tell you that obviously you and your SO will soon be engaged; something nosy or rude.
If I had some ham, I could have ham and eggs, if I had some eggs.

GoldenGemini

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1857
  • One of these days, Alice....
Re: Finally, a chance to post here.
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2009, 11:29:50 PM »
I'd give Jan a bit of a break since she's hard of hearing.  It's quite possible that having a conversation with multiple people is difficult for her. 

I am hearing-impaired, and more than one person talking is a nightmare for me.  I deal with it slightly differently than Jan, though as I tend to just nod my head and smile.  Jan might be more socially inclined and wish to participate in the conversation.  I know I have said some pretty weird things on occasion, because I mis-heard a good deal of the conversation.


Consistency
It's only a virtue if you're not a screwup   - Demotivators(R)

Thipu1

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6949
Re: Finally, a chance to post here.
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2009, 04:58:32 PM »
Jan is not marginalized in our conversations.  She's in the middle of it and often initiates the discussion.  The room is fairly quiet and only three people are there at a time.  She can hear me perfectly well when we walk out into the Library stacks and she can only see the back of my head.

Jan just thinks a bit differently than other people do and, to be frank, that's a good thing for me to learn.  ;)

GertrudeMcFuzz

  • Guest
Re: Finally, a chance to post here.
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2009, 02:11:38 AM »
I think it's partly conclusion-jumping, partly thinking differently, and partly trying to fit in or add to the conversation but perhaps lacking in a social skill or two. Maybe your stock responses could be a gentle laugh and, "Oh, Jan, you're so funny!" or "Only you would think of that, Jan!"

Thipu1

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6949
Re: Finally, a chance to post here.
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2009, 12:09:12 PM »
Jan is a sweet person and I would never intentionally hurt her.  I will iterate that she is never shut out of our conversations.  She's always makes good contributions.  I WILL say that she does interject oddness at times.

She makes life interesting and does make life interesting.  That's never a bad thing, is it?