Friday, February 4, 2011

Do you think I was rude to this girl?

On my first flight, I was comfortably seated in what I thought was my middle seat, when two guys came to the row, presumably to occupy the aisle and window seats. I excitedly moved over to the window so one could sit with his buddy. I love window seats! But soon the guy who REALLY owned the window seat came by and I discovered the guy I "gave up my seat" to was actually the rightful owner of that middle seat. Turned out my seat was a couple rows back (I was reading an old ticket stub).

The new guy wanted his window seat. Not my middle seat in the back. He was very sweet about it. You could tell he was uncomfortable making me move but he really wanted his seat. I was ok because it was my fault, and if I were him, I would insist on my seat. Also I didn't want him to think I was one of THOSE people.***

On the return flight today, I had thought a little boy sitting next to his mom was sitting in my seat. Because I made the mistake on my flight out, I first checked my ticket before sitting down in what I thought was his window seat and exclaimed, "OH whoops, my seat is behind you. That's too bad because I sure would have taken that empty window seat." They laughed, which was cool.

But the girl I was now sitting next to also laughed, because she was on the first flight and remembered me making the same mistake. I was laughing with her at first, because hey, it was funny and I am kinda loud, hard to miss. But then she turned critical and mean toward me, how dumb that is to make the same mistake twice. Like I was some feeble-minded old lady who she was patronizing. I'm not saying that's really how she felt. I'm saying that's how I felt, and I could have misinterpreted. I feel triggered when I think people are laughing with me and suddenly I realize they are laughing *at* me.

I then ignored her for the rest of the flight. If she asked or said something to me (and it was obvious she was talking to me, not under her breath) I pretended I didn't hear and kept doing whatever I was doing. It wasn't til the end of the flight that I realized what she was trying to do. She was trying to apologize for her rudeness, in that weird way NTs apologize without really saying they're sorry. I actually wrote a blog post about this a while back, called "Indirect Apologies, but sometimes I forget stuff I've learned.

My question to you all is, do you think I was too rude? How would you have handled her, if at all?

- Paris

***You know THOSE people, don't you? Most of my jobs have required a lot of travel. I actually WORK with people who will move up and take other people's seats just because most times people won't challenge. Or they'll sit together up front as a couple (in two seats not theirs). When the first rightful owner comes up the one guy says, do you mind taking my seat so I can sit next to my friend. Usually the rightful owner, trying to be a nice guy, will say ok even though you can tell he's not happy. And they'll do the same thing to the next rightful owner. So they've effectively conned two people out of their up front seats.


AbigailSchindler said...

What you mean by "she turned critical and mean toward me". What did she say? Was it possible she was just being sarcastic?

Either way, I would say extending a little grace is in order. If she was trying to talk to you later on in the flight, there's a good chance she never intended to hurt you.

Gavin Bollard said...

I didn't get any sense of how she turned mean towards you. Are you sure it happened because you didn't supply any specifics?

I find that one thing that gets me through life is the assumption that people are generally nice. I usually take slightly negative sounding comments as "accidental" and let them pass. I know I've said some "positive" things to people and had them interpreted as "bad" so I give everyone the benefit of doubt.

Also; Even if someone else is negative, it doesn't mean that you need to stoop to their level. You're better than that.

You can demonstrate that you have good self esteem by allowing them their moment of "evil" without feeling like you need to retaliate.

I know that you're very religious and Christian, so ask yourself, "what would Jesus do".

Turn the other cheek - you're already better than the other person and you don't need to prove anything.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to tell. But I do hate those indirect apologies. And NTs don't realize it but (at least for me) there's a very thin line between laughing *with* me and laughing *at* me.

If you felt offended by what she said, and she obviously could tell by the way she was fake apologizing, she could've just said, "hey - I hope I didn't upset you. I really was just teasing."

That's what I find so frustrating about communicating with NTs. They rarely say what they're feeling unless you're lucky enough to stumble upon a blunt one.

SavedAspie said...

Thanks Maria, for your comment.

I'm finding that sometimes NTs are, in their mind, clearly communicating but I'm not picking it up.

It's like the girl who wonders why the guy she just met isn't returning her phone calls/texts even though they had a great time on their first date or two. This is a very real NT problem, not just aspies, lol! I read the dating sites where girls ask "why won't he tell me how he feels," and the guy giving advice says, "he *IS* telling you how he feels. His words say, 'Let's be friends' but his actions say 'I never want to see you again.' Don't read his words, read his actions. Or, at the very least, learn to interpret 'Let's be friends' as 'I never want to see you romantically again. ever'"

I'm trying hard to apply that to all people interactions...not just dating...telling myself: "don't focus on the words...focus on what's around the words."

Unfortunately, I still have a lot of room for growth in this area.

Anonymous said...

Cripe, you bring up a good point. Maybe you're right - maybe they actually are communicating well and we're just not picking up on it.

I'm newly (self) diagosed...and although the dx sheds a ton of light on my life, my past and all the confusing social situations I've experienced, it's hard for me to break old habits and realize that chances are the confusion's on my end, not theirs.

Apparently I have quite a bit of growing to do in this area as well, so take comfort in knowing you're not alone! ;)