Today, I had my blood test to see if my health issues are caused by cholesterol. The hardest part about that test was that I wasn’t allowed to take in any sugar and/or food for 12 to 14 hours, so I basically had to control myself hard yesterday to not drink any sodas or any juice or whatever. Either way, today’s post is about “leaving people alone” which was prompted by a tweet I saw a while ago as well as an encounter in my bus today.
So, first up, context: On October 12th, Twitter-User @SpaceCake_Doll tweeted out that she was interrupted by some guy trying to get her attention at the gym only to ask about her Street Fighter shirt. She said no and cranked her music back up. Perfectly normal. Except, people on Twitter tend to get mad over trivial things – creating a lot of gendered responses to the tweet, insulting her in the process and calling her rude. I originally didn’t want to write about this because it’s just been so long already but uh… Something similar happened to me today. I took the bus home from my appointment in the city, it was packed, I saw that a university student next to me was listening to the same album as I was on Spotify and instead of approaching her, trying to get her attention and basically annoying her with “hey, how are you liking the new K.I.Z. album?” or something trivial like that, I decided not to. So, why exactly did I not do that? Well, she had headphones in her ears, so obviously she didn’t want to talk to anybody – hence, why should I interrupt anyone there. It’s perfectly normal not to interrupt someone when they’re busy or when they want to be left alone.
Furthermore, it’s – I believe – a bit weird to just chat up people nowadays in a public context. I mean, it’s a different thing at a social gathering, party, bar or club – but in public, it’s just a bit weird… and often people don’t really have the time to casually chat when they have to catch the next bus or when they have to go to work or lectures or whatever… And also, since I wouldn’t want to get interrupted while I’m enjoying some music or while I’m busy, I don’t interrupt people. It’s a golden rule that you don’t do things that you wouldn’t want others to do to you. I’m not sure if it translates well into English, so: If you don’t like getting punched, don’t punch others. If you don’t like bigotry, don’t be a bigot. It’s not too hard to understand that if you want people to do something, you treat them the same. I guess that can also lead to misunderstandings since that guy in Spacecake’s gym maybe likes to get interrupted by people when he’s in the gym, but I’d argue that most people don’t enjoy being interrupted unless of course, the house is on fire.
Talking to others is a normal thing but it can also be quite anxiety-inducing for me personally, so I naturally don’t want others to go through that. I don’t want to say “as an introvert”, so I’ll just leave it at “because of the way my brain works”, I get drained from social interactions. When I meet up with friends, I feel drained afterwards when I overdo it. Metaphorically speaking, I wake up with ten coins to spend and with every interaction, I lose one coin. Once I have none, I get anxious, I feel drained, and quite literally, I need some alone time again. Other people may deal with these situations differently and they gain one coin with every social interaction, resulting in them feeling better and better the more they went out and stuff. I still like going to parties, I just don’t enjoy randomly chatting up people. Similarly, I don’t mind asking for directions but approaching strangers is still quite hard for me depending on how many spoons or coins I’ve used up already on that day.
And well, if you try to talk to people but they can’t hear you or they’re ignoring you, leave it be and don’t try to get their attention, forcefully. Nobody owes you a response, a “hey” or whatever. Just drop it or walk away awkwardly. Interrupting someone is rude, so I don’t quite get why people are so upset at Spacecake in this scenario. If I was in public and I was minding my own business but someone interrupted me, I’d get annoyed, especially if it’s about something weird or unimportant. Asking about the music I’m listening to would be kinda weird and unimportant. Asking for directions is perfectly fine. Telling me that the house is on fire and that I should leave, is also perfectly fine.
So, to sum it all up: Encounters like that where you ask yourself “Should I chat this person up?” can be perceived differently by different types of people. Someone that really only wants to drink their coffee and read blog posts in public, won’t signal to you that they wanna talk. If someone’s fine with being chatted up, they’ll most likely signal it by i.e. not having their headphones in, hence being able to hear your question or whatever. If you have to ask yourself whether or not you should approach someone who’s listening to music, working out, or who looks busy, then the answer to that question is most likely “don’t”. When someone’s busy, leave them alone. Interrupting people is rude. Saying “no” to people is not. At least, in my opinion. In fact, it’s weird that the people in that tweet’s replies called the one that got interrupted rude which makes no sense at all but that’s just Twitter for you as well as all the (now blocked) incels on there. Oh well…