Social Question

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

What about you threatens others?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38937points) February 26th, 2010

It seems that lately (and this has happened previously, in my life) some people I interact with at my job (and there are many of various professions and levels) find that I am doing too good of a job. My direct supervisors (who are my true supporters) explain some of the tensions I experience when trying to work in a civil manner with many personalities happen to be because I am a threat, in a way, because I am a young, energetic person of integrity and I am passionate about doing my job well and, by comparison, scare others who no longer feel like caring. This doesn’t make me feel any better and just kind of sucks all around. So, that’s example 1.

Example 2 has to do with a lot of my identities (and we’ve discussed all this before so I’ll just keep it short) in terms of sexuality and gender that makes others feel threatened (a recent question about losing friends over some deal-breakers got me thinking about how I’ve lost some because they became obviously threatened about some parts of my life and felt it didn’t mesh with how they wanted to live theirs).

It seems that people often find my views to be a reflection on them (and I know they shouldn’t do this and yes, we’ve discussed how that’s cliche and typical and I shouldn’t pay attention to it) without me even asking for justification of their behavior. For example, some people having issues in their relationship won’t really bring their partners around because (heaven forbid) I talk about my open relationship and the mere mention of these ideas will break them up. Or parents that hear about us and the kids being vegan start rattling off their reasons for feeding their kids something else when this wasn’t even the point of the conversation and I feel like other parents think our ideas about gender are dangerous to their kids.

I am not sure what I feel about being a threat to many people in so many ways. I wish it wasn’t like that, I suppose. I wish people questioned their life, yes, became more educated and informed but for their own sake and never as a response to me.

Anyway, enough about that. Tell me…if you’ve ever felt like a threat. What ideas/actions/practices of yours threaten others, if at all?

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94 Answers

Chongalicious's avatar

The fact that I’m Italian.

Seriously. People think I’m in the mafia or something. :|

ChaosCross's avatar

Few people act upon me as a threat.

A matter of fact, the only real opposition I have personally faced would be fighting others in video games. XD

DrMC's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

a quiet demeanor conceals emotional depth and sheer madness

Muahahahahaha

The excorcism failed

DarkScribe's avatar

When I was younger it would have been fists. ;) Now I don’t threaten anyone. Some people find my career position threatening, but only those who have ambition in my area. I can be pretty ruthless with a red pen.

laureth's avatar

I’m told that I am “intimidating.” Part of it is that I have a face which, in its natural, at-rest state, looks angry. People think I’m angry at them, and avoid me when I’m simply calm. Smiles and placation and social niceties don’t come easily to me, and people find that threatening.

Related to the difficulty of social niceties is that I also don’t take guff very well. If someone is rude (to me, or others around me that are helpless, such as cashiers), I find it difficult to avoid calling them out on it. It makes me look threatening, I guess. If they don’t want that, though, they shouldn’t have been rude in the first place.

But the most threatening of all is my near inability to let bullshit go by unchallenged. People find that to be threatening to their agenda or worldview sometimes. I prefer the Socratic method which makes people think, which is hard for them sometimes, especially if they are better at social niceness than I am and just want everyone in the room to play nice and happy and fake. I can’t play fake very well.

So how do I react? Mostly, I quit caring about what other people thought. I can’t control their reactions. Maybe I try to reason with them, but that’s about it.

ETpro's avatar

As Jim Hightower says in his book, Swim Against the Current, “Even a dead fish can swim with the current.” You buck that current, don’t expect the bunch who drift with it to love what you are doing. But you do stand a chance of getting into waters that aren’t full of rotting fish. :-)

ninjacolin's avatar

eye lazers.

janbb's avatar

My sarcasm and biting wit.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Different thraerts for different folks.Some people get threatened by stupid little things,some get threatened by my M1 Garand.—Those are the sensible ones—;)

DominicX's avatar

Let’s see, I am a small young-looking effeminate gay guy. I’m pretty terrifying. :) Rawr. :D

But seriously, ideologically people sometimes feel threatened by me because I have some pretty radical views on things. Some people are threatened by my homosexuality in general. This isn’t most people; in fact, I haven’t really met anyone outside of the internet who has shown to me that they felt threatened by any of those things. However, this is partly due to the fact that I just don’t voice my views on issues that often in real life. They just don’t come up as much and I am surrounded by liberal people who agree with most of what I believe, so for the most part it’s a non-issue.

As for your examples, it seems like people are often insecure in their own beliefs and have to constantly compare theirs to yours and describes theirs when you’re only talking about yours. I don’t do that; there’s no reason to do that.

Another thing (and this is going to make me sound arrogant, so just bear with me) is that I have come across (truly) people who felt threatened by me because of my intelligence. Very few people, of course, but I have come across a few (one person actually said he didn’t like being with me because I talked “too smart”. That guy was an idiot, but you get the idea). And I don’t impose myself on anyone at all. I am never condescending to people, so I don’t know why anyone would feel threatened by that. Makes no sense to me, but I like said, there are very few examples I can think of.

DarkScribe's avatar

Jean Paul’s cat seems to be napping on his keyboard.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@DominicX yes people have told me the same thing…that I talk ‘too academic’ and use ‘really big words’...this always seems weird to me because English is not my first language and I really don’t think I have such an amazing grasp on it…of course one of these people was my ex-husband and he is threatened by anyone being able to put a sentence together
@DarkScribe he’s just writing a long response and once in a while the baby wakes up and he goes to calm him down

Chongalicious's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I give them the evil eye! Haha if they’re going to be ignorant anyways, I may as well give them a little scare ;)

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Most especially it’s my veganism – people feel threatened that since I, a logical person, have made this decision that I’m somehow passing judgment on them, or that since they haven’t put thought into it, and I have, they worry that if they do, they may make the same conclusion, but they’re not ready to make the dietary change (especially since my reasons are not due to personal trauma.) It also threatens how they interact with me since meals are such a social thing. It makes it hard for people to know how to connect over a meal when they think I’m gagging looking at what they eat (and vice versa.)
I find my reaction to be something of a compromise, because I’m not specifically trying to convert anyone. If they want to know, I’m happy to share my feelings, why I switched. But many don’t want to know, so perhaps it’s the knowledge that they are threatened by. So I’m always torn somewhat between defending my beliefs and not pushing too hard… it’s something people need to come to in their own time.

Otherwise, it seems people are somewhat threatened (significantly less) by my status as a stay at home papa. I get a lot of flak from mothers in the form of unsolicited advice, and from men, who think they’re the first to make the “Mr. Mom” joke. Ha ha. I’m still trying to figure this one out to a certain extent. I understand men fearing, perhaps that women will want them to spend more time with the kids… egad. And maybe some women see this as me encroaching into their territory.
I more or less laugh/shrug off both of these responses. I think the men generally appear to mean it in a rueful way on the surface, but probably are having a truly negative reaction somewhere. I suppose I figure my safest bet is to just play along, as they’re generally not worth the effort it would take to explain that I like being a big part of my kids’ lives and that they’re the ones missing out. I’m not sure with the women how I should react. I see the disapproval before they express it, usually in a straightforward, almost rude, way, consistently followed a moment after my “uh huh” response with “oh, but otherwise you’re doing fine.” Thanks mom.

Least of all people seem threatened by my decision to move out here to New York, rather than stay “home” and be “normal.” This was a bigger deal when I first came out here, and has settled over time into a dull roar. Of course no one has come right out and said it, but there seems to be a subtle undertone of questioning why I would move for love.
l’m better for it, so I rarely give this any voice at all other than with my folks. I feel I’m better for being out here, but not that everyone necessarily would be. I think people are often threatened by someone who is willing to make drastic changes for things like love. Or by anyone that would take risks.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre that really is an answermageddon!

Facade's avatar

Confidence? Eloquence? Demeanor? Fabulous hair? I have no idea, but they sure are threatened. Fine by me =)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Facade So, we all experience this – do we (let’s say you and I) feel threatened by others? I will say no with all honesty. What do you say?

Facade's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I say the exact same. According to my boyfriend, I walk around as though I’m 6 feet tall lol I’m 5’1. I really don’t recall feeling threatened by another person (as an adult).

MrsDufresne's avatar

My sincere appreciation for life. The fact that I am a truly thankful, and happy person. I’ve found that a lot of people hate that. When I am in my neighborhood, I smile and say hello to people, and depending on the day, people look at me like they just wish I would shut my mouth and keep it to myself. It bums me out sometimes, but, in the long run, I recognize that they must be miserable. In a way it makes me want to apologize for being happy. O.o

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@MrsDufresne Yes! That resonates with me – Lately when I open up to some people, I find myself saying ‘look, I don’t really talk about how happy I am, I don’t really talk about how in love I am – people don’t want to hear that’.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

My passion and confidence in my own beliefs threatens people all the time. Yes, I stand up for what I believe in – yes, I can back up why I believe in something. It’s when I back it up that they get angry, and people try to tell me that my own reasons for believing something are wrong or stupid. Yeah? “Okay, fuck you”. :D I find that the kind of people who actually end up getting mad are the ones who waffle in their own beliefs. They act as if just because they aren’t sure of something, it means that I shouldn’t be either. Which, sorry, I don’t and never will, accept.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@DrasticDreamer I agree – it seems that although people ask for proof or evidence or whatever, they don’t want to hear it once you actually provide it – as if they want socialization with others to be more about remaining on superficial waters and diving deeper ruins their footing.

liminal's avatar

The thing that has most surprised me as being threatening to other people is that I changed my last name to that of my partner. I would think of all the things people could list about me as threatening this would be the most benign.

When a person confesses to feeling threatened by me it is hard for me to believe it is purely true. There must be something about me that they also find accessible and approachable otherwise why share something that, to me, seems so vulnerable. I try to engage such a person gently because I think on a deep level they are exploring something within themselves. I tend to stay focused on the “why do you feel safe talking to me about this” line. Sometimes the person presses in and explores and sometimes they realize “oh, why am I talking about this to you?” and move on.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@liminal yes, intimidating is another word I hear a lot in terms of myself – seems it goes together with people being threatened. I don’t think I’m intimidating – my husband and best friend don’t think so…but when asked, they can see why others would see me this way.

Nullo's avatar

My beliefs, mostly. Gimme a soapbox downtown and I can guarantee that I’ll be lynched within the hour. And I have been told that my build (I call it ‘washed-up linebacker) is somewhat intimidating.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Nullo Yes, you probably would experience a lot of negativity.

davidbetterman's avatar

Nothing. I am threatening to absolutely nobody.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@davidbetterman why do you think that is?

Adagio's avatar

My forthrightness, my lack of tact, coupled with complete physical dependence, I think this combination can be particularly unnerving to others, not to mention unexpected.

Mat74UK's avatar

I’m such a jolly guy the only thing that would scare someone about me is my size from the shoulders!

davidbetterman's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Because I am so sweet and kind.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@davidbetterman no, I think it’s because you don’t drink canola oil ~

cookieman's avatar

I’m the size of a linebacker.
I have a very deep voice.
I tend to look quite serious.
On the rare occasions I get mad, it’s not pretty.

My wife says I unintentionally scare the hell out of people.

widdle do dey know I’m a big Teddy bear

liminal's avatar

So you have me thinking about the things in my life that agitate others: I’m a white mom who puts her black daughter’s hair in dred locks, yes all by myself. I’m a pansexual who practices monogamy with a self-identifited die-hard lesbian (which I rarely notice). I eat a plant based diet, which means fish sometimes crosses my lips. I am comfortable with Divinity and not with organized religion or holidays. My partner and I consider ourselves married even without a government issued paper. We homeschool our children, don’t have a tv, and really don’t like disney. (and this is the short list :P)

I am struck that, in addition to what others of have said, people simply have a hard time assigning me categories that I am willing to comply with. Not only am I not willing to comply to another’s categories I am quite comfortable with not doing so. Maybe I am a threat.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@liminal I like that I have you thinking – that brings a smile to my face
ha, Alex and I were just saying that this thread is our short list, :)...you and I are in the same boat, my friend…I find that, in you and your family, with all the supposed contradictions, is a comfort…for me and mine. Thank you.

mammal's avatar

lots of things hopefully :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@mammal is it better to be threatening to others?

Jeruba's avatar

Apparently it’s my use of language, my thought process (and especially the questions), and my allegedly “intense gaze,” which I have never seen and don’t consciously control.

I’m not intimidated by anyone, and I don’t want or intend to intimidate others. The older I get, the less patience I have with timid souls who quake at the sight of confidence and insecure types who want or need to feel superior to everyone else and can’t handle it if someone can outdo them. They should focus on their own strengths. I meet people every day who are good at things I can’t do well, and I am grateful for that because I’m glad somebody can do them. Why should that threaten me? It doesn’t. But a surprising number of people can’t handle that simple fact of life.

Bronny's avatar

genuine enthusiasm. people don’t trust it and assume I have an agenda or am being superficial. I understand this. People have to earn trust.

Ooo, also my muscles. I’m pretty sure that helps.

wundayatta's avatar

My inlaws say I have a sneer that they don’t like to see. One person was intimidated by my intellect (or something related to that, I don’t remember, and I couldn’t understand it).

But I don’t think I threaten anyone. I hope not. I would hate to do that.

Haleth's avatar

Great question! Unless I really try to be outgoing, I’m pretty shy and socially awkward. I always feel like people won’t want to hear what I have to say, so it takes a great deal of effort for me to speak up. I’ve heard from a lot of my friends that I seem aloof and mysterious because I don’t speak up much. I smoke and wear a lot of dark colors, so my best friend told me that I came across as a snobby beat poet type when she first met me. A lot of people have told me that they feel intimidated by this first impression, like I’m going to say something very sarcastic and critical to them. But I’m really not that way at all!

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I’m a young guy, confident, fairly fit, and always alert. People can feel physically threatened by me, but I have learned to only appear threatening when it is to my advantage, for example late at night on public transport, or driving through the bad parts of town. Unfortunately I am not always able to control this, and I have made a few friends out of people who were initially hesitant to talk to or approach me.
In the earlier years of my schooling many people felt intellectually threatened by me, but that turned into me being the guy that everyone asked for help. Apart from these, I’m not really a threatening person.

mammal's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir others is a rather large demographic, but i’m comfortable at being perceived as a threat, that’s their problem not mine, actually threatening people is something else of course

Just_Justine's avatar

I honestly cant see how progressive lifestyles are a threat to others. If they are progressive that is. A lot of what is written here is progressive in the mind of the thinker. We cannot change peoples forms of reference over night. Nor should we need to. Being, vegan, vegetarian etc. is very common here. Role switching is too (stay at home dads). Gender subscription too is falling away although some “cultures” here still hang onto them. You can never “wish” progressive thinking on others. Society and it’s rules are often followed blindly by the majority. Try being the way you are 25 years ago. I was in that position in some areas. You just accept them and in turn acceptance if you require it reflects back. I think that is why I asked my other question about coming out. In all ways not just how it read, the simple way. I doubt it has much impact on life. Bar for a few people, then the job is done.

BoBo1946's avatar

would not worry about all of that…just do your job and “let the chips fall where they fall!”

CMaz's avatar

“if you’ve ever felt like a threat. What ideas/actions/practices of yours threaten others, if at all?”

I am God. But they all know that.
I only “threaten” the insecure. And, the insecure don’t bother me. Not my problem.
Then again, what is not to say the air of threat is not coming from within.
We create the circumstances surrounding us.

I see a deeper issue, that your question is dancing around.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I look like something out of Dr. Frankensteins laboratory (thanks to an Iraqi artillery shell) but I speak like an academic. Because of my Aspergers Syndrome (which I didn’t learn I had until my late 40s), my expressions and gestures seem strange to many people. I can seem remote or arrogant to people who don’t know me; since I have great difficulty understanding nonverbal communications, I tend to avoid social encounters.

People who take the trouble to get to know me find that I am a caring person and fiercely loyal to my friends. I’m only dangerous to those who physically threaten my friends or myself. I’ve learned in recent years to understand some social cues, but I’m still quite clumsy socially.

Fascinating question @Simone_de_Beauvoir.

phillis's avatar

I would normally suggest revisiting the consequences of how you have chosen to be, since all courses of action have thier consequences, and it’s usually a mixed bag. But despite not knowing you very well, I can’t find anything you’ve done wrong. Instead, I can suggest that you may have temporarily lost sight of the pride and humility you felt while becoming who you are today. Perhaps it may be time to get back in touch with it. Sometimes all that is required is to take stock of those things you have to be grateful for.

A note about people (more as a reminder, since I am sure you already know this). People loooove to take shortcuts. Instead of working from the inside, they prefer instead to tear others down, or at the very least, be miserably jealous and rensentful of everybody else who have the things they wish they had. Perhaps the fact that you chose introspection to invent yourself so thoroughly gave you a certain inner strength that, from the outside, makes you appear to handle the curve balls life throws at you with relative ease.

There are some things in life that you just can’t get except by working on them. Strength of character is one of those things. Give the world a chance to catch up with you. It is doubtful that they will, but in the meantime, locating and associating with those who appreciate the work you’ve done can go a long way to refuel you when reserves seem low.

candide's avatar

Don’t worry about others too much, just be confident but respectful that older people, even though they might not approach the job the same way you do, with the same motivation, enthusiasm and viewpoint, have indeed been there longer and still have that much more experience just being there than you, so be a little tolerant of their inhibitions, and gradually you will get used to working together and benefitting from it. Just be patient with them, and try to see things from their perspective a little. It’s no threat to you to do that.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@candide Actually (and this only pertains to the work situation) they do not have more experience than me because my position is new and I am the only person doing this work in Brooklyn…secondly, their hostility poisons other departments and people so it’s not personal even though it is difficult to ignore…I have been more than deferential and perhaps too forgiving over the past few months…pretty soon, however, the regional vice president of my organization will go to the president of theirs and all hell will break loose once it all comes down to it and these people will be put in line.

Trillian's avatar

I think that my IQ and candor has always threatened people. I still don’t know how to play that game where you pretend to feel a certain way. Being honest is my only defense. I recently got in a bit of trouble at a State “listening session”. They fund our agency and when they came, I was advised to keep quiet. I agreed. then this double talking woman asked us to, in a sense, rat out a case manager. She wanted to know if we could give any examples of when a CM set up a goal that was “unrealistic” for one of our individuals, whom I’ve already mentioned are MRDD. I snapped, having already heard enough political agenda sone and dance crap. I told her “Considering the guidelines you set up, I’m amazed that they can come up with any goals or outcomes for some of our people.” She blinked, quite satisfactorily I might add. Then she started blabbing about being creative and how everybody has things they like to do, blah blah blah. I said “They’re your guidelines.”
Yeah, that went over like a lead balloon. My boss at my night job told me that the company hate being told they’re in the wrong, even when they are, and I should have just kept my mouth shut.
The IQ thing is a drawback with men in general. Why are they always so surprised? Even guys not trying to date me…. when I had my car in the shop this guy was telling me all this stuff he wanted me to buy. I said “Whoa, whoa. I tested both coils already, they’re fine.” Then he said valves. I said, I did a compression check, I have two valves running at 180 psi, and two running at 45. I’m thinking head.” He got really quiet. Then he was like ”...you did a compression check?” Yeah.
WTF? I thought guys were past this shit. Did he expect me to stand on one foot and hold the other and stick my finger into my cheek and twist back and forth? “I’m a girl, would you buy me something?”

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Trillian no some guys are not at all past that.

candide's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir well, it sounds like you have things all worked out then

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@candide doesn’t mean they won’t make my life a living hell by creating a tense environment – I’ll keep my mind on the people I’m helping though and eventually the karma bus will hit ‘em

TehRoflMobile's avatar

I’m physically incapable of threatening people on purpose.

Aethelwine's avatar

I try to treat others how I would like to be treated, with kindness and respect. Why would anyone feel threatened by that? I’ve never noticed anyone that felt threatened by me. If they were, they didn’t tell me why.

philosopher's avatar

I see through all bullshit. I follow no one. I tell people the truth; even when they resist facing it. I do not tolerate stupidity, prejudice or judgmental people. I wish to hurt no one but no uses me or those I care about.

thriftymaid's avatar

I have felt it before and it made me very uncomfortable. I don’t see myself as unapproachable or intimidating, but obviously there have been those who saw me in that light.

stardust's avatar

When I began to get my life back together and leave the mess that was me behind, I came up against major opposition. Some of the people closest to me became very threatened. The more self-aware I become, the more people ‘seem’ threatened by that.
I act on my beliefs and dreams, rather than sitting around talking about them. This seems to threaten some people in my life.
That’s not my problem though. I want to treat people with the upmost respect. I expect the same.

Nially_Bob's avatar

It’s a rarity for people to feel threatened by me as, despite my more unconventional beliefs, i’m typically compatible with others. There have however been a select few exceptions. One example being when an acquaintance had been drinking and began to get angry at me declaring that my habitually relaxed demeanour irritated him and claimed that I should make more of an effort to act more purposeful (noting that all of this was stated in a rather crass manner). He then proceeded to say that it “freaked him out” to witness a person behaving in such a way as I do.
A second example I find more understandable. A friend of mine, during the early times of our friendship, once stated that they felt aggrivated and threatened by my general “blunt yet oddly kind honest” but has grown to adapt to it. This is understandable as I previously mentioned as I am aware that I usually tell people the blunt truth but attempt to do so in a fashion so as not to display any negative emotions or draw any more attention than is necessary to what i’m saying in hopes that this will negate any harsh or grating feelings from being associated with said bluntness. Evidently I am not always successful in this regard.
I have speculated on the reasoning behind these cases in which i’ve inadvertently threatened others but the most valid conclusion I have been able to deduce thus far is simply that these individuals felt intensely uncomfortable with my behaviour due to it simply not being what they are accustomed to.

mattbrowne's avatar

Many years ago I realized that my level of English can be perceived as a threat to other German native speakers in international settings such as workshops or conference calls. Naturally, depending on various technical subjects, other people are more knowledgeable than me. But often people lack language skills and eloquence. But they are also afraid to ask for translations because many perceive this as embarrassing.

Trillian's avatar

@mattbrowne Your use of the English transcends not only eloquence, but that of many native English speakers that I know.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

So often in these responses, it’s our knowledge that others find threatening… interesting commentary on humanity there.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I found that my high level of competance in three languages intimidated others, even before the Frankinstein treatment, I really can;t help that, exept for hiding my language skills and harming an effort thereby.

BoBo1946's avatar

footnote to the prior comment: only insecure people have to appear threatening! There is room for all of us down here. Speak softly and pleasant is my motto. Loud people, cursing, etc. is for people who cannot “hold their drinks!”

philosopher's avatar

@BoBo1946
LOL the problem is morons do not comprehend that attitude. They perceive it as weakness.
Lurve for you.
I unfortunately find that I am a bitch in training. If anyone tells me I look like such a nice person; my alarm goes off.
If anyone tears to take advantage of my family I will destroy them; I never forget.
I have been through too much with my Autistic son. I have no tolerance for bullshit artist and incompetent people. They dear not cross my path. I make pseudo intellectuals look like the fakes they are.

BoBo1946's avatar

@philosopher unfortunately they do not…one thing i love about living in the South. That is a way of life for most….don’t want to be negative, but some here go very far to the other extreme.

Sophief's avatar

Nothing about me is a threat to anyone.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dibley me either…other than i big as a house!

Sophief's avatar

@BoBo1946 You don’t look as big as a house!

philosopher's avatar

@BoBo1946
I try to be positive. I have had a rough time lately. I simply have a low tolerance for BS.
I want to come out and say, if your life depended on it you could not BS me.
I have developed the ability to read people. I am the truth detector. I am as good as judge bitch Judy and so is my husband.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dibley oh, not fat…just tall and big boned…6’4” 250

Sophief's avatar

@BoBo1946 Wow, you are a big boy!

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dibley yep, grew up on the farm eating fresh veges and worked hard…

Sophief's avatar

@BoBo1946 Those were the days.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dibley yes they were…many times, wish i had stayed there and farmed the land. But, that is “water under the bridge!”

gemiwing's avatar

I’ve been thinking about this question for a bit.

I have a frightening (to me as well) ability to see through people. See through what face they put to the world, through their social training, through their fuck-ups, all of that baggage that hangs around us human-folk. I just see a person. An amazing creation, a miracle in the making, as it were.

This tends to make people uncomfortable as I tend to ask the questions beneath the level of ‘polite’ society. When I try to refrain from asking the ‘bad’ questions, it comes out all wrong and I’m incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin.

I don’t know if I’m describing this well. For instance, a guy is screaming at a cashier at the grocery store. I tend not to see a big mean jerk- I see the man who is tired, losing hope and possibly hungry. So instead of addressing his behavior I ask questions that are beneath that top layer. Something like ‘do you ever blow bubbles?’- which would seem entirely from left-field. Yet, where I’m going is more ‘when was the last time you relaxed?’ without asking that outright because the person is already emotionally walled-off.

I tend to have a direct stare if someone is appealing to me. Whether it’s their choice of clothes, their aura or how they tap their pencil. It could be anything. This makes people uncomfortable.

I make statements without a hidden meaning. This is the big one that throws people off. I don’t have the capacity for ulterior motives like ‘revenge’ or the like. Not interested. So when I ask – do you have a citation- I truly mean, do you have a citation because I’d like to read it. Nothing of the nasty under-current known to be employed by the passive-aggressive.

I think I’m an observer, a filer not a judge. Even though people like to put a lot of perceived judgment on me and my views, eventually when people get to know me they relax a bit.

Perhaps I’m just a stranger-spooker?

philosopher's avatar

@gemiwing
I understand you. You are for real. Plus lurve.

janbb's avatar

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, too. My first answer above was “my sarcasm and biting wit” which seems like a glib remark, but is actually true. I have a knack, which I sometimes try to control, for being able to see through people and poke fun at their foibles in a fairly sharp way. It was developed as a defense and serves me well at times but can certainly be used to intimidate. I also think people are threatened by my smarts and the amount of things I know, and by my use of language. I am fairly short and soft looking so I think my sharpness can be a surprise to people who don’t know me well. Underneath it all is a heart of gold, or at least mush.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Trillian – Thanks! I think I learned a lot from my peer reviewers and my editor. I had to check every single comment or change. Sometimes discussions about subtle changes in meaning were necessary. A very tedious process. But very enlightening too!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@janbb @gemiwing
So we can all ‘see through’ people – is this a helpful ability to have? I’ve always been able to but I don’t know if it serves me well because I just get so frustrated at people and annoyed at all the pretense.

janbb's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir true, true, but it does help me when I am in my fantasy of “I was Jane Austen in a prior life” mode.

stardust's avatar

@gemiwing How wonderful. I wish more people tapped into that part of themselves.

BoBo1946's avatar

@gemiwing that was a super read…you should write a book! really!

gemiwing's avatar

@BoBo1946 @stardust aww, you guys are makin’ me blush!

BoBo1946's avatar

@gemiwing “spoken, naw..loll written from the heart..naw, written with my fingers!” My mind is setting on “empty!”

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

The shine on my leather men’s dress shoes seems to be quite intimidating to those who wear grubby shoes and dress slobbily. When they notice that, they get timid. Lol.

philosopher's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES
LOL that is funny; but I can actually see it happening.

JenniferP's avatar

What about me threatens people? On here my feistiness. In real life though, I don’t come across opinionated.

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