Two different social errors I might have made

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Joe90
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18 Mar 2021, 7:33 pm

When I was last at a party (a year ago now), the people started doing a conga dance around the hall, and my good friend wanted me to join in, so I did. I went in front of him and he held my upper hips, and I didn't know who the person was in front of me but being so it was the conga I assumed it was socially acceptable to hold their upper hips so I did, and there was like 30 of us all doing the conga. But the person in front of me abruptly jumped out of the line, and sort of stood staring at me with their friend (I don't know if it was a man or a woman, as I couldn't really see in the flashing disco lights). I ignored it and carried on having fun, but holding on to nobody, but afterwards I worried that the person I was holding on to might have thought I was a pervert or a creep for holding his or her sides. I was only holding them gently. It was just part of the dance. I know it was ages ago but...you know.

Also a few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a work colleague at work, about his diabetic teenage daughter. He was saying that she was getting bullied at school for having diabetes. I hate bullying, so I frowned and shook my head and said, "why would anyone bully a person for having diabetes??" But he stared at me and said, "well, some people don't understand what diabetes is." There was something about the way he said it that made me worry after, because he sounded a bit like he thought I was thinking that his daughter was being too sensitive or too paranoid. But I wasn't saying that at all. I just meant it in a way that expressed how much I hate bullies and that she's the same lovely girl whether she has diabetes or not (I've met her a few times). I didn't have a chance to correct myself after that because we both got distracted by someone and I haven't seen him since (he doesn't normally do the same shift I do). Do you think he knew that I was judging the bullies and not his daughter, or did he think I was judging his daughter and not the bullies? (The former is what I was doing).


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Mona Pereth
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18 Mar 2021, 8:37 pm

I'm totally unfamiliar with "conga" dance, so I have no idea what to say on that question. As for the other one:

Joe90 wrote:
Also a few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a work colleague at work, about his diabetic teenage daughter. He was saying that she was getting bullied at school for having diabetes. I hate bullying, so I frowned and shook my head and said, "why would anyone bully a person for having diabetes??" But he stared at me and said, "well, some people don't understand what diabetes is." There was something about the way he said it that made me worry after, because he sounded a bit like he thought I was thinking that his daughter was being too sensitive or too paranoid. But I wasn't saying that at all. I just meant it in a way that expressed how much I hate bullies and that she's the same lovely girl whether she has diabetes or not (I've met her a few times). I didn't have a chance to correct myself after that because we both got distracted by someone and I haven't seen him since (he doesn't normally do the same shift I do). Do you think he knew that I was judging the bullies and not his daughter, or did he think I was judging his daughter and not the bullies? (The former is what I was doing).

I would suggest that next time you see him in a situation where you will have at least a few minutes to talk, you ask him how his daughter is doing, and then express how horrified you are by the bullying. Then let him know that you are concerned that perhaps you weren't clear in what you said the last time the topic came up, and that you realize you may have said something may have come across as dismissive, when in reality you were just shocked by how unbelievably awful it is that someone would be bullied on account of having diabetes.


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Aspie1
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18 Mar 2021, 9:07 pm

Joe90 wrote:
When I was last at a party (a year ago now), the people started doing a conga dance around the hall, and my good friend wanted me to join in, so I did. I went in front of him and he held my upper hips, and I didn't know who the person was in front of me but being so it was the conga I assumed it was socially acceptable to hold their upper hips so I did, and there was like 30 of us all doing the conga. But the person in front of me abruptly jumped out of the line... [truncated; conga line description continues]
As someone who likes cruises, I have a lot of experience with conga lines. I (male) solve that problem very easily: as a rule of thumb, I rest my hands on the shoulders of the person in front of me, pressing down slightly, using my arms to keep an appropriate distance. (No, not the CDC social distance; a conga line distance that keeps my penis area from bumping into their buttocks, even while springing back and forth like a Slinky.) Shoulders are one of the least sexual body parts, and I never had anyone react badly, whether that person was a man or a woman. Touching the person in front of you is required as part of a conga line, and people just go along with it as long as you respect the boundaries. The only time I touch the hips of that person is if it's a woman I've interacted with before, and I know she's comfortable my flirty touch. And even then, I keep my hands slightly above the waist, just past the hip bone.

As for how people behind me hold on to me during conga lines, men always rest their hands on my shoulders without exception, and with women it's a 50/50 split between shoulders and hips.

Joe90 wrote:
Also a few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a work colleague at work, about his diabetic teenage daughter. He was saying that she was getting bullied at school for having diabetes. I hate bullying, so I frowned and shook my head and said, "why would anyone bully a person for having diabetes??" But he stared at me and said, "well, some people don't understand what diabetes is. There was something about the way he said it that made me worry after... [truncated; diabetes/bullying description continues]
Mona Pereth already said it very well. Just reiterate that you were dismayed by the idea of bullying over a medical condition.



mohsart
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19 Mar 2021, 2:52 am

Are you me?
These kinds of things happens to me all the time.
I've learned to have a talk with the people I feel I've offended or something afterwards, and it mostly turns out ok in the end.
However, lately I've gotten the feeling that I overdo it, so that I end up appearing weird for always trying to explain myself, even if there is nothing to explain.
You can't win.

/Mats


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AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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19 Mar 2021, 10:35 am

mohsart wrote:
Are you me?
These kinds of things happens to me all the time.
I've learned to have a talk with the people I feel I've offended or something afterwards, and it mostly turns out ok in the end.
However, lately I've gotten the feeling that I overdo it, so that I end up appearing weird for always trying to explain myself, even if there is nothing to explain.
You can't win.

/Mats

I’ve decided, sometimes let a medium mistake just be a medium mistake.

Meaning, I agree with you on the end part. Don’t bring it up unless they do.



Joe90
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19 Mar 2021, 1:06 pm

It was a few weeks ago since I last saw my colleague, he might have forgotten about the conversation - BUT I don't know if people forget completely. They might forget about the conversation but their misinterpretation might stay with them, if that makes sense.

You know how when you say something stupid, and from that moment onwards you get the sense that person thinks you're weird, even though they've probably forgotten the weird thing you said. That's the best I can explain it.


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kraftiekortie
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19 Mar 2021, 1:11 pm

The odds are: your colleague forgot the conversation.

As for the "conga line," it is socially acceptable for the person in back of you to hold your hips, and for you to hold the hips of the person in front of you. That's how a "conga line" works. As long as you don't grab the butt, you're okay.



Vito
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19 Mar 2021, 4:42 pm

I'm sorry, but I find the conga thing a bit amusing when trying to picture it (please don't be offended, I'm not trying to ridicule you or anything). Anyways, it's no big deal, though next time I'd take a page from Aspie1's book and not grab the person in front of me by the hips, but by the shoulders. Hips can be a big no no for some people, especially women, I reckon (I am not a woman, so I can't verify this claim). I personally wouldn't like being grabbed by the hips from behind by a stranger (it's too close to my belly for comfort and no one is allowed to touch my belly unexpectedly).

As for the second thing, there's no point worrying about it now and I bet the person forgot about it already as kraftiekortie suggests. However, the situation is pretty instructional in one aspect:

When people (friends, coworkers, family members, etc.) tell you that something negative has happened to them or to people they love, like or respect, they generally tend to look for compassion and reassurance from you. It's sort of similar to little kids who, with sad and injured expression, run to their mommy to show her the newly acquired cut on their finger.

The feeling of compassion can be expressed both non-verbally or verbally. Non-verbally, you could communicate it by adding a clear underlying tone of shock and consternation to the question you asked. There, however, you run a risk of either not making it clear enough and thereby being perceived as not giving a damn (which probably happened in your case) or overdoing it (which, in worst case scenario, will make you sound like you're being sarcastic).

The safer course, therefore, would be to express your consternation verbally by assigning a verbal prefix to your question, such as saying "Oh, that is horrible!", "I'm so sorry to hear that!" or "That's so mean of them!". It might seem redundant or pointless to say such stuff, but I'm convinced it's a social custom in such situations. Such small things then tend to make you more likable and tend to have cumulative effect as people will start to approach you with that kind of stuff more often and enable you to win additional points with them in this way.

By the way, this concept is applicable opposite situations as well. When a colleague, friend or family member shares some achievement of his, it's best to verbally appreciate and admire it before starting to ask clarifying questions. Comments like "That's amazing!", "It looks really difficult!", or "I wouldn't be able to learn such a thing!" act as an ego booster for the other person and have the same positive effects as described in the previous paragraph.


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Joe90
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19 Mar 2021, 6:21 pm

I was just expressing disgust and also anger, for hearing about his daughter being bullied. My communication isn't always logical; I usually respond based on my emotions but still being compassionate. But I did give a concerned facial expression as he was telling me that his daughter was being bullied, so I thought that might have been a clue that I'm "on his side".
But maybe I'm just overthinking. Maybe he didn't misinterpret my response at all. It was just the way he said it that made me worry that I might have said the wrong thing, but maybe he responded that way because he was already feeling stressed about the situation. Your child being bullied is understandably a heartbreaking experience.

As with the conga thing, I didn't think to touch the other person's shoulders, plus they were a lot taller than me. I just assumed that touching someone either side of their upper hips is acceptable during a conga dance at a party. I don't think I would mind if a stranger done that with me. If I was that touchy about it then I wouldn't join in a conga dance in the first place.

I don't like strangers touching me in other contexts. Like one time I was standing in a supermarket lost in my thoughts when suddenly an elderly lady came up from behind me and gently touched my hips and said, "excuse me, dear, may I get by?" I knew she was polite and harmless and I was polite back but inwardly the feeling of suddenly being touched unexpectedly made me feel irritated. But I wouldn't feel like that during a conga dance at a party. It's all about context.


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Vito
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19 Mar 2021, 7:21 pm

I understand. I'm not trying to blame you for that or anything. Everyone tends to behave illogically from time to time. And it's true that you maybe are overthinking this situation. In any case there's no point in dwelling on it, since the situation is in the past now and worrying about it won't change it. I only wanted to point out that being clear in the communication can prevent such misunderstandings.

Regarding the conga thing, don't worry about it either. :) I think that in that context it hardly qualifies as a social mistake. It still sounds amusing though, picturing a dainty young lady grabbing the hips of a person in front of her who then jumps as if electrocuted... :D

Of course if the other person was much taller than you, it would be foolish to try to grab his or her shoulders. Next time there's a conga you shouldn't be afraid to grab the person by the upper hips again in that context. But in any case it's good to be aware of what Aspie1 has said about hips and shoulders.


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19 Mar 2021, 7:56 pm

re conga thing
if you know you didn't touch any one inappropriately don't worry
if you accidentally touched their bum, then, you can say sorry. most normal people will be ok about that

in life there are all sorts of people, so can't say how others react.

As for the diabetes thing. if you were sincere in how you spoke, and tried your best to be considerate
and the other person still has an issue, perhaps its just something that this person has an issue about

sometimes what happens in life is more about how the other person is or how they perceive life
than you

some times it really is its not me its you
so don't worry
leg go

be happy

in life it is hard to make everyone happy
some people will never be happy no matter what you do

so i recommend do your best (give or take a few days when your off your game)
and that is all you can do
if people still think you owe them something (my ex-wife was like this, i sacrificed everything for her, and she thought she deserved more. based on what. her own selfishness that is all. loads of people out there miles better and easier to please. find the ones that make you happy and don't suck your soul dry....).

don't worry
if its their issue not yours

be happy



Joe90
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19 Mar 2021, 9:38 pm

It is said all the time here on WP that NTs are notorious for not being clear and that they base a lot of their communication on emotions and non-verbal language, or that they expect you to read between the lines.


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20 Mar 2021, 10:15 am

Joe90 wrote:
It is said all the time here on WP that NTs are notorious for not being clear and that they base a lot of their communication on emotions and non-verbal language, or that they expect you to read between the lines.


Yes, that is true. But the fact that NTs are notorious for being that does not mean you shouldn't be clear and straightforward.


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Joe90
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20 Mar 2021, 2:14 pm

Vito wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
It is said all the time here on WP that NTs are notorious for not being clear and that they base a lot of their communication on emotions and non-verbal language, or that they expect you to read between the lines.


Yes, that is true. But the fact that NTs are notorious for being that does not mean you shouldn't be clear and straightforward.


Why not? :scratch:


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Vito
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20 Mar 2021, 3:13 pm

Joe90 wrote:
Vito wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
It is said all the time here on WP that NTs are notorious for not being clear and that they base a lot of their communication on emotions and non-verbal language, or that they expect you to read between the lines.


Yes, that is true. But the fact that NTs are notorious for being that does not mean you shouldn't be clear and straightforward.


Why not? :scratch:


Because being clear and straightforward generally tends to prevent misunderstandings, such as the one you've described above 8)


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Joe90
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20 Mar 2021, 3:53 pm

Vito wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
Vito wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
It is said all the time here on WP that NTs are notorious for not being clear and that they base a lot of their communication on emotions and non-verbal language, or that they expect you to read between the lines.


Yes, that is true. But the fact that NTs are notorious for being that does not mean you shouldn't be clear and straightforward.


Why not? :scratch:


Because being clear and straightforward generally tends to prevent misunderstandings, such as the one you've described above 8)


But then what's the point in NTs not speaking clear if it leads to misunderstandings? Why can't everyone speak clearly?


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