Getting the comment "you can't be serious" - responses?

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Jayo
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11 Jul 2021, 5:32 pm

When you get the comment "you can't be serious" like in relation to asking an "obvious" question about some nuance of a social interaction, or clarification of an unspoken factor or expectation - or receiving the more abrasive "well isn't it obvious??!" - how do/did you respond?

I got this a couple of times years ago - at least, verbally speaking, although I'm sure I received it non-verbally a few times - more frequently than verbal, at that, if it's true that "up to 90% of human communication is non-verbal".

If we got it non-verbally, at least it's less hostile and confrontational (but then they might stigmatize and avoid us as the "weirdos", the Dalit / untouchables, the lepers etc.) - yet if we happen to "catch" the non-verbal expression, as I have done, I might just interject with "OK...I know it might seem kind of obvious, but...I have a lower threshold of ambiguity when it comes to certain things."

This won't turn out so well if there's a fairly large group of people (read: five or more NTs) talking about something and nothing in particular... I read an anecdotal comment online about how an Aspie woman asked someone for clarification on something unspoken, and she was sternly rebuked for causing undue embarrassment 8O

If we DO happen to get the rather curt "you can't be serious" retort to a request for clarity on something, I suppose you might answer with one of these three, as I've done...

1) "I've got not reason to lie."

2) "Why wouldn't I be serious??"

3) "Well, think of it this way: confidence and certainty are a paradox. They're not the same thing. You have to be confident to admit when you're not certain about something. And right now, I'm not certain about what "X" really means or whether "Y" was actually expected."

As long as you can say it with the right expression and right intonation /emphasis on words... you should be able to disarm them so to speak :wink:



Joe90
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11 Jul 2021, 5:41 pm

I believe ''you can't be serious'' has different contexts in UK English and American English. In UK English it is another way of expressing stunned or shocked about something. In American English it appears to mean that you've just said something ridiculous.


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naturalplastic
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11 Jul 2021, 6:13 pm

Joe90 wrote:
I believe ''you can't be serious'' has different contexts in UK English and American English. In UK English it is another way of expressing stunned or shocked about something. In American English it appears to mean that you've just said something ridiculous.


Not sure what the difference is between those two things.

Here in the states a person might say "Youre shittin me? Right?" in response to news that seems incredible.

Occasionally ive heard an unspoken "you must be kidding" between the lines in response to a question indicating that the responder thinks the answer to the question is self evident. Like if you said "is Ms Washington Black?" And the person responds "Is Ms Washington BLACK? All living people in modern America who are named 'Washington' are Black!" The repetition of your question is a kinda implied "you must be kidding".



Last edited by naturalplastic on 11 Jul 2021, 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kraftiekortie
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11 Jul 2021, 6:24 pm

We sometimes use it like the UK uses it, too….but probably not the other way around so much.



naturalplastic
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11 Jul 2021, 6:49 pm

So the issue is ...what do you say in response?

You ask folks at a party if its okay to use a fork to pick your nose? (to take a dumb extreme example).

And the other guests are aghast, and say "are you kidding?".

So you know that a)its something everyone else (ie all NTs) know the answer to, but (b) you still dont know what the answer is- and (c) you NEED to know that answer so you can know how fucntion in that given social situation.


All I can say is you might try saying "I am not from around here. I am from France. So I dont know the local customs."

It worked for these visitors to Earth, from Planet Remulack!



Jayo
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11 Jul 2021, 7:52 pm

Ha ha, that's a good one, from Beldar Conehead "of France" :) Classic SNL!!

Well, I'm from neither the U.S. or the U.K. - I'm from Canada, but that sort of "you can't be serious" comment has the same essentially derisive connotation n'importe ou :)

Vous n'êtes pas sérieux?? Mais oui, mon ami, je suis!! ! :P