not a beautiful or unique snowflake (nothings) wrote,
not a beautiful or unique snowflake

talking to strangers

Had an interesting discussion online last night, and I was a bit surprised to discover other people with pretty similar hang-ups to mine.

Back in the day, I thought I was an introvert. Then my high school friend George termed his own psyche "social introversion", which seemed accurate, characterizing how we prefer social interaction to solitary activity. Eventually I decided my issue was best characterized as stranger-phobia, which is how I put it in my 101-things-about-me meme.

Anyway, it seems like psychological testing conflates this stuff with introversion in a not-very-useful way, so I thought I would make a little poll here to see just how normal and abnormal the sorts of issues I face interacting with strangers are. (At least within the set of people who both have LiveJournals and read mine, which I suppose is not a particularly representative sample of humanity.)

I allow anonymous comments and do not log IP addresses, so if you're not comfortable filling out the poll as yourself, feel free to just submit a comment with your answers.

You're taking a bus you've never taken before. The address you got for the bus stop was strangely ambiguous--you're having trouble finding it--but it's near a crowded square so it can't be that obscure. What do you do?

Ask passers-by if they know where the bus stop is.
Look really really hard, then ask somebody where the bus stop is.
Walk in ever-increasing circles until you find the bus stop.
Bus stop? Bus stop? That would require leaving the house!

You get on this bus you've never taken before. You've never been to the destination before, and you're not sure if you'll recognize it. What do you do?

Ask the bus driver to tell you when you reach your stop.
Look up the route on mapquest and make sure you've memorized several cross streets near your stop. Then you can signal for your stop, or if you miss it, the next one.
Make sure you've memorized several cross streets near your stop, then when you get there, don't signal for a stop, hope somebody else does or people are waiting for the bus there. If the bus doesn't stop for several stops past yours, signal for a stop.
Bus? Bus? Getting on a bus would require leaving the house!

If money was no object, you'd

prefer taking a cab to a bus
prefer taking a bus to a cab
prefer walking for two hours
never leave the house

At a restaurant, your order comes, and you realize after your waiter/waitress leaves that you didn't quite get what you asked for, but it's perfectly edible. What do you do?

Call the waiter back and explain the problem.
Wait for the waitron to come by and ask whether everything is ok, and mention that problem.
Why make a fuss? It's perfectly edible.
Not only would you rather not fuss about it, but you are made uncomfortable if somebody else at the table notices your problem and calls the waitron over him/herself.
Mmm, TV dinner

It's the beginning of rainy season, and you have no umbrella. You go into a department store and wander around it for a while, but can't find umbrellas anywhere. What do you do?

Find a salesperson and ask if there are umbrellas or where they are.
Try to act noticeably disoriented in hopes that a salesperson will ask if you need assistance.
Well, maybe you don't really need an umbrella.
Of course you don't need an umbrella if you never leave the house!

You go into a retail establishment of a type you've never been in before. You have no clue how this process works. What do you do?

Ask an employee or patron how things work.
Look for signage. If there isn't any, ask somebody.
Look for signage. If there isn't any, well, this place must not really want your business.
Look, I'm a freaking agoraphobe, wasn't this bloody obvious four questions ago?!?

If any of the above answers mischaracterized your position, explain here.

Obviously, don't bother filling out the poll if you're not going to be honest. And just to be clear, my answer is the second to last choice in every case, and these are all based on real-life experiences. (Although I actually did once ask a bus driver to tell me when we reached my stop. Once.)

Update: Bah, I forgot to include the calling-to-order-pizza question.

I note that I have never in my life called to order a pizza. Whenever I'm with other people, I try to just defer without calling attention to it so somebody else does the ordering; if it comes down to somebody else obviously expecting me to do it, I'll ask them to do it (without explaining why). And if I'm by myself, I never order a pizza--that's why god invented frozen pizzas.
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