Strange Human Behaviour


Sometimes the way we behave is really strange.

In many ways the differences between men and women can be traced back to troglodyte (sounds less sexist than ‘caveman’) days when men were hunters and women were gatherers. This means that men are good at focusing on a distant target while women make the best of what is close at hand. Women had better peripheral vision from gathering and looking after children while men focussed on one object while hunting. Maybe that is why a woman cannot ignore a dust bunny or a pile of dirty dishes and men can?

Anyhoo, the behaviour I was thinking of is a little different than that. Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar to you?

1. You see someone you know coming towards you from far away. You both see each other, acknowledge each other with a smile, a wave and eye contact. What do you do then? Doesn’t it feel weird to keep eye contact while you make up the large distance between you? Do you then look away, scratch in your bag, or look at something across the street, just to break the awkward moment?

2. You are having a meeting or a close conversation with someone you do not know very well. They look at you and brush their nose or the side of their mouth, as though to dislodge something. You then think ‘oh no they are discreetly telling me I have something in my nose/on my lip’ so you surreptitiously rub your nose/mouth. And then you can see them thinking ‘oh no she is telling me I have something in my nose/on my lip’ so they start sneakily rubbing their nose/mouth.

3. You see someone wrinkling their nose and lifting up their shoe to see if they have stood in poo. You suddenly think ‘maybe it’s me!’ and you have to fight the urge to lift up YOUR shoe to check that it is not you. The first thing you do when you are on your own is look under your shoes.

4. You get in a lift and accidentally stand with your back to the door, so that you are facing a crowd of people all facing forward. You can’t look them in the eye so you look at your feet. Or your phone.

5. The traffic light is not changing and the lift is not arriving. So you keep pushing the button, hoping to change something somewhere.

6. You give a silent sigh of relief when you pass through a detector in a shop or airport without setting off any alarms, even though you did not do anything wrong to begin with.

7. The bing of an error message on your computer feels like a small electric shock and you almost flinch before it comes, even when you know it is inevitable.

Any more you can think of?

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

5 thoughts

  1. Number 4 reminded me of the time I was faced with a similar situation on a lift. In the second after I realized what I had done I looked at the group and said “I guess you are all wondering why I called you here today”. They all read the jest in my comment and I did get a few laughs. A good way to start the day.

  2. Re #4: When facing people in a crowded elevator I look over the throng and say “I guess you’re all wondering why I asked you here today”. It usually gets a chuckle and by then the door may have opened and I can turn around.

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