1. You say offensive things without even realizing.
I was on the phone with a college admissions director, and I was trying to figure out a polite way to ask whether my intelligence would make me an anomaly at the school. I finally settled with, “Would it be weird for me………. because of my SAT scores …… and you know, your school being ….. a ….. ‘lower-level’ institution…”. Yeah. That’s what I actually said. There was silence for like a straight minute. I don’t think I’m going to be going to that school.
2. You inadvertently hurt people’s feelings so often, you’re starting to consider becoming a mute.
I’m just generally a terrible person. I’ve accepted that about myself. At Basic Training, we went by our last names. Sometimes it was a few weeks until you would learn someone’s first name. The day I learned one of the girls’ names, I saw it written on a form. In the section for first names, she wrote an adjective similar to “unique” (it wasn’t unique). And because I’m the world’s biggest douchebag, I started laughing. I honestly thought she wrote that as a joke! And then I saw her face…
And since I suck not only at manners, but also socializing in general, I avoided her for like a straight week, instead of just apologizing like a normal person.
3. You shock people without understanding why.
This one comes up a lot because of how forthright I am about my father’s death. If someone asks about my parents, I just bluntly tell them my father’s dead. Because it’s true. But people never seem to know how to respond to that. My honesty about politics, controversial topics, and how bad that one guy smells, also tends throws people.
4. You don’t understand the rules of what is and isn’t appropriate conversation.
If something seems sexual, I comment on it, mixed company be damned! On three separate occasions, I have started a conversation about boys with micro-penises and girls with two vaginas, during a meal with a mix of acquaintances and strangers. On a field trip once, I asked a boy that I’d only known for hours what his porn viewing habits were. (I’ve only done that once on a bus, but I’ve asked that question many times! What can I say? It makes for an interesting conversation!)
5. People are scared to have certain conversations with you, because they know you’ll be 100% honest.
This one is easily the most frustrating. My own little sister didn’t want to tell me she thought she was in love with her boyfriend, because she knows I’m skeptical of teenage love! One friend didn’t want to tell me that she chose regular English over AP. Another friend hesitated to tell me what college she was going to go to, because she knows I’m not a fan of the institution. They don’t seem to realize just because I tell the (brutal) truth, doesn’t mean I mean it in a bad way. In these particular cases, I didn’t want my sister to get hurt, I didn’t want one of my friends to underestimate herself, and I didn’t want someone I care about to make a decision as important as college based off of the wrong reasons. My honesty is just how I show I care.
6. A curiosity that knows no limits, does not mesh well with a mouth that has no filter.
I have asked pregnant women if giving birth made them incontinent. I have asked gay guys what butt sex feels like. I asked a girl who was bullied if she was ever thrown in a dumpster. I asked an elderly lady whether she was attracted to guys my age. (She was!) I used to ask people how much they get payed. (I learned to stop that question by the time I hit the double-digits, thankfully.) I asked a Catholic why she was okay with her daughter being Buddhist since the mother’s own religion dictates that if you don’t believe in Christ you won’t go to Heaven. (That one got me in huge trouble, and a trip to the Principal’s office!) My point is like basically every thought that goes through my mind, comes out of my mouth. Which is great for learning about the world around you, but terrible for being a decent human being.
7. People don’t believe you when you compliment them.
Just because I’m the person who will absolutely tell you if your butt looks too big in those pants, even if you didn’t ask, doesn’t mean I can’t say anything nice! It’s not a ploy for brownie points. I don’t think you’re mad at me. I just honestly wanted you to know that you look really good in that shirt. Bluntness goes both ways!