A phrase I unfortunately hear a lot. Am I really that weird? Is it because I’m carrying the burden of a secret that I cannot share with the casual observer/acquaintance? Does being asexual/aromantic/agender automatically make me weird so why fight it? Actually, I don’t think so.
People can’t tell by looking at me that I’m aromantic/asexual/agender. If they knew they would probably think those things were weird, but it’s not what makes me weird.
No, what makes me weird is I’m a ginger with an odd sense of humor who doesn’t like to socialize with people on the same continent let alone in the same room.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies, but that doesn’t mean I like making small talk. I’d rather fill the empty conversation space with anecdotes than talk about the weather. If I ask somebody a question it’s because I’m looking for an answer, not to make small talk. See? Weird right?
Out of all the studying, cramming and testing I did for my Communication’s degree, one thing stuck in my mind the most: It’s called “Self-serving bias”.
The basic idea is that, for example, if somebody is being rude to you they’re just a rude person, but if you’re being rude to somebody else there’s an outside reason for that like you’re having a bad day. After learning about this alarming habit to go easy on ourselves and harsh on others I made a conscious effort to break that habit in myself.
The message really hit home when I was still working at a retail customer service counter. Working customer service I met a lot of angry people. I was just one more hassle they had to deal with that day. The only thing I could do was keep calm and help the customers step by step as best I could. One day a customer was being irritable (which to me was business as usual), but then she realized that she was being rude and apologized. She explained dishearteningly, “I’m sorry. I was diagnosed with diabetes today.”
If I can give myself the benefit of the doubt, then I can give other people the same. As I gained more experience and worked different kinds of jobs I learned that giving the benefit of the doubt didn’t just mean one day. Sometimes people have long term causes like depression, anxiety, or life events and they won’t be back to their normal until those issues have passed. Sometimes people only act certain ways in certain situations like at work or in social situations. I’m not going to judge them too harshly just because I only know one side of them.
And is that weird? Totally. Does that make me weird? Not really, but when you add up a few of my other quirks then, yes, I’m probably weird. Being asexual, aromantic, or even agender is probably the least weird thing about me.
[Here’s an additional source on self-serving bias: Sherrill, Michelle. “Self-serving bias.” Am Psychol 41 (2007): 954-969.]