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The loons you meet in public

by Greg Krehbiel on 5 April 2017

In the course of an ordinary day — especially if you live or commute in a crowded place — everybody accidentally bumps into other people, steps in front of them, or otherwise gets into their personal space. It just happens. Most people, when they’re aware that they’ve done it, apologize and that’s the end of it. Some people aren’t even aware that they’ve done something annoying, and most people just let it go. It’s not a big deal.

There’s a small group of people who can’t deal with these little incidents. They have a psychological condition (or emotional problem, or brain disorder, or whatever) where they take every slight or bump to be intentional.

I’m not making that up. It’s supposed to be an actual disorder. I don’t remember what it’s called.

That must be a miserable way to go through life, and I pity those people. But at the same time, the rest of us have to be aware that such people are out there. No amount of explaining or apologizing helps with these people. In fact, explaining might make it worse. These people are caught in a crippling cycle of anger. They’re constantly offended and constantly suspicious. (And no, I’m not talking about politics!)

I run into these sorts from time to time. (Pretty sure I ran into one on the train this morning.) Whether they actually have this condition, whatever it is, or whether they’re just first-rate jerks, I don’t know. As far as my involvement in their life goes, the distinction doesn’t matter.

It seems to me that some level of training about the various personality disorders people can have would be a good thing. Knowing a little about autism, or people with anger management issues, etc., should be part of everyone’s general knowledge.

2017-04-05  »  Greg Krehbiel

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