Does anyone else struggle sometimes to do ‘appropriate’ greetings? You know, as the social skills textbook instructs, especially when hugely distracted by something else? Usually I can manage it, but this morning I may have managed to diversify!
I happened to need to pop to the Scout shop this morning to buy some badges for my Beavers. After I got out of my car I realised that there was what looked like a dead hedgehog by the side of the car park. So I had to stop for a few minutes to investigate whether a) it was actually a hedgehog, and b) it was actually dead. So after establishing those facts, I walked into the shop and rather than doing the textbook greeting, I just said “there’s a dead hedgehog in the car park!” Luckily they were fine with it, they even asked what group scarf it was wearing BUT this really isn’t the appropriate way for me to greet people who I haven’t seen for a few months!!
Sounds like over analysing things
I almost wish that I could honestly say that I'd never realised that!
It doesn't matter how much I prepare for greeting people, nor how often I repeat my rational knowledge of how the social rituals work; as soon as the situation is right there in front of me, the old literal-minded, over-analytical instinct kicks in again.
It's the same with rhetorical questions and other non-literal speech; rationally, I understand the principles perfectly well, and I nearly always get it right in written communication. But my first instinct, even after all these decades of practice, is still always the literal one. In spoken conversation, I most often catch myself in time and realise that I need to rethink; but every once in a while one will slip through the net if I'm a bit flustered or tired - even really obvious ones like "Can you do X?" meaning "Please do X?" not "Do you have the ability to do X?".
I have no idea why, but I just can't make the correct responses into a reflex or habit; and after nearly half a century, I somehow doubt that I'm ever going to.