It's life, stupid
June 21, 2017 3:50 PM   Subscribe

An observation goes around the internet which says, "When you're dead, you don't know you're dead. It's only uncomfortable for others. The same goes when you're stupid". This has the sound of a universal truth. I wonder what other things about us we are oblivious to, but are totally obvious to others?
posted by alonsoquijano to Human Relations (39 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Body odor.
posted by ghost phoneme at 4:00 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]


Mispronouncing words.

People with no need for personal space boundaries approaching others who like a private bubble.
posted by Temeraria at 4:08 PM on June 21 [8 favorites]


Bad breath?
posted by Calvin and the Duplicators at 4:08 PM on June 21


Food in your teeth.
posted by gideonfrog at 4:11 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Loudness. I know a number of people who seem to have no idea that they are widely loathed because their voice rings through the entire office when they talk to someone.

Loud laughing falls under this category as well.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:15 PM on June 21 [20 favorites]


Being way louder than normal - or necessary - on a cell phone in a public place.
posted by bunderful at 4:18 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]


A lot of things! Some people more than others, though. The smell of our breath; the smell of our homes. Some aspects of our psychology (narcissism, racism, sexism, mania, etc.) Just about everyone thinks they are a good driver, but clearly many are not. And in general I think when a lot of people are starting a hobby or sport or whatnot, when they reach a certain stage (like, advanced beginner), they suddenly think they are extremely competent and knowledgeable.
posted by karbonokapi at 4:30 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]


I also think a lot of people are fairly oblivious to what they actually look like, as well. So many pictures on the internet of people who are dressed in ways that are, frankly, remarkable. Outlandish, outside common norms of taste, ridiculous in the eyes of many. When I see people like this I am so curious to know what they THINK they look like. I don't even mean that in a mean way. Just, I'd love to know how this look struck their eye when they looked in the mirror that morning and said "YES! This is exactly how I want to look today." I bet it'd be fascinating to see them the way they see themselves.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:35 PM on June 21 [14 favorites]


I had a casual acquaintance who everything I ever heard him say was either banal or wrong. I'm sure he didn't see himself that way.
posted by Bruce H. at 4:52 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]


Level of intoxication.
posted by Peppermint Snowflake at 5:26 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]


Someone who bends over backwards to convince you they aren't prejudiced or misogynistic or whatever. It always puts me in mind of the Shakespeare quote "The lady doth protest too much, methinks".
posted by DrGail at 5:27 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Close talkers and anyone, really, who invades your personal space.
posted by Jubey at 5:39 PM on June 21


Voice volume. I know a dude who is super sweet whose ears have been destroyed by being in a band for twenty years. He has no idea he's a loud talker and no idea he misses half the things you say to him.

Fuzzy eyes, as you get older. It's kinda nice because you can't see your own nose hairs, but on the other hand...you can't see your own nose hairs.

Watched a woman go into pick up her kid with toilet paper hanging down her butt at the school the other day. Would have told her but she was quite a ways ahead of me. Also, at a certain point in your life you've dorked up so many times I think you can brush that stuff off. I'm not quite there yet, but I have to say, I'm getting there.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:48 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Snoring!
posted by sexyrobot at 5:53 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]


Verbal tics and unconscious gestures. Today, my wife asked me why I always put my hand on my stomach a certain way. When she said this, I of course recognized where my hand was, but I had no idea it was a habit.
posted by Leontine at 7:27 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Manners. Pretty much everyone is very aware of everyone else's lapses in etiquette, and blind to their own.
posted by bunderful at 8:07 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Loud clapping.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:58 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Wearing too much perfume.
posted by HotToddy at 9:11 PM on June 21 [8 favorites]


So many pictures on the internet of people who are dressed in ways that are, frankly, remarkable. Outlandish, outside common norms of taste, ridiculous in the eyes of many. When I see people like this I am so curious to know what they THINK they look like. I don't even mean that in a mean way. Just, I'd love to know how this look struck their eye when they looked in the mirror that morning and said "YES! This is exactly how I want to look today." I bet it'd be fascinating to see them the way they see themselves.

Speaking as a 55 year old neck bearded long haired bare footed fat man who has recently taken to getting about in cargo shorts over sweatpants, I can help with that.

I looked in the mirror and thought "I expect I'll meet people today who think this looks a bit mad. I don't care. I am warm and I have pockets."

Wearing too much perfume

I'd love to stay and chat, but I need to run away extremely fast with my eyes puffing and burning and my nose clogging shut now.
posted by flabdablet at 9:17 PM on June 21 [18 favorites]


Smacking your lips/eating with your mouth open.
posted by Hermione Granger at 9:29 PM on June 21 [5 favorites]


everything I ever heard him say was either banal or wrong. I'm sure he didn't see himself that way

Gift him a new ringtone.
posted by flabdablet at 10:08 PM on June 21


Our personalities.

Our motivations.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:09 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Tattoos
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:42 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Metallic clang of fork hitting teeth
posted by jessca84 at 11:55 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


In a roomful of people with obnoxious personalities and offensive mannerisms that they're oblivious to - there's always one more person that you don't see.
posted by tel3path at 4:11 AM on June 22 [7 favorites]


When you do the mirroring game as if someone else's life is just a game and you don't realize it just means you're a bully without an original thought in your own head.
posted by gt2 at 4:31 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


According to the theory of depressive realism, you're very likely to be oblivious to the truth about pretty much everything -the way other people see you; how you compare to others; the control you have over your surroundings -
unless you're depressed, in which case, you see yourself and your place in the world accurately, and it makes you miserable.

(By the way, that Wikipedia link includes the following: "Criticism of the evidence: Some have argued that the evidence is not conclusive because no standard for reality exists." Okay then! There's my existential crisis for the morning taken care of.)
posted by pretentious illiterate at 5:33 AM on June 22 [12 favorites]


Relentless negativity. I've met a few folks in my life that have been overwhelmingly negative about everything and everybody — and been absolutely shocked when others have pointed it out.
posted by kariebookish at 5:55 AM on June 22 [10 favorites]


Disorganisation. I know a few people who are frightfully disorganised, and don't realise the amount of picking up/reminding/pre-emptive care/doing stuff that the people are taking around them to ensure that their life/work/whatever doesn't collapse in on them.
posted by Jabberwocky at 5:59 AM on June 22 [6 favorites]


Can't believe no one has mentioned the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is a well-established psychological phenomenon: to know whether you accurately know something, you first have to know the true fact. In other words, it's hard to grade your own exam - or evaluate your own ability.

From the Wikipedia article: "The identification derived from the cognitive bias evident in the criminal case of McArthur Wheeler, who robbed banks with his face disguised with lemon juice, which he believed would make it invisible to the surveillance cameras. Wheeler’s incompetence was based on his misunderstanding the chemical properties of lemon juice as an invisible ink."

A non-technical overview by Dunning: "The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise.
"The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise."

The longer (but very accessible and fascinating) original 1999 article: Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:42 AM on June 22 [4 favorites]


People who are texting while walking (something that's a big issue here in NYC or any other space with lots of people needing to walk and do the coordinated dance of moving around one another). They always, always seem to think that they're moving in a straight line and not getting in anyone's way, and have no idea that other people are actually doing all of the work to move around them.
posted by knownassociate at 7:33 AM on June 22 [5 favorites]


Smokers and their reek. Also, smokers who light up near non-smokers, most of whom do not want to be engulfed by their carcinogenic miasma.
posted by picea at 7:46 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Driving skills. I drive really well and everyone else on the road is incompetent.
posted by bendy at 6:48 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


And in general I think when a lot of people are starting a hobby or sport or whatnot, when they reach a certain stage (like, advanced beginner), they suddenly think they are extremely competent and knowledgeable.
posted by karbonokapi at 4:30 PM on June 21 [4 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


This one for SURE... it's similar to dunning-kruger effect, but mixed with "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". They're not incompetent, just... they don't know enough to know what they don't know. ya know?

Voice volume. I know a dude who is super sweet whose ears have been destroyed by being in a band for twenty years. He has no idea he's a loud talker and no idea he misses half the things you say to him.

This is my dad.. except instead of band it's gunfire. (no my dad is not Sterling Archer).


Relentless negativity. I've met a few folks in my life that have been overwhelmingly negative about everything and everybody — and been absolutely shocked when others have pointed it out.


Sounds like they're just re-enforcing this point of view by doing this (pointing it out)? Or am I being too negative?
posted by some loser at 10:11 PM on June 22


Parents and their kids.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:12 AM on June 23


Speaking as a 55 year old ...

Seconding flabdablet - there is something about getting on the AARP mailing list that confers with it a glorious IDGAF attitude. I know what I look like with these "outlandish...ridiculous" clothes, but I don't care. I am just as sad for you with your sensible shoes and sweater sets and beige walls as you are for me. It won't bother me if you mock me though - I can't hear you anyway!
posted by headnsouth at 4:39 AM on June 23 [4 favorites]


I know what I look like with these "outlandish...ridiculous" clothes

F'ing awesome
posted by flabdablet at 5:43 AM on June 23 [4 favorites]


Comb overs.
posted by Bruce H. at 12:41 AM on June 27


karbonokapi's list is great.

White/male privilege, and ethnic/gender biases in general.

Overcompensating.

Constant mispronouncing was mentioned, but I also hear people mispronouncing things in other languages in which they are otherwise capable. I know a lot of anglos who are "fluent" in Spanish in terms of grammar/vocab (including someone who lived in Mexico for over a decade) but still mispronounce e.g. double-L or H; it's like they can't even hear it.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:17 AM on June 27


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