Ponderable: People are Different

Apropos nothing, I remembered a post by a frugality/early-retirement blogger who is of some note in the early-retirement blogging community. She and her husband have achieved financial independence and are now homesteading somewhere in the Northeast.

What matters here is her post on when she knew she’d marry her husband. The pair dated in college. In their senior year, she was taking a women’s studies/feminism course that she really enjoyed, so she kept talking about it to her boyfriend with great excitement. Lo and behold, one day she showed up to class, only to find her boyfriend sitting in the audience, grinning. He had rearranged his senior-year schedule (he was majoring in a technical field, very different from her humanities major) in order to enroll in that class with his girlfriend; he did not talk with her about it, he just did it.

She thought that was super romantic and showed her that he really listened to her when she effused about the course. They seem happy, so good for them!

In contrast, when I read her post, I thought her then boyfriend was being creepy and boundary-violating as all f*ck. When I was young, if my boyfriend had done that, I might not have broken up with him, because at the time I didn’t believe I had the right to many of the things I wanted or needed, including my own boundaries, but I know for a fact that I would’ve freaked out and felt very, very uncomfortable. Today’s me, if I were that girl in college, would likely break up with the guy and drop the class.

It’s nice that the blogger’s boyfriend was interested in what the girlfriend had to say. But don’t freakin’ hijack her experience! Maybe that’s just me. Apparently, my creepy and boundary-violating is someone else’s romantic, committed, and paying attention. But I generally need a lot of space, seemingly more than many people. DH gives me space, and I am really grateful for it.

Dear reader, what are some ways in which you feel that you are—at your core—different from many people around you? 


  1. I hear people say utterly predictable and obligatory things and think, “My god, they are so stupid, they cannot come up with an original thought.” Everyone else around me nods and thanks them for sharing that.

  2. I’ll jump in: I dislike when people , with the kindest intentions, give me food they have cooked or bought. I will give it away always. I am very picky about ingredients and do not trust food handling. (Same reason why I will never use online grocery shopping: I want to touch and select it myself).

  3. I never complain about how busy I am or how much work I have on my plate. It annoys me to no end when people around me do. One of my profs in grad school called it the “I’m busier than you” game.

    But sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t complain because I feel like the people who do complain are seen as busier and inevitably, I get loaded with more stuff because other people are “too busy.”

  4. I think I must be very different from everyone who chooses to have more than one child. I truly cannot relate to the desire to have multiple children. Sometimes it makes me feel very isolated from most of the human race.

  5. I’m not a huge fan of hugging. I don’t hate it, but it doesn’t make me happier the way it does some (many? most?) people. If I’m stressed, my feelings intensify to the point I’ve got a downright aversion to it. I’m tuned in to the rest of the world enough to realize that, if I’m having a bad day and someone asks “Do you need a hug?”, I should generally avoid the honest response of “Hell no, that’s the last think I need right now!”

  6. I read pieces of current theory and think, “so, what you’re saying here is completely obvious” while everyone around me is saying “such wisdom! so profound.” I keep quiet a lot.

  7. Most of the work in my field I find boring and/or derivative.

    I resent mentors who closely try to track my emotional state and personal life, and who assume they know me better than they do. It feels infuriatingly invasive.

    Having children has for decades been a complicated moral issue for me (with implications for other people’s choices). I talk about this with no one but my husband.

    In general, my values are quite different from others’, and it is so tiring to pretend all the time. I’m not sure going along is worth it, but I’ll reassess later.

  8. Where to even start with this? I never felt particularly unusual growing up (in a college town, which may be significant). But in the city I live in now, and my middling university, I feel like a complete freak. Too smart, too slovenly, too weird, too unattractive, too granola etc etc. But more importantly, is there really such a thing as early retirement bloggers? Guess they’ve got a lot of extra time on their hands… I dream about early retirement All The Time. And moving out of this hellhole.

  9. I don’t understand people who don’t ever participate in school events that give you a chance to meet other kids parents. I don’t necessarily enjoy them but I need to know the parents because it’s a predictor of who the shits in the class are likely to be. Mean girls often have mean mothers. And sure, they’re only seven now – but when they are 14 I’m going to really need that information.

    Also apparently I’m understated and not good at self promotion. I did not see that criticism coming.

  10. Also am not into touchy feel-y huggy people. If I’m sad, I would want a hug from my husband or my kids and a select few good friends, but not someone I don’t know that well. nope.
    Also I don’t want to be frugal. I sort of like unnecessary luxuries sometimes.

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