When I just moved into my building in Michigan, I noticed that many of the tenants knew each other. Often times, when I’d be in the elevator (and since we’re on the 26th floor) on the way down, we’d usually pick up many more people. They always would say hi to each other, and sometimes they’d start asking each other about the weather and Michigan football or hockey or baseball, etc. I thought to myself, “Wow, this is a nice community! Everyone knows everyone! It’s weird though, considering that there are a few hundred units here… I wonder how they all know each other? Maybe they have gatherings or parties or common areas?”
One day, I was coming down the elevator, and another person joined me on the elevator. Perhaps that day I looked friendlier or something, not sure what, but this 2nd person said to me “Hi, how are you doing today?” I think, wait, maybe she’s mistaking me for someone else… Um… er… I quickly answer, “Fine, thanks.”
Then another person enters the elevator, and she says the same thing to the 3rd person! Ohhh!! I get it!! They don’t ACTUALLY know each other! They’re just greeting each other!!!
OMG! Then my response “Fine, thanks” is just that automatic East Coast response. I should have said something like, ‘Greeeat! And how are you today?!” I totally forgot to ask her back! Arg! How rude of me!! OMG!
And my tone! OMG! My tone must have that mono-tone from that East Coast, where it sounds like, “thanks for asking, ok, but we don’t have to continue this conversation.”
And my body language!!! As soon as she asked me, I unconsciously started shifting myself towards the wall of the elevator, staring at the button panel, and shoving myself into a small corner. OMG, my body language totally communicates that I’m “anti-social” and “please don’t talk to me”. ARG!!!
I wonder if I offended her? hurt her feelings?!
The elevator stops, we all get out. I’m sure she doesn’t even remember this, or maybe she just thinks I’m weird.
But finally I got it… they don’t all know each other… they just all greet each other.
OHHHHH, okay! Got it… ok, will start altering my behavior now….