Interpreting literally even when you know it isn't literal?

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L_Holmes
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18 Oct 2014, 2:20 pm

I've noticed that sometimes when people say something that isn't meant to be literal, often a joke or sarcasm, I will recognize that they are joking, but my response is still literal. Does anyone else seem to do this?

Here's an example: I was at work, and I mentioned that I was being interviewed for a job at a woodworking shop (which I am very happy about, because I really dislike my current job). One of my coworkers was asking me about it, and I said that I would be mostly just staining wood in a room by myself all day.

He said something like, "Oh, I bet you'll love getting high off of those fumes," and made a face like he was inhaling fumes and getting loopy from it. I realized he was making a joke almost immediately just from the context, but after making that realization I responded with, "Well, I'll actually be wearing a mask, so I won't be getting high." He just paused and then said, "Yeah, probably."

Most people would have probably had some kind of sarcastic comeback, like, "Oh yeah, you know I just love those paint fumes." (except theirs would probably be a bit more clever :lol: ) I can't seem to do that though. I have been known to "over analyze" jokes, sarcasm, even metaphors, whether or not I get their point. It is actually more common for me to see that they are joking, but still respond inappropriately, rather than just not realizing the joke at all.


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dianthus
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18 Oct 2014, 2:34 pm

L_Holmes wrote:
I've noticed that sometimes when people say something that isn't meant to be literal, often a joke or sarcasm, I will recognize that they are joking, but my response is still literal. Does anyone else seem to do this?


YES. I can't really think of an example right now. But like when someone is kidding with me, and I know they are, I still give a serious, direct, literal response. I can't help it.

And sometimes even when I know someone is joking or being sarcastic, I still wonder if they actually mean it literally.



kamiyu910
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18 Oct 2014, 2:35 pm

Oh yeah.... I'm well known for confusing people with my literal replies... It's especially bad when people cuss, because I automatically think about what those words mean and in the context of what they say, it can be hilarious (to me). However, most people just look at me like I spoke a foreign language...


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L_Holmes
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18 Oct 2014, 2:46 pm

dianthus wrote:
And sometimes even when I know someone is joking or being sarcastic, I still wonder if they actually mean it literally.


Yes, me too. There have actually been times where, ironically, I thought someone was joking and they were actually being serious. I think it is because I get so used to automatically thinking that something that sounds a bit absurd must be joke, when it is really only absurd to me.

One time an older man, friends with my grandpa, told me he couldn't remember my last name. I have met a lot of older men who have a deadpan sense of humor, and I assumed it was a joke because I thought it would be obvious that my last name was the same as my grandpa's. I realized a bit too late that I could have easily been the son of one of my grandpa's daughters for all he knew. I just assumed he knew I wasn't, so I responded, "You're funny." Then I was like, Oh crap, he is being serious. Now I look like a jerk. :oops:


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18 Oct 2014, 3:21 pm

L_Holmes wrote:
He said something like, "Oh, I bet you'll love getting high off of those fumes," and made a face like he was inhaling fumes and getting loopy from it. I realized he was making a joke almost immediately just from the context, but after making that realization I responded with, "Well, I'll actually be wearing a mask, so I won't be getting high." He just paused and then said, "Yeah, probably."

Most people would have probably had some kind of sarcastic comeback, like, "Oh yeah, you know I just love those paint fumes." (except theirs would probably be a bit more clever :lol: )

Interesting. I would have responded similarly. And would have thought nothing more of it. Unless, they said, "I was just kidding".



nick007
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18 Oct 2014, 4:11 pm

I do that a lot.


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Andrejake
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18 Oct 2014, 6:38 pm

Yep!
And that makes people think that i'm more literal than i actually am.
I think this is due to the fact that although i learned how to identify (sometimes) that the person is not being literal i still can't form a proper response that fit the occasion.



olympiadis
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18 Oct 2014, 7:16 pm

L_Holmes wrote:
I realized he was making a joke almost immediately just from the context, but after making that realization I responded with, "Well, I'll actually be wearing a mask, so I won't be getting high."


Yes, of course you answered honestly and accurately to your knowledge, instead of fabricating something else.

I hope your mask does protect from fumes. Most do not.



Skilpadde
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18 Oct 2014, 7:47 pm

No, if I know something isn't meant literally I'm not gonna respond as if it was.
The only exception would be if I'm making a joke about it, and I try to only do that with the people who know me well enough to know I'm kidding.

L_Holmes wrote:
Most people would have probably had some kind of sarcastic comeback, like, "Oh yeah, you know I just love those paint fumes."

Yeah, something like that would have been my response.


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18 Oct 2014, 7:50 pm

Yes, consistently. Sometimes people get confused or offended, and I have to explain "I answer things literally, even if I know it's a joke." Just this morning, my sister jokingly said "Maybe you shouldn't have eaten all that junk." in regards to my stomach pain (I've been to the doctor twice this week to figure out why I'm in excruciating pain) and I seriously responded "No, the other option is that I should just starve." She burst out laughing and said I should "be a comedian" because I'm so serious. I don't think I'm funny at all, but a lot of people think it's hilarious that I respond seriously to so many things. I should add that, on occasion, if I have a moment to think about it, sometimes I can come up with a quip. But it doesn't come naturally to me at all.


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russiank12
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18 Oct 2014, 10:48 pm

Oh my yes. I was actually thinking of making a post about this exact thing a few days ago.

Does anyone do this with emotions too? For example, someone might be flirting with me, but I wouldn't be sure so I just stay oblivious or confused. There was this one guy who was teaching me a piano song and he leaned really far over me (like in the movies, very cliched) and I just let him. The thought of him flirting did cross my mind, but because I thought it was an assumption, I let it go. Later on, this other guy commented on how much the guy was flirting and I was so surprised.



kamiyu910
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18 Oct 2014, 10:51 pm

russiank12 wrote:
Oh my yes. I was actually thinking of making a post about this exact thing a few days ago.

Does anyone do this with emotions too? For example, someone might be flirting with me, but I wouldn't be sure so I just stay oblivious or confused. There was this one guy who was teaching me a piano song and he leaned really far over me (like in the movies, very cliched) and I just let him. The thought of him flirting did cross my mind, but because I thought it was an assumption, I let it go. Later on, this other guy commented on how much the guy was flirting and I was so surprised.


I don't think I would know if a person was flirting with me even if they kissed me...


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russiank12
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18 Oct 2014, 11:38 pm

kamiyu910 wrote:
russiank12 wrote:
Oh my yes. I was actually thinking of making a post about this exact thing a few days ago.

Does anyone do this with emotions too? For example, someone might be flirting with me, but I wouldn't be sure so I just stay oblivious or confused. There was this one guy who was teaching me a piano song and he leaned really far over me (like in the movies, very cliched) and I just let him. The thought of him flirting did cross my mind, but because I thought it was an assumption, I let it go. Later on, this other guy commented on how much the guy was flirting and I was so surprised.


I don't think I would know if a person was flirting with me even if they kissed me...


I think so too! I would just question why they kissed me and just go on with life (or get angry because they touched me without asking),



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19 Oct 2014, 12:09 am

russiank12 wrote:
kamiyu910 wrote:
russiank12 wrote:
Oh my yes. I was actually thinking of making a post about this exact thing a few days ago.

Does anyone do this with emotions too? For example, someone might be flirting with me, but I wouldn't be sure so I just stay oblivious or confused. There was this one guy who was teaching me a piano song and he leaned really far over me (like in the movies, very cliched) and I just let him. The thought of him flirting did cross my mind, but because I thought it was an assumption, I let it go. Later on, this other guy commented on how much the guy was flirting and I was so surprised.


I don't think I would know if a person was flirting with me even if they kissed me...


I think so too! I would just question why they kissed me and just go on with life (or get angry because they touched me without asking),


I am the same way.



olympiadis
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19 Oct 2014, 12:53 am

russiank12 wrote:
Oh my yes. I was actually thinking of making a post about this exact thing a few days ago.

Does anyone do this with emotions too? For example, someone might be flirting with me, but I wouldn't be sure so I just stay oblivious or confused. There was this one guy who was teaching me a piano song and he leaned really far over me (like in the movies, very cliched) and I just let him. The thought of him flirting did cross my mind, but because I thought it was an assumption, I let it go. Later on, this other guy commented on how much the guy was flirting and I was so surprised.


That really follows my description of how we process information filtering the imagination from what is real within our conscious thought.
The feeling of someone flirting would come through intuition, - subconscious thought.
It would require a significant amount of observation of real behaviors before your conscious rational thought process could conclude flirting.

We are very inhibited by different processes in the brain from making certain types of assumptions.



dianthus
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19 Oct 2014, 1:01 am

olympiadis wrote:
It would require a significant amount of observation of real behaviors before your conscious rational thought process could conclude flirting.

We are very inhibited by different processes in the brain from making certain types of assumptions.


Exactly. I need to see multiple examples of a behavior, so I can collect lots of information about it and look for a pattern before I feel like it might be safe to make an assumption. And even then, I still probably wouldn't take action on a mere assumption.

That's what has always frustrated me the most about NTs, is that they make all kinds of assumptions without taking the time to find out what is actually happening.