The term weirdo can be used lovingly. Just ask my weirdo kid who I love to freaking pieces, partly because he enjoys sitting in my closet alone, making comic books from plastic surgery ads. OR, just ask the man who loves a certain weirdo, partly because it’s fun to come home to this:
I recently attended a get-together (which will remain intentionally vague so as not to reveal any characters). There was a teenager there who sat, seemingly sulking in the corner, glued to his Angry Birds and silently piling chips into his metal-filled mouth.
“Oh, teenagers will be teenagers.” Everyone said, loud enough for the kid to hear, but without acknowledgement of his actual existence.
Adults and kids scooted around Jimmy like he was a lamp. Just-gotta-reach-around-this-furniture-to-get-to-the-salsa. Oops-I-knocked-into-the-shade-so-I’ll-just-adjust-it-and-keep-walking. And, of course, Jimmy never looked up.
Now, I don’t know what was up with Jimmy. I am not sure if he was pissed at his parents and brooding about being dragged to a boring-ass party; if he was just severely uncomfortable being the only person in the room born after 1982 or before 2011; if he had depression, gaming OCD, or even Aspergers. But what I do know is that no one wants to be invisible in a group of people, no matter how introverted, on-the-spectrum, or socially-anxious one is (such is the cruel mindf*#% of the introvert/Aspergers/agoraphobic: It’s too peopley out there but it’s too lonely in here.).
And, in case Jimmy wasn’t already thinking it, all Jimmy got that day was more confirmation that people suck.
If you see a weirdo in a public setting, just know:
That person might not want to have a full-on conversation with you, but he damn sure wants to be acknowledged.
That person is not impermeable to the effects of a quiet smile and a respectful nod. (As if he were an actual human!)
That person may have started out as an introvert or a slightly anxious person or even on the autism spectrum, but being invisible is a sure-way to add a layer of depression (and even desperate anger) to the mix.
That person may think that people suck, and putting up a brooding guard may be protective. If his mindset has morphed into a “no-one-cares-and-I-don’t-matter” depression, he may be collecting evidence of people’s suckage based on their avoidant reactions to his sulktastic body language. ONE smile or “cool game, there.” might begin to challenge that evidence.
Just something to think about. From the therapist who has a very particular philosophy about interacting with people: if you can easily do something positive and it’s no skin off your back, WHY NOT JUST DO IT!? In other words, talk to the weirdos.