What is wrong with my face?

Ever since I was young people have told me completely inappropriate things about their lives. Seriously, complete strangers come up to chat with me about personal and intimate details of their private history that really should only be shared with a doctor or a psychiatrist – for no apparent reason.

I mean, it’s not like I am an approachable person. I don’t tend to smile at strangers, I’m not outgoing or vibrant. I don’t do cuddles or touching unnecessarily. And I don’t give out caring sharing vibes.

When I was a people manager and I was told to sit in a 121 with my own manager and a staff member, who then proceeded to give feedback on why he didn’t like my style, I maintained a complete poker face. Because I am a professional – right? Afterwards, my manager said I looked like I was about to leap across the desk and strangle him.

So – my best poker face makes me look like a psychopath, my normal ‘I’m out shopping and in my own little world, not looking for a chat’ expression apparently looks like a free therapy service – what is wrong with my face?

When I was a young teenager out shopping with my mum, some random old man came over to me in the chemist to tell me all about his personal ailments. I was probably browsing hair care or something vaguely girly. Certainly I wouldn’t have been in the bunion or venereal disease section. There was nothing about me that would have suggested medical assistance. But I distinctly remember him sharing lengthy details about his various illnesses, even following me to the till and explaining about various heart issues, while my mum stood next to me in bemusement.

Afterwards my mum asked me what I had said to him (nothing!) and told me off for talking to strangers. I mean – no one tells you what to do when you are only listening to strangers!

Recently I was looking around a prospective house purchase when the vendor explained all about finding his wife playing with the plumber (I know, serious cliche) while he was away working nights. In detail. For a good 20 minutes. I had Mr G with me, so it wasn’t like I looked a good prospect to hit on. I don’t delude myself it’s my charm!

Within a few minutes of meeting an old friend of my husbands, she’d told me all about which base they’d reached as teenagers and how far they would never go.

Sitting at bus stops, waiting in queues, walking the dog – whatever I might be doing, throw in some random person and before you know it they are sharing information that I really didn’t need to fill my brain with.

Maybe it’s because they need the cathartic release of sharing with a stranger. Maybe it’s like the cat thing – you know, where a cat walks in the room and goes over to the person who ignores it.

So – what is it about my clearly unwelcoming demeanour that encourages people to share? Is there a deodorant for that?


Have you ever told a complete stranger intimate details about your life?


Just Back Away, Slowly!

Just Back Away, Slowly!

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What is wrong with my face? — 22 Comments

  1. I have had people telling me strangely intimate things before and it’s terribly uncomfortable. Although, I think I’ve done it a few times…usually if I’m experiencing rather strong social anxiety..for some reason, the more anxious I get, the more bizarre things come out of my face hole…
    Michelle recently posted…I Have Two Things On My ChestMy Profile

    • I know I get verbal diarrhoea sometimes and say the most inappropriate things, but it’s usually bluntness. It is uncomfortable, especially when someone is telling you about something you disagree with, as if they expect you to totally back them up. I try and look disinterested rather than having to comment – but Im not sure it works!

    • Ooh – that’s a great idea. Although the kind of people I seem to attract probably couldn’t spare that much. I should work on attracting the other end of society, but they probably prefer to pay megabucks for a comfy couch to sit on

  2. I don’t think I’ve shared intimate things w/ a stranger. I’ve been in your shoes though. When I was a waitress, people would always pour their hearts out to me about every single thing. Sometimes, they would even complain about other staff to me too. I never got it really. Don’t know why so many people like sharing. I could write a book about the crazy things that random people have told me!

    • Both my cat and dog try to sit on my mum, who hates animals and is allergic to them. In fact, my dog seems to love sitting on everyone except me, and then looking back at me to check I am jealous!

  3. I have the exact same face. I hear the most hideous, distasteful, embarrassing stories for no apparent reason. I’ve started telling people straight away that I’m a writer. Shockingly, that only spurs them on. I feel your pain.

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