Dammit Autopilot!

Hello! Welcome to Thoughts with Lizzie! You know how there are those conversations that you have on autopilot? Normally with strangers or acquaintances. The most common one is probably the “Hi, how are you?” you say to people in passing. 99.98% of people I’m going to say have some version of this automatic conversation:

Person 1: Hi. How are you?

Person 2: I’m good. How are you?

Person 1: I’m alright, thanks.

Person 2: That’s good.

Again this is for near-strangers or strangers and not friends or people you know well, so you aren’t always telling the truth. Even if I’m not feeling great if someone I don’t know well asks me how I am, I go straight to autopilot. Because you don’t know them so you don’t want to burden them with your life. Now I don’t want to sound like an asshole here, but when you ask someone you barely know how they are and they say something different like that they are terrible, it derails you for a few seconds. Your brain slowly gets off autopilot but then you aren’t really sure what to do because “Oh what’s wrong?” doesn’t work because you don’t know the person that well and it might be personal. So after staring blankly at the person for a few beats you go, “Oh… I’m sorry…? That’s too bad.” And as you say it you can hear it in your head and you just sound like the most un-caring, heartless person ever. As the person then walks away you want to explain yourself “No! I actually care that you feel terrible and I hope you feel better. But I was on autopilot and it’s not equipped to deal with changes in the script!”

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