When you grow up with a primary caretaker who is seriously unwell and unable to admit it or seek help, you learn to be very observant of human behavior. When your primary caretaker is heavily influenced by changes in the weather, changes in their hormones, tiny changes in their diet, you learn to smell shifts in temperament, mood, and habits as they happen. You don’t always have the words to describe why you know what you know, but when your survival depends on it, you become an excellent student of human behavior.

This person does this and this and they react this way under stress, so it’s highly probably they will make X choice in Y situation. If you can listen to your instincts, it is a powerful tool. I once told a very inappropriate joke in school a hallway to a male friend and saw a subtle shift in his facial expression that I didn’t understand. Two months later, we were romantic. Six months after that, I jokingly asked had changed and he repeated the hallway joke. Sometimes, you can literally see people change their minds

I don’t claim to be psychic or infallible. Everything is filtered through the lense of human perception and if I let my ego or my emotions get involved, I can be wrong. But I’m right a lot more often.

I am careful to couch things in “probablys” and “seems likely.” I am careful to leave some topics alone. There’s some issue with my delivery; nobody likes a know-it-all and most people don’t like to be told that the outcomes are being determined by peoples’ patterns. But I do have an above-average track record. People don’t like to be told reality or the truth and they tell me I’m “negative.” (Is it negative if it turns out to be 100% correct? When I’m cranky I say, “I dunno, I hate everything right now, but I’m inclined to think XYZ.”)

I have had more than one conversation with more than one person this week where they said, “Hey what do you think will happen,” and I said, “Oh, probably this and this.”

And they said, “Oh, mm-hmm,” and I could tell they weren’t really listening because optimism and their ego got in the way. But they asked and I answered and they mm-hmmd and went ahead and did whatever they were going to do. And now those same people are coming back wanting sympathy because they are shocked - SHOCKED I SAY - that things worked out exactly like I said they would. To the letter.

I know it isn’t about me, but it starts to feel like my conversation partners think I am a.) stupid or b.) aren’t really interested in my observations, so much as more room to talk about their interests.