All people look the same to me

Postby Rilianne » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:44 pm

Have you heard of cross race effect? I've read that it's pretty common for people to have difficulties distinguishing people of other races apart, because their facial features seem similar to the foreign observer. And that it should eventually go away after some time. But that's not my case. I can't distinguish people of my own nationality from each other. For me, they're all the same. I've kinda learned to live with it, but it has put me in quite a few awkward situations in public. (Greeting strangers thinking they're my friends, approaching a child thinking she's my sister…) Unless I get to know the person well, remember his/her voice, shape of nose, style of walk etc., they look just like everyone else. Strange and somehow blank.

For example… I've been seeing the same orthodontist for over seven years, and I still can't find any difference between her and her assistant. Everytime I go see them, I make sure I notice all the small details. And fail miserably. Something like this seems to go through my head: Both of them are women. Both are Caucasian. Both have short hair dyed red. Both wear glasses and white clothes. What does that mean? They're the same person. It gets embarrassing when I need to talk to my doctor and don't know who she is. :cry:

When I was in middle school (11 - 15 years), there were two boys with whom I shared some classes, but I never saw them together with each other. Both had orange hair and freckles and their surnames started with the letters Ko. Because of that I spent four years thinking they were one person.

And it still happens to me. A lot. It took me two years to finally be able to tell my two classmates apart. And when I got to know them better, I realized that they don't look alike at all. But they're all the same unless I master their speech patterns, facial expressions, clothing style, and body language. But that takes time (and lots of uncomfortable situations in my case).

Do you know a way to make this stop? It's been driving me nuts. :|
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#1

Postby Candid » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:51 pm

This is bizarre.

Do your family members all look the same? Your friends and neighbours? How's your eyesight?
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#2

Postby Rilianne » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:01 pm

I agree. It definitely is bizarre. And very annoying and debilitating.

My eyesight is pretty bad, but I have glasses for that. I doubt it has something to do with eyesight.

Yes, it happens even with my relatives. Not with the close ones like my parents or grandparents, but when the whole large family gets together, I have problems telling one auntie from the other. I don't know my neighbors much (we're not a very sociable family), but everyone from my village looks similar. I automatically sort them into categories depending on their appearance—red-haired women, brown-haired boys, blonde girls, bald men, and so on—but unless I get to know them individually, I can't tell who is who. That makes it quite hard to make friends, because I'm always afraid to approach them - what if they're not the person I talked to before, but someone else?

I generally feel more secure around people who stand out or have a specific style of clothing. For that reason I hate uniforms. As a child, I used to be a majorette. I made a few friends thanks to this hobby, but when they dressed us up in matching skirts and shirts, they all blended together and I couldn't tell if I'm talking to a friend or a total stranger.

And sometimes I can't even watch movies or tv shows. I takes me so long to remember who is who. Sometimes I spend half of the show thinking that two characters were one, and I'm completely confused.
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