Several years ago I was at a workplace team meeting. My boss was sitting across the table from me. He was trying to open a big ass package of store-baked cupcakes, but was making no headway. So I handed him my Swiss Army knife. He looked worried.
“Do you always carry a knife?”
Actually, I always carry something I can use as a screwdriver. (I work on computers, and believe it or not, screwless cases are not as universal as one would hope.) As it happens, it is very difficult to find a pocket sized multi-tool that doesn’t have a blade on it. But how can you explain this in a room full of people waiting for cupcakes? Even just trying to can make you come off even worse.
I remain convinced that this would not have even been a thing if I were a more normal, likable person. Likable people get a lot more social leeway for these sorts of things, I think. People can tolerate a weirdo, sure — but only so much. Be weird, fine, but add one tiny quirk that a regular person might get away with, and suddenly certain folks’ eyes start twitching.