What it Means to Be Weird

And What it Means When Others Say it

Denise M
Invisible Illness
Published in
4 min readMay 1, 2020


Photo by pawel szvmanski on Unsplash

You’re weird.

There, I said it.

How do you feel when you think of yourself as being weird?

What type of person comes to mind when you think of someone who’s considered a weirdo?

Maybe you think of someone whom people do their best to avoid. Or they slowly back away when they reach the conclusion that the person to whom they’re talking seems a bit… strange.

I never set out to be weird. It was always other people who called me weird. ―Frank Zappa

Years ago, I boarded a bus, and no sooner had I climbed aboard, I heard an angry voice shouting in what seemed like a foreign language (I don’t think it was; it sounded like gibberish, but I could be wrong).

As I looked over to where the voice was coming from, my eyes settled on a woman. She appeared to be having a go at someone behind her. I soon realised that she wasn’t talking to anyone; she was having a full-blown conversation at the top of her voice with herself.

She was chatting non-stop and laughing hard, and, as you might have guessed, the seat next to her remained empty — no-one wanted to sit next to her. I’m pretty sure that many of the passengers on the bus thought she was some kind of weirdo who might do them harm had they sat next to her.

Truth be told, I didn’t sit next to her either because I had no idea how she might react. There’s a good chance she wouldn’t have done anything, but nobody could tell, so none of us bothered.

But maybe weird isn’t even the word they would have used. Perhaps they would have described her as crazy or even deranged. Whatever they thought of her, the point I’m making is that some people will call you weird because of what you think, how you dress and how you behave. And if you suffer from a mental health condition, it can feel incredibly hurtful.

But what makes some people feel absolutely fine with being labelled as weird but for others, it’s mortifying?

Some people take great delight in calling themselves weird, and they wear the label with pride.

Even I don’t mind being called weird because there’s something I’ve come to understand over the years. I also believe that anyone else who doesn’t mind being labelled as such probably believes the same thing as me.

You see, I didn’t think of the woman on the bus as being some kind of weirdo. It’s highly likely that she had mental health issues, but that’s beside the point.

I had no idea about what was going on in her mind and her life for her to be that way. Is it possible that she would have been upset with being thought of as weird or something worse? Maybe, maybe not.

But the thing is, just because I didn’t understand her and sat quietly and minded my own business, while she was seemingly out of control, it doesn’t automatically mean that she was weird; and that’s the most important thing to keep in mind.

I didn’t understand what she was all about, that’s all.

I didn’t know what her thought process was; I didn’t know what her circumstances were; and I had no idea why she was acting the way she was. So why should I label her as “weird?”. She also didn’t do anyone any harm and kept herself to herself for the entire bus ride. She was just extremely loud.

When people call you weird, they’re saying one, two or all of these things:

1. I don’t relate to you.

2. You don’t fit my viewpoint of how people are supposed to be.

3. I don’t understand what you’re going through.

They don’t understand you in the same way that I didn’t understand the woman on the bus; they can’t make sense of what they’re seeing and/or hearing.

It’s true that we can all make our assumptions about a person based on how they behave, alongside other factors, and in some cases, we might be right.

But ultimately, calling a person weird comes down to not “getting” the person. However, that doesn’t mean justifying and ignoring a person’s dangerous behaviour. Whether you perceive a person as weird or not, you can’t simply sit back and ponder over the labels we give each other if you see him or her doing harm to others.

The fact that you are willing to say, “I do not understand, and it is fine,” is the greatest understanding you could exhibit. ―Wayne Dyer

So, what being weird really means is that you’re doing or going through something different from the masses, or not necessarily the masses but someone or a group of people who don’t do or experience things in the same way as you.

Their beliefs, their viewpoints about how to be and how to live life differ from yours or they don’t match how you’re currently living. But because they can’t or don’t want to wrap their head around what they perceive as “foreign” behaviour, they resort to calling you weird.

So, next time someone calls you weird, if you ever find yourself feeling upset about it, remember to focus more on the underlying meaning rather than making the word mean something bad.