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I Can't Describe Directions Even When I Know Where Something is.

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Canterpiece, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. Canterpiece

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    Sometimes a lost stranger will stop and ask me for directions. I often dread this. Especially when they ask me about a place that I know well, because it's even more frustrating when I can't provide instructions.

    If they'd allow, I could easily physically guide them there. We could walk together and that way we'd get to the intended destination. But standing in one place, I can't help at all. If there was enough time, I could easily draw them a detailed picture of all the various locations from memory in the order the stranger would have to pass them to get there. Yet translating those visual images in my mind into verbal directions...I'm stumped. Whilst I could describe it in words to myself, the way in which I would recall them would not make sense to a stranger. I tend to think of directions not in their physical relation to one another, but through seemingly minor details that piece them together. For example, I know that I'm going the right way because I pass some purple orchids, only just miss a spiky bush, and I also know that I'm on schedule if I hear a certain bird call when I'm at the mailbox.

    But you can't direct someone through an area they are unfamiliar with by using patterns you've noticed overtime. I wish that it was possible to have a super computer which could show my thoughts in photograph form on a digital screen. Then I could show that person just where to go. But instead I have to say "No, sorry I don't know where that is" when more accurately "I know that route off by heart, to the point where it can feel as though I'm in Groundhog day because I can predict what I'm going to hear/smell/see next at certain points on that route. However, I can't direct you there because when I try to apply instructions to the memory pictures in my mind's eye I feel as though I'm on the teacups at the fairground because my brain is put in a spin. I hate it because I know the way so well, yet I don't know it at all at the same time".

    Can anyone here relate? :sweat_smile:
     
    #1 Canterpiece, Jan 15, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  2. Dovestar

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    Oh. My. God. Mood
     
  3. shasha1997

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    I get lost often so use mapping software on phone to get unlost. if someone ask directions I show on phone as could never verbally do without confuse them more.
     
  4. Destin

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    I think it's a bit of unexpected performance anxiety too when this happens. They randomly come up to you and surprise you with the question so your mind just goes blank stressing over making sure it's right so they don't get lost even more because of you.

    It happens to me with school stuff too. I get asked a question about something in a class that I've known for years and suddenly I don't remember how to do it anymore when they ask me about it.
     
  5. Chierro

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    Oh I experience this all the time at my summer job! I work at an amusement park so I get asked where places are all the time by customers. I've been working there for years so I know where most everything is but sometimes I get really thrown.

    When I worked in my old department, I would be in one place all day and could easily guide people from my location. Now, though, whenever I get stopped and asked if when I'm walking around the park to pick something up so I have to orient myself mentally in relation to what they're looking for first. I can easily just walk them someplace though (especially if I'm heading in that direction) instead of saying, "Turn left at this ride and then you'll see this game, and turn right at the pirate ship, and then cross this bridge, etc...." When in doubt, if I'm asked for the closest bathroom or smoking section and I don't know I'll just point them in a random direction. If they're asking for a specific food, I'll just point them to the closest food stand and have them ask the food workers.

    So yeah. Mood. Serious mood.
     
  6. Shorthaul

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    Don't feel bad, lots of people are not good at giving directions; including many who can't even tell you how to get to their own home. I drive truck, and have since 2004 and trust me it is quite common for people to have difficulty giving directions and even correct addresses.

    I drove past one person's home six times, because their house was not on the road I was driving up and down on, but up a hill on a road with a different name.

    A map application that has satellite imaging can help you. If for instance you remember the house on the corner has a tacky colored roof and you always turn left at the tacky roof house to head to the store. You can find that on your map and tell the person the street name from there.
     
  7. jenne

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    i'm so awful at giving directions even for the most close location
    i'm also terrible at learning new streets i don't remember anything i'm almost always lost when i'm in a new place while other people have it so easy
    i don't know what's wrong
    that's why i can't go on a trip alone even if i want to
     
    #7 jenne, Jan 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
  8. LaurenSkye

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    With me, I'm good with streets and street names. I can tell someone turn left on Main St, right on 7th St, and left on Broadway. But, I worry that they will not know street names, or how far it is to a certain street, so I try to describe it to them in another way and that's where it gets difficult for me.
     
  9. Loves books

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    I’m terrible giving and taking directions. I learned last year in college that I can’t follow a map. When I give directions it’s usually like ‘ there’s a road on that side but you take the other one and you go that way and it’s over there’ along with a lot of hand pointing. I have seen people drive on and stop someone else.
     
  10. HM03

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    I'm so bad spatially in general. People love teasing me on how bad I am at knowing where I'm going, how to get there, where certain landmarks are etc. So also mood.
     
  11. LaneyM

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    Yup, this is all me. I got lost once leaving a job interview-it was a very small building, and I was going back the same way I came in. I identify with Chidi from The Good Place: I have "directional insanity."
     
  12. Dovestar

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    That's such a mood what the heck
     
  13. BadassFrost

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    I usually don't have a problem describing directions in general, but sometimes I find myself struggling with confusing the left and right (which makes me feel pretty ashamed). It happens especially when I'm supposed to immediately tell the direction quickly. And when it happens, and I don't immediately notice and correct myself, it's pretty bad since I may send someone to a totally different place.

    Once I completely embarrassed myself, when, while I was waiting for a friend at the entrance to a Prague metro station, an older lady came up to me and asked for directions. She was obviously a tourist and seemed very disoriented. She showed me her map and pointed at her desired destination. I was a bit surprised when she approached but luckily I knew that place so I just told her "take the metro on the left and depart at the second to last station, it should be right there." She thanked and went to the station platform. A moment later I got a message from my friend that he'll be coming to the station from the opposite entrance, so I entered the station and went to the other side of the platform. Then, I saw that lady inside of a crowd of people, entering the train on the left. At that moment I realized that I accidentally told her 'left' instead of 'right'. I knew that she was supposed to take the train on the right side, but for some unknown reason I just swapped the words right and left without even noticing it. And so I sent her to a completely opposite side of the city... It left me very ashamed and feeling sorry for that confused lady.
     
    #13 BadassFrost, Jan 22, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
  14. beenthrdonetht

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    Having coherent thoughts is much easier than expressing them. (This is why good teaching X is actually harder than just doing X.) And what more demanding task than 3-D direction-giving? I think that the surprise is that anyone is good at this. You shouldn't feel too bad. And yes! you could go there yourself, you could draw a map. So it's not like you don't know what to do. It's a translation problem and a hard one at that.

    As I age, my rationale(ization) of this is that my expanding mind outpaces my dessicating tongue. (Must drink more.) I suspect they're just both slowing down though.
     
  15. Andrew99

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    I can’t either. I’m just terrible with names. I just say hey turn down this street after passing up that brown house then after you see a big oak tree take a left and then there’s a pink mailbox and that’s where it is.
     
  16. LaneyM

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    Y'all, I was texting a friend talking about this very topic and I meant to say "but that's what GPS is for" but it autocorrected to "that's what god is for" and I'm way too amused by this. Jesus take the wheel I guess :joy: