You're at a party, and a someone starts a conversation with you. They start talking to you about this French film festival they recently went to because, as they state, they're a hardcore fan of French cinema.
You are not a hardcore fan of French cinema, but you can recall a couple of particularly good ones you saw, and so you mention these films, the actress you remember, and the plot points you found most interesting.
This person is visibly excited that you know these films, as those are among this person's favorites. You remember some more details about those films, and so you discuss those details. The cinematography, the mood of the story, the twists in the plot. You're not emotionally invested in these details in any way, in fact, they're actually pretty immaterial to you. Still, the person gets even more excited because they feel the same way.
So this person goes on to tell you that it's refreshing to talk to someone like you, someone who has seen these great films. Then they proceed to talk at some length about how they hate that they can't share this with more people, and how frustrating it is not to have more fans of French cinema around them.
Now, you make your next move. You say things like "Yeah, for you I bet it feels like you saw this life changing movie and it sucks not being able to share that" -or- "I can imagine that from your point of view everyone should take some time out and give French cinema more of a chance".
You try to let this person know you're seeing things from their point of view, that you understand where they are personally coming from.
"Oh my gosh!", the person says, "It's so great to finally meet someone who feels the same exact way I do!".
At this point, your brain is flopping around helplessly inside your cranium trying to come up with the most tactful way to explain that you yourself don't actually feel the same way about French cinema after all, some way to form these words without embarrassing the shit out of this person or sounding like you think they're an idiot for not realizing this, but you're already screwed.
"Ha!", you say, "That's......awesome".
Then you stand there helplessly as this person appoints you as their new personal French cinema BFF and praises you to the skies for having such great taste in movies. Every time you see this person you are greeted with a "Bonjour!", and you ask yourself "Why did I have to tell them I liked that movie? Why didn't I just say I think French cinema blows goats???".
Any of this sound familiar??
I get this all the time, and I mean all the time. I have this seemingly infinite storage bin of academic factoids and pop culture pulp inside my head and I just retain shit tons of information. I don't think I've met anyone I can't talk to about something. I try really friggin' hard to assert my place in the conversation and discuss stuff that I personally like, while paying attention to the likes of who I'm talking to. I've also been conditioned to throw those qualifiers like "From your point of view it's probably __________" and "For you it's _________" and "You probably feel __________" or what have you, but they still seem to mistake what I say as me claiming I have those feelings/perspectives myself.
Sometimes when it happens, I seriously want to crawl under a rock and die because I feel so friggin' awkward.
Sometimes I want to shake them and be like 'Bitch, you got ears? I was empathizing! EM-PA-THI-ZING! This thing that emotionally affects you does not affect me!! You pickin' up what I'm puttin' down right now??".