There are a lot of instances where Picard is clearly making up an excuse to get away from Lwaxana Troi. Here's one, from TNG: Menage a Troi:

LWAXANA: Oh, Jean-Luc! Jean-Luc! Come have a drink with me. Tell me what you've been up to.

PICARD: Perhaps later, Lwaxana. Mister Data and I were just about to show Reittan Grax the er, the er, the new door mechanisms on the aft turbolifts. If you'll excuse us?

Then there's another time when Picard invited Data to crash his dinner with Troi, and spent the whole evening getting Data to spout inane filler.

And she never seems to call him on it. Is she unaware of how people feel about her or does she just not care, preferring instead to force people to endure awkward social situations?

There was a single line in TNG: Haven where Lwaxana implies Picard was having erotic thoughts about her, but Deanna clarifies that she was only joking. So it's not like she thinks there's a chance between them.

Given Betazoids' penchant for brutal honesty between each other, does Lwaxana totally understand that Picard is trying to avoid her and is simply amused that Picard is going through the trouble of making up an excuse instead of just telling her to p*ss off like any other Betazoid would?

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    It's possible that his refusal to outright reject her is being interpreted by her as "maybe there's a chance," given the whole brutal honesty thing. I don't have easy access to the entire series, but I seem to recall an episode, probably later in the show's run, where she admitted to Troi that she knew Picard wasn't really interested (or WTE.) IIRC, she and Troi were in the brig of an alien vessel at the time, maybe Romulan? I think the plot revolved around her using another man to try and make Picard jealous.
    – Steve-O
    Nov 29 '16 at 19:52
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    @Steve-O Hey, you're thinking of TNG: Menage a Troi, where two Ferengi abduct Lwaxana while she's picnicing with Deanna and Riker. They want to use her telepathy to take advantage of negotiations. Lwaxana tricks her capturer into releasing her by making him think that Picard is a maniacal ex-lover who will go to no end to win her back (including destroying them all).
    – Xplodotron
    Nov 29 '16 at 20:03
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    That episode had one of the most hilarious scenes from the series, where Picard declares his love.
    – Broklynite
    Nov 29 '16 at 21:30
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    Maybe he is playing hard to get because, as captain of the flagship and her daughter's commanding officer, he feels it's inappropriate to have a relationship with her. She is aware of this and uses it to mess with him..
    – geewhiz
    Feb 13 '18 at 16:52
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    The easiest explanation is that Lwaxana Troi is a troll of the highest order and does it just to amuse herself and to annoy her daughter. She may have started off seriously pursuing him, but then decided that messing with him was really funny. Him and Mister Woof. Feb 14 '18 at 4:30

I don't think we will find an interesting clear explanation in canon. However, to speculate, we can make an analogy to human behavior which might explain the situation.

Humans have varying ability to implicitly understand the thoughts and feelings of those around them. This isn't a telepathic ability, but is instead a skill which uses a lot of cues to inform the opinion (body language, voice pitch, attitude, etc). Some humans who are normally very good at judging what others are thinking or feeling can have this ability compromised to various degrees when there is a significant emotional attachment to their subject. For example, some people tend to think others are never sexually attracted to them, even though they can see sexual attraction in fine detail between others when they are not the subject of that attraction. The reverse opinion, thinking others are romantically interested even when they are not, is also common.

The level to which this ability is compromised is directly correlated with the level of emotion someone has invested in the subject they are trying to read. Mrs. Troi is completely infatuated with Picard. I think it is reasonable to assume that although an objective telepath would clearly see Picard isn't interested, Mrs. Troi instead makes excuses to herself for why she thinks he is or could be.

This method of storytelling is very common in Star Trek, and throughout science fiction. Characters are often built with characteristics which are examples of the human condition taken to super-human extremes. Those characters are then used to explore the nature of that facet of the human condition. In this case, we are exploring human empathy, emotion, and the effects they have on the perception of reality.

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    Cannon = Thing you shoot with. Canon = a body of works.
    – Valorum
    Dec 11 '16 at 22:00
  • Also, you might want to distinguish between Mrs. Troi and Troi since they're different characters.
    – Valorum
    Dec 11 '16 at 22:01
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    I think she finds his discomfort attractive, or possibly she sees his politeness as exotic. Such politeness is probably alien to Betazoids, being telepaths. Dec 11 '16 at 22:34
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    Or maybe she just enjoys teasing him.
    – Tim
    Jan 11 '17 at 0:58

Yes, she knows (she's an empath), but I suppose that similar to the way some women will doggedly chase a man they want thinking they can wear him down, she keeps on anyway. However, in the episode in which she goes through the Betazoid version of menopause, they do have sex.

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    I'm pretty sure they don't have sex.
    – Valorum
    Dec 12 '16 at 0:30
  • Well, it certainly was implied that that they did.
    – Harlemme
    Dec 12 '16 at 0:59
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    No, it really wasn't. - MRS. TROI: Oh well, I didn't find a mate but I saved the conference as well as your reputations. All in a day's work I suppose. - TNG: Manhunt
    – Valorum
    Dec 12 '16 at 1:14
  • Well Romero and Deanna have had sex but she doesn't exactly see him him as her mate.
    – Harlemme
    Dec 17 '16 at 23:41
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    I hate to break it to you, but you're wrong. She doesn't have sex with the hologram Rex except in your fevered imagination and possibly some bad fanfic.
    – Valorum
    Dec 17 '16 at 23:48

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