Personality Cafe banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Banned
INFP 9w1 sp/so
Joined
·
2,470 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I don't know if this is the right section to ask this... But since this is a personality/psychology forum this seems like a good site to ask on.

I have a social problem that REALLY gets to me and I need to know what my deal is because it's crippling me socially. I have a tendency to focus to an extreme degree on only the negatives of any social interactions I have, and I'm never able to look back on any kind of interaction I've had with people in a good light, and thinking about times I've spoken to people usually makes me feeling ashamed and frustrated and I try to push the thought out of my head as quickly as possible.

I'm bad at making up examples, but say for example, I meet you for the first time. We get along really, really well. I like you and think you're great. You come away with a good impression of me and in your mind we both got along great and could be friends. But during the conversation, there were a few times you tried to talk and I didn't let you finish and just talked over you with something unrelated (I do that a lot, I have the attention spam of a fish). This mildly annoys you, but you moreorless forget all about it when we leave. I initially leave thinking things went well, but when I think back on our conversation, I realise that I interrupted you times, and I'll become hyper-focused on it. I'll overplay to an extreme how big a deal it was, I'll be convinced that I've made an ass of myself and you just think I'm annoying, and if I ever think back to our conversation again all I'll be able to think about is how much of an ass I made of myself.

I'll give some real life anecdotes because they'll be better. The ones that immediately come to mind are times I met people I'm a fan of because I really should think back on these fondly and can't.

- I'm a big fan of voice actors, a couple of years ago at MCM Comic Con I met Laura Bailey and Travis Willingham at a signing booth they had there. I had to jump up to look over the heads of the people in the line and see them but when I caught a glimpse it was like "Holy shit they're real people and they're here and I can go meet them, I'm gonna go do that". The line for them was insanely long, I was waiting in it for about an hour and a half but it was okay. When I first got into the line the hype and nervousness was so real. There was a point where they were supposed to leave but they stayed for another hour or so anyway because there was still a huge line which was insanely nice of them. They even remembered me from seeing me in the line about an hour earlier and were like "You made it!" when I finally got to them which was nice. But anyway, when I finally got to the front of the line and got to see them, because I'd been waiting in the line for about 2 hours by that point the hype had died down and I had to feign excitement when I talked to them. I'm pretty socially awkward anyway and I'm bad at making conversation, and in the end after an enthusiastic greeting I ended up just mumbling a few words to them with a forced smile on my face while Laura signed a thing I gave her, then I asked if I could get a picture and we did and then the next person came in so I left. Should feel great, I got to meet two people I'm a huge fan of and they were really nice and they probably didn't have any bad thoughts of it at all, but when I think back on it literally all I can focus on is how short I was and how indifferent I probably seemed because of all the hype dying down and it probably seemed like all I wanted from them was to have my game signed so it would be valuable or something. I think back on it and cringe, I can't be happy about it like I should be. I try not to think about the time I met two people I'm a massive fan of.

- I dunno how many of you are familiar with Psychostick but basically they're a comedy metal band from 'Murka. They've toured in the UK twice and both times me and a friend went to see them, but we had to get the train there and back and the trains back to my home city stop fairly early. They played in bars and the crowds were pretty small, after the first show we went to the band members chilled around and we could go talk to them and chill and stuff, but my friend made it clear we had to go soon because we had to catch the train. I wanted to meet all four of the members, I didn't get to meet the singer but I bought a CD from the guitarist at their stall and then met the bassist and got him to sign my face and it was great, but then my friend told me we NEEDED to go in like 2 minutes, so I rushed up to the drummer and got him to sign the CD, spoke pretty shortly because I was rushing, then walked away with the CD and exchanged a few awkward words as I did, and again with this one when I think back on it all I can think of is "what if he thought all I wanted was a more valuable CD" and again, I can only think bad thoughts when I think back on the time I got to meet Psychostick. Didn't have a choice though, the train doors were literally closing as we arrived. Then with the second show we went to we had to leave even earlier and barely got to watch the show, I was at the front of the audience going nuts and the guitarist seemed to be focused on me while he was playing and it was awesome, I was shouting the words to the song and he'd get right up in my face and shout them with me and go nuts and it was awesome, but we had to leave about 10 minutes into the show, so similarly there, my worry is "fuck, we were having a laugh, what if he thought I left because I thought they sucked?". As a result I don't like thinking back on either of those times.

- Y'all are probably more likely to know Tommy Wiseau. The Room guy. Him and Greg Sestero toured the UK for screenigns of The Room and Best F[r]iends late last year and me and a couple of friends went there, and after the screening (which was amazing, I laughed so hard I lost my voice, the audience was so much fun) we got to meet them but they seemed to be in a hurry because of how many people wanted to meet them. When it was me and my friends' turn to meet them I got them to sign a thing and asked Tommy if I could record a video of him for a friend that wanted to go but couldn't, he did do a really brief video and it was really nice of him, but because he seemed to be in a hurry I then just laughed and thanked him then left. But when I watch the video back right at the end he seemed to be trying to joke with me about how bad the video turned out and my only response was hurriedly turning away with a short laugh and walking off as he tried to talk to me. I could easily be misinterpreting the situation and I might not have actually seemed to be doing that, but in my head that's how it seems, and when I think back on the time I met Tommy Wiseau all I can think of is "did he think I didn't care about meeting him and just wanted to record a video of him" and again, as a result I don't like thinking about it.

Wow, sorry for the long paragraphs there, I get really absorbed up in typing these things. But those are just a few of the many examples that are flooding my head right now.

But as a result of feeling this way every time I meet people, I just don't do it. I hate going out for fear of making an ass of myself and giving myself another bad memory. When I go out I'll only go with my friends and if they try to join us up with friends of theirs that I don't know I start freaking out in my head and look for excuses to leave. I'm scared of going to meet & greets for fear that I'll convince myself I left a bad impression on someone I'm a fan of and it'll play on my head literally for years. Every now and then a memory of one of these times will just pop back into my head and I'll have to try to just shut it out again. Unless I made absolutely ZERO fuck-ups in our interaction, I physically cannot enjoy the experience of remembering my time spent with someone.

For context I do have a little bit of social anxiety but not nearly as much as I used to and I am pretty socially awkward and bad at conversation and that only feeds into my worries. I'm not afraid of people, just the risk of making an ass of myself if I try to engage with them.

Sorry for the wall of text, jesus christ.

Does anyone have any idea what the actual hell is wrong with me and how I can do something about it? I don't want to be a social brick.


PS: Another anecdote, an hour or so after posting this I'll be worrying over the fact that I typed way too much and people here will probably think I'm full of myself/being overly dramatic/just looking for excuses to whine about myself. And now I'm worrying that because I'm conscious of that people will think I have a guilty conscience and that it's true. And now I'm worrying that people will think I'm protesting too much and that this is a stupid paragraph to type and I look stupid. My brain is convinced that from this post you'll all have a bad impression of me and I absolutely hate the thought of that so I should just delete it and carry on with my day but today I'm going to ignore it and post it anyway. HERE GOES NOTHING

Edit: Oh wait, I should clarify, this only happens with people I don't know that well. With friends that know me well that I'm completely comfortable with I don't have to worry because they have the full idea of what I'm like. But with people I don't know really well I'm far too conscious that first impressions are everything. Or even if it's not my first time talking to them I'll worry that their impression of me will change. And as I said in a post in the enneagram forum, for some reason I need everyone to like me. I have to spend a LOT of time with someone before I'm confident I don't have to worry about what they think of me anymore.
 
  • Like
Reactions: charlie.elliot

·
Registered
Joined
·
150 Posts
Seems like all of your anecdotes were similar so it gives off the impression that this is more about when you meet certain specific people that you seem to idolise or something.

Anyway, a couple of different hypothesis about what's 'wrong' with you in this case:

You might be just too concerned about little things, about what other people think of you and about everything in general. You should try to take a step back, it seems like you're always in neverending thought and in a hurry, like somebody who has ADHD.

Another guess is that you may have poor understanding of social cues, perhaps a slightly low EQ.

Sounds like retrospective super self consciousness, which is leading you to feel in negative ways about interactions all the time.

I usually hope to give a useful response but in this case I cannot be of much use. It was a little quiet in here though so I had to leave a comment. :')
 

·
Registered
ISFJ
Joined
·
5,197 Posts
you're just thinking too much/overanalyzing. maybe try learning some meditation techniques to refocus your mind when you start overthinking. acknowledge your thoughts, but let them go afterwards.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
370 Posts
@Pizzasafari
I have quite a problem with this myself. I'm working on it still, but there was one thing someone told me that helped a lot.

Pretend someone else, a casual friend, perhaps, did the exact same thing to you. How easily would you forgive them? Would you look down on them and like them any less? Or perhaps you are watching a show and a character does the same action. They accidentally talk over someone, forget to thank them or whatever the case may be. Is that character not likeable in your mind any longer? Are they unforgiveable jerks?

If you would look down on them and not forgive them, then chances are you are just too critical of actions and need to learn to be more forgiving.

I suspect, however, that you would probably forgive and overlook the other. Humans tend to view one another comprehensively and apart from minute actions. Most people don't have drastic changes in how they view someone else based on every single sentence or interaction. We don't go from loving someone to hating them in the span of a sentence unless they do something very extreme. More often, people will look at the overall impression and assess if they like personality traits and tendencies.

Second thing: People often told me: "You're great! If someone doesn't like you, they're just jerks/missing out!" That's a nice thing to say and all, but it isn't true. It isn't the case that everyone who doesn't like me sucks or vice versa. There are plenty of kind, amazing people who I have met and view in a positive light who I am not friends with and do not intend to be friends with. People have different goals in communication and different preferred communication styles. Just because two people don't get along doesn't mean one has to be good and the other bad. They can just be different. People can view someone in a positive light without being interpersonally compatible.

At the end of the day, I've found that if I separate myself from my actions and forgive and pardon them in another person, I can learn to do so with myself. It isn't easy though. It's a constant sort of thing.
 

·
Banned
INFP 9w1 sp/so
Joined
·
2,470 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I was worried I'd make it sound like it was just people I idolised, haha. Nah, it generally happens with anyone I don't know well that I talk to, but it does get especially bad with people I really like/want to like me, probably because I tend to think harder on those interactions. I chose those examples because they were the best examples of where it's a real big problem. It's funny you mention ADHD though, I did think a while ago that I have either ADHD or ADD, but when I went to see a doctor to find out she said I didn't, so yeah. With the way my brain tends to work (or not work) in general though I'm pretty convinced I have something. But I don't want to go to the Doctor's every week like "Yo doc this week I think I have this brain".

I am extremely self-conscious though, that is a definite fact. This may sound dumb but I've never heard of EQ before... I'll have to look into it. Hmmm. Thanks!

Meditation isn't really something that's appealed to me. Maybe I'm just being closed-minded though. I figured though that if I can work out the actual cause of the problem and understand where it's coming from, maybe I'll be able to get my brain to understand that it's superficial and that fully understanding that will make it go away. If that makes sense? I'unno. Thanks though, I'll have a think on it.

Oh really? It's a relief to hear there's someone else with this problem. Nice to hear I'm not completely weird, haha. I have tried putting myself in the other person's shoes, but the problem I face there is that I know me and the other person might not necessarily think the same way. I've thought about it a bit more since posting this and I think I could hazard a guess that it stems from my experiences back in school. Teenagers are evil, man. I don't want to turn the thread into a whinefest though so I won't get into it. But at the risk of sounding like I have some kind of Mother Theresa complex I feel like I might be more understanding than the other person in their position? If that makes sense? So where I might know the other person didn't mean to be annoying, I might have struck a peeve the other person has. Or in the case of the examples I gave I worry that I gave a completely different signal than I meant to, and my brain starts getting into thoughts of all the scenarios where they could misinterpret what I did/said and think I don't care about/don't like them and aaaargh. Even though I know they probably didn't think anything of it it's like my brain is some separate entitity trying to beat me up over it and convince me otherwise.

I totally know what you mean with your second thing though, that's advice I'm guilty of giving out myself when I don't know what else to say. I'm of a mind that 100% of cases of people not getting along with each other is based on a failure to understand each other. All that jazz.

I don't mean to sound ungrateful for your reply by rebuting what you're saying though, thanks a lot for giving me your take on it. The problem I face there is when I try to put myself in the other person's shoes, my brain invents as many different pairs of shoes it can in which the other person could have easily misinterpreted and taken offense to what I did/said. Brains suck. It sounds like it's working for you though, I really hope you can get over your problem soon. I know how much of a pain it is!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
370 Posts
...I've thought about it a bit more since posting this and I think I could hazard a guess that it stems from my experiences back in school. Teenagers are evil, man. I don't want to turn the thread into a whinefest though so I won't get into it.
I'm very sorry to hear that. I'm lucky (sad as it sounds) that my insecurities mostly stem from myself and family.

But at the risk of sounding like I have some kind of Mother Theresa complex I feel like I might be more understanding than the other person in their position? If that makes sense? So where I might know the other person didn't mean to be annoying, I might have struck a peeve the other person has. Or in the case of the examples I gave I worry that I gave a completely different signal than I meant to, and my brain starts getting into thoughts of all the scenarios where they could misinterpret what I did/said and think I don't care about/don't like them and aaaargh. Even though I know they probably didn't think anything of it...
I must admit, much of the method does rely on ignoring the fact that people have, as a whole, evolved to be a cliqueish and judgmental species, just like animals. I am very forgiving and pardoning, which is a great virtue and weakness which has more recently gotten me into trouble. It's naive perhaps, to assume the best in others and assume goodness when people fall on a spectrum, but people tend to act good if you believe they will. At least I like to imagine that, even if it isn't actually true. If someone is not malicious, I see no reason to dislike them. It’s hard to find those who aren’t judgmental in a more literal sense of the word, as it’s a natural thing, and it’s quite easy to fall into it myself. There are some gems out there though, people to aspire to.

it's like my brain is some separate entitity trying to beat me up over it and convince me otherwise.
Oh lord, get out of my brain :p. I have a mood journal in which I wrote a similar thing: “Sometimes it feels as if there’s a separate part of my mind, a machine that feeds and learns on guilt, contempt and fear. It likes to make me feel guilty over every little thing I do. Empty condolences are frustrating and because nobody else can see these patterns that my brain likes to follow. I appreciate and am thankful for the gesture nonetheless.”

It went on a heck of a lot longer than that, but I'll spare you the details.

Hopefully it's more of a relief to find that you aren't the only one than it is depressing. Last semester I stayed in my dorm and avoided people because the prospect of “screwing up” was too daunting.

I’ve come upon a psychological school that I’m quite fond of lately, though I don’t recall its name at the moment. It was quite effective in more guilt-based disorders, like eating disorders, PTSD and social anxiety, at least according to a paper I read. It relies on teaching patients to pick up a perspective of compassion and empathy towards those around them, to teach them the mindset of forgiveness and embracing the flaws of others. Then, it becomes easier to project that mindset onto yourself.

Not sure if it’ll work, but hey, it’s worth a shot right? That does, unfortunately, require going out and meeting people to be compassionate towards lol. So here’s to next semester for me!

Thank you for the good wishes! They are returned to you.
 

·
Banned
INFP 9w1 sp/so
Joined
·
2,470 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I'm very sorry to hear that. I'm lucky (sad as it sounds) that my insecurities mostly stem from myself and family.
Nah don't worry, it wasn't really anything extreme. I just never really fit in and was really passive so I was an easy target. Now that school's over people are a lot nicer. But I'd point my finger at school as the reason for most of my insecurities. I'm sorry to hear about your case though, I can't imagine that having it come from your family would be any nicer than getting it at school. It sounds like you're moving on from it though so I'm glad to hear you're able to shake it off. Someday I'll do the same I'm sure.


... but people tend to act good if you believe they will. At least I like to imagine that, even if it isn't actually true. If someone is not malicious, I see no reason to dislike them....
Yeah, I'd agree that everyone has good intentions. People just have different ideas of what good intentions look like. I can be pretty naive when it comes to people, but I find that assuming the best of people never really does you any harm and usually makes it a lot easier to get along with everyone. I won't pretend I can't be judgemental too though.

“Sometimes it feels as if there’s a separate part of my mind, a machine that feeds and learns on guilt, contempt and fear. It likes to make me feel guilty over every little thing I do. Empty condolences are frustrating and because nobody else can see these patterns that my brain likes to follow. I appreciate and am thankful for the gesture nonetheless.”
AAAAHHHHH YOU GET IT YOU GET IT SOMEBODY GETS IT

Hopefully it's more of a relief to find that you aren't the only one than it is depressing. Last semester I stayed in my dorm and avoided people because the prospect of “screwing up” was too daunting.
Definitely! It really can be frustrating to get misadvice from people who don't understand the problem so it really is nice to hear from someone who knows exactly what you're talking about. I love this forum already. Y'all are great. I can definitely relate there though. Typical Facebook chat for me, "Yo are you coming to do X thing this weekend with me and other guy in chat" "Wow yeah cool definitely sure thing sounds good" "Cool my mates from work are coming too" "Oooof aaaahh ooooo eeeeech eeeee see there's this thing I just remembered I have to do, I have no money, yeah". Hermits represent. God I need a life.

It relies on teaching patients to pick up a perspective of compassion and empathy towards those around them, to teach them the mindset of forgiveness and embracing the flaws of others. Then, it becomes easier to project that mindset onto yourself. Not sure if it’ll work, but hey, it’s worth a shot right? That does, unfortunately, require going out and meeting people to be compassionate towards lol. So here’s to next semester for me!
Not sure if empathy is something I have a problem with personally, but it's definitely worth a try if you reckon it'll help you! I'd love to give tips for meeting people but that would be like me trying to teach a bird how to fly :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,775 Posts
There is something wrong with you...

Now what?

What are you going to do, who are you going to be? Where are you going to go? Who will go associate with?

Now what ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,095 Posts
Edit: Oh wait, I should clarify, this only happens with people I don't know that well. With friends that know me well that I'm completely comfortable with I don't have to worry because they have the full idea of what I'm like. But with people I don't know really well I'm far too conscious that first impressions are everything.
I feel this is a relatively normal response when it concerns people you don't know well. If you were having this response even with close friends and people you've known forever, that would really be a problem, and I would suggest seeking professional help for it.
But it seems like you feel this severely impacts you socially even though it only concerns people you don't know well? Maybe it would worth talking to a therapist about. They might be able to teach you cognitive tricks to get out of these negative thought loops.

Also, is this kind of negative thinking something that crops up a lot in your life, or is just specifically in this situation? If its something that pervades your life and really distresses you, again, it might be worth talking to a therapist/ psychiatrist about. I started taking Prozac recently for anxiety, and I noticed that it stopped me from getting in these negative thought loops... (I definitely had a tendency to focus on the negative and expect catastrophes around every corner). Instead of having the thought over and over again, with the medication, I would only have the thought once or twice and then it would just go away.

Or even if it's not my first time talking to them I'll worry that their impression of me will change. And as I said in a post in the enneagram forum, for some reason I need everyone to like me. I have to spend a LOT of time with someone before I'm confident I don't have to worry about what they think of me anymore.
It's good that you pinpointed this as being the root cause of the feeling. It's probably worth exploring that farther, thinking about why you need everyone to like you, how that feeling originated, what in your life may have contributed to that feeling, etc .The more you're familiar with your own feelings, the less they'll grip you and control you. If you can pinpoint and possibly change the underlying thought process, the emotional reaction will change naturally (this is the basis of cognitive behavioral therapy).
 

·
Banned
INFP 9w1 sp/so
Joined
·
2,470 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
But it seems like you feel this severely impacts you socially even though it only concerns people you don't know well? Maybe it would worth talking to a therapist about. They might be able to teach you cognitive tricks to get out of these negative thought loops.
The problem it causes for me is that because thinking back on my encounters with people gives me such an uncomfortable feeling (which in itself isn't very nice) I don't want to meet new people for fear that I'll convince myself that another person thinks badly of me and/or I'll give myself another bad memory that'll keep niggling at my head every now and then. I enjoy meeting new people, but after doing so I always convince myself that I screwed it up and they think badly of me and it is a pretty bad feel. But yeah that's pretty much what I was hoping I'd be able to do by working out exactly what the root cause is, therapy isn't really something I ever considered but it might be worth thinking about. There's a few things going on in my head that they might be able to help with. That kind of therapy isn't really something that's used a whole lot here in ol' blighty but it might be worth considering.

Also, is this kind of negative thinking something that crops up a lot in your life, or is just specifically in this situation? If its something that pervades your life and really distresses you, again, it might be worth talking to a therapist/ psychiatrist about. I started taking Prozac recently for anxiety, and I noticed that it stopped me from getting in these negative thought loops... (I definitely had a tendency to focus on the negative and expect catastrophes around every corner). Instead of having the thought over and over again, with the medication, I would only have the thought once or twice and then it would just go away.
As in seeing things in a negative light when reflecting on them? It's pretty much only with people, like you addressed below I'm pretty hyper-sensitive to peoples' opinion of me so I'm pretty sure that's one of the biggest things feeding into it. I think that's only one part of it, though. Do you find that your mindset is only fixed when you're on the prozac though? Or does your mind learn to keep it as your natural state of mind? I don't really know much about how it works, that kind of medication also isn't really used as much here as it is across the pond. It seems to have a bit of a bad rep here.


It's good that you pinpointed this as being the root cause of the feeling. It's probably worth exploring that farther, thinking about why you need everyone to like you, how that feeling originated, what in your life may have contributed to that feeling, etc .The more you're familiar with your own feelings, the less they'll grip you and control you. If you can pinpoint and possibly change the underlying thought process, the emotional reaction will change naturally (this is the basis of cognitive behavioral therapy).
I'm fairly sure I have a good idea of why it is I need everyone to like me (basically boils down to experiences with my peers as a teenager, teenagers suck), but I feel like there are a few more dots I need to connect before I'm able to perfectly understand where it's coming from and use it to fight back the thoughts when they arise. I'll keep exploring as best as I can and hopefully I'll have it all figured out before long. It's good to hear that's what therapists normally do, it feels like I'm on the right track now :tongue:

Thanks for the reply! You've given me a few things to think about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,095 Posts
Do you find that your mindset is only fixed when you're on the prozac though? Or does your mind learn to keep it as your natural state of mind? I don't really know much about how it works, that kind of medication also isn't really used as much here as it is across the pond. It seems to have a bit of a bad rep here.
It's hard to say, since I've only been on it for a few months and never experienced going off of it. I'm not sure what that would be like... the way I think of it is, it's really good to be able to cognitively reduce your anxiety without the help of a drug, obviously, so you're not dependent on the drug, but sometimes you're fighting a losing battle and the drugs just make it so much easier. And having less anxiety makes it so much easier to do anything else in your life. So you would rather devote your whole life to battling your anxiety, or have a bit of help with fighting anxiety, and do something else with your life?
I would hope that I could remember the less-anxiety mindset even if I stopped taking the Prozac, but who knows. The thing about anxiety is, there are chemicals in your brain that just totally affect your perspective on everything. Trying to imagine/ think yourself out of that perspective is like trying to see a new color. Sometimes you just can't do it no matter how hard you try. And then you take the med and all the sudden, you can. For some people.
There's no reason to have a negative mindset against psychiatric drugs, any more so than you'd have a negative mindset against drugs that lower your cholesterol or fight cancer or whatever else. Just think of them as tools that might help you and might not.
The other thing that happened after I started taking Prozac was I started drawing and writing stories again, after having not done it for many many years :)



Anyway!
That was a tangent unrelated to the issue at hand. Obviously I'm not saying you should jump to psychiatric drugs right away, but it might be something to open your mind to, although with therapy.
And as for therapy... everyone can benefit from therapy. Literally everyone. So its not a question of whether or not it would help you, it's just a question of whether or not its a priority for you right now.

I'm fairly sure I have a good idea of why it is I need everyone to like me (basically boils down to experiences with my peers as a teenager, teenagers suck), but I feel like there are a few more dots I need to connect before I'm able to perfectly understand where it's coming from and use it to fight back the thoughts when they arise. I'll keep exploring as best as I can and hopefully I'll have it all figured out before long. It's good to hear that's what therapists normally do, it feels like I'm on the right track now :tongue:

Thanks for the reply! You've given me a few things to think about.
You probably won't ever figure it all out, but even figuring it out to a small degree can have a huge positive effect on your life :)
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top