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I completely agree with you that the journey of self-discovery and peace is a long one. In fact, around 2 years ago, I used to be completely unaware of my emotions and was almost friendless. Compared to that, currently, I am in a better position.
With respect to your second comment, I feel that if someone is overconfident before me then I get subdued easily. Even, I am a pushover until a point. When I stop caring about those people remaining in my life for the long term, then I can be more assertive. With that being said, I agree with you that different people are fighting different battles which we may not understand.
The part which resonated the most with me was your last comment about knocking on the wrong doors. It may be true that those people might not be strong enough to open the door for me. But I feel great care for them and I wish that things could have been different. Watching them care for others makes me envious. I don’t want to exclude them from my life as I believe that they care for me at some level. At the same time, I don’t understand the way to deal with this envy. Any thoughts on this point?
The last couple of weeks were really hectic for me as I started working on a completely new project. Thank you so much for being understanding.
The experience you shared resonated with me very much. I am also very sensitive to how I am being treated, so much so that my mental peace is disturbed regularly as well as relationships with people around me. I always feel that others are not being just with me and I try to passively respond to that. It is true that I often go overboard for many people and their actions fall short of mine but then my behavior is capricious due to which others probably don’t feel secure. I feel that it is my insecurity in friendships and fear of confrontations which causes my fluctuating behavior.
Therefore, I think I am doing the same thing of thinking inward so much that I am not able to accept people with their flaws. On more introspection, I found that I have accepted many people in my life who have their eccentricities and were a source of annoyance for me initially but as time went by they accepted my flaws and me theirs. In all such cases, probably the other person accepted me first and I probably reciprocated the same. On the other hand, many people drifted apart as we could not accept each other. What do you think about this? How can I improve my behavior?
Can you please share what was your journey in being more accepting?
Just a parting thought, I feel a great deal of gratitude towards you for listening to me patiently. Again, thanks to you, I am able to identify with the feeling of selflessness and gratitude.
I read your experience and I felt that it was my own experience. Please give me a couple of hours more to respond to you in detail.
Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts. As you suggested, I took one of the introversion/extroversion tests and it gave me the following results –
“According to your results you appear to be the type of person who doesn’t socialize very often. You likely have a limited social network, and possibly aren’t really interested in extending it beyond a few close and intimate friendships. Having an active social life doesn’t appear to be an important thing to you. Chances are that when the opportunity arises to socialize among a large group of people, you’ll most likely turn it down if possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t enjoy socializing or being around people. Rather, you tend to prefer spending time with smaller groups of friends. Individuals who score similarly to you typically aren’t conversation-starters, especially with people they aren’t familiar with. In addition, they aren’t known to be exceptionally outgoing, unless among close friends.”
On reflection, this is almost entirely true. I do have a limited circle of friends and an even limited circle in which I can share my thoughts without hesitation. I have observed that If I am not afraid of losing the other person’s friendship then I am more of myself and do not let them trod on my self-esteem. I can have somewhat difficult conversations with them. But that is not the case when I am too afraid of being left alone. What do you think about that?
Friendships are like perennial rivers that never stop flowing. It is possible that as you move forward in your life you will lose touch with many of your past friends. But you will gain new friends in that phase of your life. Also, you can reconnect with your old friends anytime. Distance does not matter much if you want to maintain a friendship. Checking in on them once in a while would do the trick.
Also, at some point in your life, you will realize that you need to have only a few friends who can be there in your hard and good times. I personally made a lot of friends/acquaintances until I was in college. As I transitioned into a work environment, I made work colleagues who lost regular touch when you changed your job. However, when I look back, there were a few people from each phase who stuck and I am in touch with them even today. Whenever I visit their city, I always try to meet them. Once in a while we plan a trip to some location.
So my advice to you would be to keep yourself open to any friendships for now. You will get acquainted with new people from different backgrounds/cities in your case, and you will also lose touch with many people over time. Find the people with whom you can connect and keep in touch with them as you move away to different cities or different phases of life. Please don’t be afraid of anything.
My hesitation to share personal stuff usually happens with newer friendships which I have developed in the last couple of years. Perhaps it is because of the difference in our thought processes. They are more chilled out and I am not that easygoing. In fact in all such friendships, I believe that there is not much future. 10 years down the line, we would probably be busy in our lives and won’t have time to be playing video games regularly or going out drinking every Friday night.
However, the people I wrote about on 19th May are those with whom I have shared my lows and highs. I am comfortable with these people to share my thoughts and feelings. Similarly these people are also comfortable sharing personal stuff. It’s just that I am not amongst the primary friends with whom they would share their hard times.
Regarding being a priority with my family, I feel that they care a lot for me. They always accommodate to my schedule and remember small details about me. I also care a lot for them. However, I cannot share all the things with them because of the generation gap and the fact that they would be derailed by my situations and there won’t be much that they can help with.
Anita, Can you please help answer a question of mine? I always wonder how can I mentally brace myself to stop feeling hurt when I see my friends making an effort for their other friends but not me. It’s not that they don’t make any efforts for me but just that I care a lot more about them than they do about me. I know that I shouldn’t have expectations is friendships but can a person go about without having any expectations from anyone?
I care about these people so much that I can never hold anything against them despite feeling hurt for anything intensionally/unintentionally they do.
Thank you so much for being so proactive. And I really really mean this. Discipline has always been a bottleneck for me and I really need to work on that.
I again went over the posts in this thread and I can see a connection between both the posts. In my other post, I have gone over the issue of my feeling of loneliness. As you mentioned earlier, I need to be careful about the people from whom I seek love and affection. That is true but then it is really hurtful to be distant from a few people for whom I care very much even though they never put me at high priority in their lives. I had tried to become distant in the past but the pain and loneliness became too much and I forgot about the downsides of those friendships. Also, it’s not that they hurt me intentionally, It’s just that I am not a priority for them. What should I do about that?
Secondly, I have started believing that all people suffer from similar emotions. I am at some priority in my family but not with my friends. Is it the same with others as well?
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a nice answer. I really wish that this world has many more caring people like you.
I was dumbfounded after reading your analysis as it resonated very deeply within me. Your observation that I have low self-esteem is on the point and that is something which I have been aware of for some time. When I came to the US, one of my key objectives was to become more assertive and not be a pushover. However, I could never navigate the thin line between being assertive and overcompensating it to become over-aggressive. For example, with my flatmates, Initially, I tried to reason with them but it soon became a big argument/fight and I lost my temper. In reality, I hate confrontation with anyone. Perhaps that is really the reason for my lack of clarity on most aspects of my life. I get swayed easily just to please others.
I am not sure about how to develop better self-esteem. I always feel the need for validation of my actions to ensure that I acted in my better interest and the argument was necessary. For example, currently, with my flatmates, I try to avoid as many arguments as possible, even if that requires additional work on my end. The reason is that, after 3-4 months, we all will graduate and would go on to work in different companies. From my past experience, I feel that they would not matter at all after at max a year or so. Therefore, it would be counter-productive for me to fight with them over small things which might help me take a stand but would hamper my mental peace for now (Though a certain resentment builds up due to all this). What do you think about this?
There is one more thing about the boundaries of self-esteem. What exactly is the boundary of self-esteem? For example, I might consider cooking regularly for a “friend” who is not well-versed in that area but tries to help me out in different ways. Would that be reasonable given that I would probably put in much more effort than him? I always thought that to be fair and therefore can go out on a limb if I consider someone my friend (I don’t know but I consider others as my friend much before than they reciprocate which causes hurt expectations sometimes.).
I was really looking forward to the group counseling sessions but they got canceled for this semester due to the COVID-19 outbreak. On a side note, please be careful and safe regarding this.
I am often insecure about various decisions that I have taken. What actions would you suggest for me to become self-confident?
Hey E @happyotter,
Being an introvert myself, I understand how you feel. Many things which you mentioned in your post resonated with me a lot such as “starting fresh” and “not good at being social anymore”. In fact, I have also done things quite similar to yours in the past. I had left my job and country as well, just to get past the things and people who were a source of anxiety for me.
Truth be told, I believe that we should not be too harsh on ourselves. We have only one life and we should try to be happy living it. That is easier said than done. There would be some days which are really hard and then some days would be really happy. And then in the middle, there would be days which would be boring and lonely as well. Whenever you are having those bad days, please think about your journey from the lowest point of your life to recovering back. You are indeed a strong person who has gone through a lot and came smiling on the other side.
Regarding the fact that most people have already built life-long connections while you are just starting, think about it from a different perspective. Those people with whom you are opening up can probably be your life-long connections after some time. I am not saying that the journey of making good friends would always be easy but just that some parts of the journey would be beautiful and some might bring certain heartache with them as well.
Also, One more thing if that helps you. Being an introvert, I felt that I overthink situations much more than others. A situation/remark which would have been easy for others becomes difficult for me due to overthinking about the same. This is a complete spiral where you would start by innocuous thoughts and then they become a tornado of negative emotions. Consequently, within a few days, I would find myself self-isolated, alone and depressed. I am not sure about any solution or explanation regarding this and would very much appreciate thoughts of anyone about the same. The thing which helps me in such situations is making self-effort to come out of isolation and make efforts to change the situation. Only I have the power to change the circumstances around me.
Also, If you feel the need to talk with anyone or share your thoughts/emotions, please feel free to post in my thread. I would be happy to listen to you. Additionally, there are really awesome people including Anita on this forum who make the effort to reply to most posts.
Around six months ago, we had just started our school in the US and it was a cultural shift for us. For example, one needs to cook and clean his own utensils every time. Back in my country, domestic help is very cheap. Additionally, cleaning the house and getting the household/grocery items needs to be taken care of by yourself.
So, initially, when we arrived things were fine as I wanted to adjust with my flatmates. I cooked for all three of us and cleaned the dirty dishes as well. But after some time, when coursework pressure started building, it became annoying for me to handle all the chores along with my studies. There were times when I cooked a meal for all three of us and then stored it. Later when I checked the fridge, the meal had been finished by my flatmates and the dirty dishes were in the sink. This made me livid but I didn’t react to this as well. I tried to passively handle the situation and I thought that my flatmates would show some maturity and things might settle down. So, one day while I was with one of my flatmates, some discussion broke out between us and I remarked that we need to distribute the cleaning of cooking utensils among all of us as it becomes difficult for one to handle cooking and cleaning of dishes for three people. The third flatmate only consumed the food and never went to buy any groceries or cooked the food or cleaned the dishes. Now, in the evening, this flatmate mentioned this to the third flatmate who became livid and started bashing me. Whenever I become angry, I usually overcompensate for that and the arguments are more like fights. This happened that day and it was decided that everyone among us would cook and clean after themselves.
Now, things have been really weird between us many times. For example, If he is cooking anything then he would ask the other flatmate (who is more of an opportunistic) if he wants to eat but would not ask me even if I am in the same room. I would reciprocate similarly.
Once, I told him to clean his dishes and even though he didn’t say anything to me, he cleaned up all the dishes of everyone. That was not out of altruism or care but out of anger(might be).
Then, we usually buy a particular variety of frozen pancakes and that has been discussed as well between us. Almost 95% of the time, I go out and buy household stuff from toilet paper to groceries. That time I didn’t replenish the pancakes when we ran out of them. Now, he went out and bought a variety which I particularly hate. Though this might not have been done out of spite, I could not prevent myself from overthinking.
I am not looking for any special concessions but just some empathy. I want to be in an atmosphere where If I need something then my flatmates/friends can help me out and that I can reciprocate the same to them.
For your third question, he said in a pitiful voice that I have to do all the stuff and I should be helped by others. But then helping in mandatory household chores is his responsibility as well which is implicit. I should not have to run after them or remind them to do all that. He just said this and never did offer to take out the trash. I had to explicitly say this again that the chore of taking out the trash should be shared by all.
Thanks a lot for replying to my post earlier. I apologize for not writing back earlier. I checked the feed after a couple of days but didn’t have enough emotional strength to write back.
Since our last conversation, I have binge-watched a lot of shows on Netflix. My favorite one among these has been Stranger Things. It’s not as scary as I first thought it to be. But it has a fantastic plot and screenplay. I have also tried to get in contact with a group counseling service provided by my university. I am yet to attend any session of the same. I think it might start by the end of this month.
I am writing again today as I am again feeling out-of-sorts. Before I share anymore, I have to say something else as well. I think that writing again only when I am sad or depressed is not appropriate as it makes me a little selfish and opportunistic. I would hate myself to become any of these. If you are angry or upset with me regarding this, then I understand as well. Just a thought – It is easier for me to say this in writing than saying it in person. Additionally, I promise you that I would write back to you timely and would not ghost you.
Currently, I have a flatmate situation that has been bothering me. I can always feel that things are not fine between us. We have been flatmates for about 6 months or so now. During our initial days, we had a big argument and since then we try to avoid each other on a few topics. Since we don’t have much in common except the classes which we are taking, we usually don’t have much to talk to each other. Now, what happens is that he does something to tick me off due to which I feel bad. Then I do the same in retaliation. Thing is, I tried to make things better a few times by walking the extra mile for him but he never reciprocates. For example, I took care of the house chores for almost a month without saying anything but in return, I was sorta mocked or so I felt. I don’t expect any big gestures but I do expect humbleness and some empathy instead of arrogance and attitude. Though the age difference between me and my flatmates is just 2 years, I feel that I am much more responsible/old (which disconnects me with them). I remain depressed most of the time as I don’t feel a connection with anyone in my university circle. If I want to develop a greater friendship with anyone then they don’t want to with me. They are looking for more popular people.
Apart from this concern, I feel that I have been always unhappy in all phases of my life. I am always complaining and waiting for the time to pass. By just letting time flow, the current situation changes and I am then stuck again in a different problem. I watch others enjoying their life and making lasting/deeper connections but here I am lonely in all phases of life.
Do you have any comments to share for me?
Thanks Anita for these kind words. It gives me the courage and hopes that the world indeed is full of kind people.
I read a Quora post recently which resonate with me a little. The link for the same is as here. The reason for the same is that in the recent past (few years), I found myself in various positions where I was on the outskirts of my social circle. Other people in the group resonated a lot with each other and less with me. It hurt me a little every time to find that very few people in my life actually cared about me. I did crave approval and love from a few people who didn’t feel the same way. This led me in and out of depression in the last couple of years. Compared to the last phase of my life, I am much more detached and carefree right now. I just hope that it won’t be jinxed.
I have felt over the past year or so that I have begun to dislike conversations over WhatsApp and other social media. Sometimes I feel that it might be the reason for being the odd one out. Others are more prone to connecting over social media and then taking it forward in real life.
In your post above, you mentioned that I should connect deeply with other people and experience no judgment. I am a bit skeptical about it sometimes. I have felt people judging others. And that is why they unconsciously decide whom they want to connect more and who they want to keep on the sidelines.
Just a random thought came to my mind. Am I too critical of myself and others?