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Conflicted social preferences, frequent interruptions- advice needed

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  • This topic has 10 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 3 years ago by K.
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  • #306721
    K
    Participant

    I have always been pretty quiet, though over the years I function what would be considered, I’m sure as a “normal, socially-engaged” person. However, there are days that go by where I simply do not want to talk to anyone or be talked to as that will lead to the obligatory “reply” on my end– otherwise that would just be weird if I literally said nothing after someone just got done speaking to me. I sometimes find it frustrating and exhausting to have to talk and then get interrupted and talked to. Sometimes I literally don’t even have anything to say either. When I reach moments like this, I am usually grumpy and over-tired. I sleep enough hours usually, between 6-7. I just literally sometimes bristle at the thought of being approached and talked to and my body language gives it away, I would imagine. I would like to start being more open and gentle in these situations, where I would be open and gentle to talk to and with other people. I totally understand the beautiful space that lies when listening to someone else that we can learn things we had not previously known. To just listen without the intention to quickly reply or interject for the satisfaction to “be heard.” Anyone have any thoughts or experience with this? I wish I wasn’t so prickly when it came to interacting with others. I’m not sure how it quite got to this point. I think it is emotional exhaustion and the craving for complete quiet out in nature that I rarely get to experience anymore. There is always traffic, voices, laughter, my own thoughts, noise in my own head, etc.. but I imagine these are all very common amongst most of us. I would love a cabin in the forest next to a babbling brook, and go out to socialize more often on my own terms and be visited only by my close circle of people that I actually enjoy spending time with, and that they would want to spend time with me. Is there any advice you can offer to be a gentler person and more open to the possibility of letting other people speak without the internal conflict? On the outside I usually cover up just fine and look unperturbed at the constant interruptions– but inside sometimes I can be bubbling with aggravation and that I just want to be left alone. Other days, the frequent interruptions don’t bother me so much. It is confusing. I listen to all kinds of music to appease myself, some of which is meditation music. I take deep breaths, etc. I try to look on the positive side and try to recognize that it is human nature to want to be heard and feel validated and special. Advice welcomed, thank you.

    #306999
    Katie
    Participant

    Hi K!

    Not much advice to offer, but am interested in what others have to say because you described a lot of what I feel too! I think you are right that a lot of it is exhaustion…I know when I’m tired, I am way more annoyed with people. I like how you put it…prickly…I feel this so much. I don’t know about you, but I am a highly sensitive person…so interactions with people really can be draining. I think knowing this causes me to want to avoid interacting…and some people are more draining than others. Is feeling this way causing you distress? Other than the aggravation obviously…but maybe the aggravation comes from feeling like you shouldn’t be feeling this way? I don’t know, but honestly I don’t think there’s really anything wrong with what you described…we all have different social needs. I know sometimes I crave feeling more connected to people but then when the time comes to interact I’m not really happy with how it goes. It’s not a feeling of anxiety, just a realization that a lot of people I’m around on a daily basis I don’t have much in common with so it can be kind of disappointing. When I want to talk about fermenting veggies, interesting parts of history or how Buddhist philosophies are changing my life, they’re more interested in the latest social media gossip or complaining about the weather or traffic. So yea…not much advice to offer except to restate that you are definitely not alone in this and I hope you are being easy on yourself when you feel these things!

    Take care!

    Katie

    #307039
    K
    Participant

    Hi Katie, thank you for replying! I really like how you said this: “It’s not a feeling of anxiety, just a realization that a lot of people I’m around on a daily basis I don’t have much in common with so it can be kind of disappointing.” I feel misplaced sometimes. I realize I contribute to societal nonsense sometimes by giving social media my attention and willingly being okay with myself knowing that I am wasting my own time, when I could be utilizing it in much more wholesome, helpful ways for myself. However, I also enjoy the deeper, “old soul” things in life, too.. These subjects are hard to work into every day conversation sometimes. However, it totally can be done, and it is interesting because a surprising amount of people can talk about such subjects if I open up about them first. But I kind of wish and need others to open up about fascinating, unique subjects first, to refresh my idea that there is grounded wisdom still in our society. That we actually care about meaningful stuff besides a caramel chai macchiato whatever or when we are getting our nail tips touched up.. Or when we are taking the car in for repairs. These various examples do have their place, a certain validity, but do not possess any real depth to life or feeling passionately, deeply, meaningfully. I hope that makes sense. I don’t always expect interactions like this. I just would prefer it sometimes. I think there is good energy to be gained from such a deep exchange. To me, it holds so much more depth than small talk, gossip, etc. I sometimes wonder how people can laugh so easily at stuff that I hardly consider funny at all. But I hurt myself in a way by faking a laugh just to fit in I guess. It isn’t that funny to me, and it makes me feel sad. I realize I painted a bit of a bleak picture here, which is not my intention. I just wish people craved more depth, more happiness, more vivacity and the willingness to truly be generous, kind, loving, and gentle. Instead we gossip, interrupt, only want to talk and not truly listen, and rush around like our lives depend on it.. because we are so caught up in the whirlwind of nonsense that we really do think our lives depend on it. Such a dumb rat race that doesn’t need to be that way. We as a society need a lot of help reframing what it looks like to really live deeply and meaningfully, and to do stuff that actually brings us actual happiness. But first, we need to figure out what actually brings us true happiness. Do a lot of us truly know what that looks like? Probably not. Over the years, I have certainly lost that ability- sometimes I really kind of feel at a loss regarding what I really, truly need to feel happy. I think all this stuff brims over and causes such a conflict within me and a distaste of interacting with others sometimes. I just don’t want to engage in such petty things or feel the need to contribute to such nonsense and use valuable energy trying to do so. Maybe it’s my soul’s way of telling me that I don’t have to, that ultimately I always have my permission to do what I need to and want to, and to honor myself and preserve my energy and sanity. Thanks for listening Katie!!

    #307047
    Katie
    Participant

    Hey K,

    Thanks for responding! What you said resonates with me, I really do hear you. I feel the same frustrations sometimes and I do think it’s important to remember – as you said – that you don’t have to engage in these things if you don’t want to, but it is also totally ok to engage if you’re feeling it another time! And I agree…sometimes when I actually initiate a conversation about something I care about, I am surprised that other people do care and we are able to talk about it. I think with the way our society is so “connected” these days, it’s easy to forget the beauty (and necessity!) of silence. We don’t always have to be talking/listening to still be connected to one another…just with kindness, a mutual understanding that we are all on this journey together, albeit each with our own paths and experiences. I think sometimes people get really uncomfortable with silence so they try to fill it with chatter – sometimes maybe it’s something that’s of interest, sometimes something I couldn’t care less about and this is when I start getting annoyed and feeling like I need to get out of this interaction NOW. I think as we become more mindful, we are more conscious of the words we are putting out there…they really do make an impact, as do the words from others that we take in. I loved your last sentence – “ultimately I always have my permission to do what I need to and want to, and to honor myself and preserve my energy and sanity”. Nailed it!

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Katie. Reason: forgot the end of a sentence!
    #307063
    K
    Participant

    Thanks Katie! I like what you said about “I think with the way our society is so “connected” these days, it’s easy to forget the beauty (and necessity!) of silence. We don’t always have to be talking/listening to still be connected to one another…just with kindness, a mutual understanding that we are all on this journey together, albeit each with our own paths and experiences.”

    and “I think as we become more mindful, we are more conscious of the words we are putting out there…they really do make an impact, as do the words from others that we take in.”

    I find these to be so beautifully true.. and it’s amazing how uncomfortable people get with silence and gaps in conversation. Even with myself, I “feel” like I am being awkward or I “feel” uncomfortable when I am silent in an instance where I “feel” like I should be talking, contributing. I feel like over the years in many instances it has made me less “popular.” Not that that is a good or bad thing, but just a “thing” nevertheless. People crave small talk, laughter (which I totally get, me too), sharing common ground, spilling dirty little details, confiding in one another, feeling safe and the ability to be honest with each other. I get it. It just has never come easily to me. I struggle with continued small talk past a  few sentences. I wish I were funnier. I love laughter, how it makes me feel, how I feel when I see others laughing, the connection made when I can make other people laugh at something.  I always feel so tired all the time. I don’t like it. I feel prickly and moody when underneath I know there is sense of self, purity, beauty, and love. However, the “ego” part of me I guess, is moody, prickly, tired, annoyed at trivial things not worth getting annoyed at. It undermines my ability to devote more of myself to a higher purpose sometimes, I guess I could say. I devote too much of my energy sometimes to complaining, focusing on the negative, etc… even though I actively try to do seek the opposite. I think perhaps that in the effort of recognizing what I focus on sometimes (the negative), and actively pursuing the opposite in hopes of improving the quality of my life (positivity, love, gentleness, warmth), it reinforces in my mind to focus even more on finding the negative because my mind realizes “hey, stop avoiding this, I know you want to find the negative… so I’m going to find other stuff you can focus on to be negative since you’re trying to distract me by trying so hard to be positive.” I’m not sure if that is accurate and I’m no psychologist.. it’s just stuff I have come across in my various readings, experience, TedTalks, etc. Do you have a few close friends or many acquaintances, Katie? I have struggled with creating friendships my whole life. I have had a few very dear friendships in the past when I was a bit younger. They tapered away mostly when college started. I had a few friends in college but we all amicably went our separate ways just due to life. No particular reason, just fell out of contact. It makes me feel lost sometimes. I wish I had a warm circle of friends to laugh with and spend quality time with. I feel like this would help me feel rejuvenated and hopefully not drained. I am planning to see a psych in a few months to discuss various topics that I must need to get off my chest and unpack in front of a professional, even though I previously had some reservations about seeing such a person. Thank you!

    #307073
    Katie
    Participant

    I think you’re really insightful and in a pretty big period of growth right now! I think patience is so important when we’re dealing with ourselves and thought patterns. It does sound like you have love and understanding for yourself so that is good! And I agree that it seems like when we try really hard to *make* ourselves stop thinking a certain way, it almost makes more of those thoughts come up. I’ve read it and read it again, but I do really think there’s truth in the practice of noticing your thoughts, and almost visualizing them floating by but choosing not to identify with them. Just recognizing they’re there, almost in an amused and interested sort of way and then watching them float off…this way we can acknowledge a thought (without shoving it down only for it to return later) without putting too much feeling into it.

    I don’t have a lot of close people in my life either. Sometimes I wish for more and sometimes I can’t believe how fortunate I am for just the small handful of relationships that mean so much to me! I’d say the 3 closest people in my life are my mom, my boyfriend, and my best friend. Other than that there are a couple girls I work with that I talk to but nothing super deep (which is ok).

    You said this: ” I feel prickly and moody when underneath I know there is sense of self, purity, beauty, and love.” Well said, and I can relate. In the last few years I feel like I’ve gone through my own big period of growth (it will never end!) and sometimes I have this sense of serenity but then in my interactions I feel like I can come off high strung, nervous, intense….I will give it some thought but then let it go. The fact that YOU know you have a sense of self, purity, beauty and love and that is where you are operating from is the most important thing I believe. I read your other thread and know you’re an only child…me too! I do think sometimes that might make us feel a little more awkward in social interactions…just from the solitude we had as kids. I’ll also say that sometimes I do feel like an oddball because I don’t have that kind of (sibling) relationship that a lot of people have.

    It’s almost become a cliche at this point but have you read any of Brene Brown’s books? I think that was a turning point for me.

    #307107
    K
    Participant

    Hi Katie, your post was so captivating!  Thank you for your words of wisdom yet again!

    and I can’t tell you just how closely this resonated with me when you said this: “and sometimes I have this sense of serenity but then in my interactions I feel like I can come off high strung, nervous, intense….I will give it some thought but then let it go. The fact that YOU know you have a sense of self, purity, beauty and love and that is where you are operating from is the most important thing I believe.”  I sometimes feel when alone, usually, that I have this air about me that is beautiful, deep, intellectual, cultured, etc… all beautiful, wonderful qualities. Then I socialize with others and I can hear myself in my words, see how my awkward body language comes off, and it all betrays my previous feelings of beauty and elegance. I come off as awkward, weird, oddball, bad at small talk. I feel so different sometimes between how I act alone, listening to beautiful music, relaxing, being at peace with myself, allowing myself to indulge in brushing my hair gently, smiling at myself in the mirror, giving myself a foot rub, folding the bedsheets gently and slowly, taking time to clean the kitchen so I can look at it and be proud of my work, and I feel good, I feel like I have accomplished stuff and beautified my space, my sanctuary. However, in social settings, I feel chaotic, rushed, uneasy, generally just waiting to get out of wherever I am. This is not always the case, but sometimes it’s like, I can’t wait to get out of here and be home, or I can’t wait to get out of here and take a drive up north and be in the wilderness and enjoy quiet. I need to focus more on being present, I realize that. It is so hard. I think a lot of us spend copious amounts of time in the past and future and it is disturbing just how much time that adds up to. I feel like in our society it really pushes for “TGIF” and rushing through the entire week and then getting depressed all over again on Sunday because the daunting thought of Monday bleeds into Sunday and “ruins” it. It’s such a toxic mindset. Unfortunately, since I am a part of our society, I have been subjected to this way of thinking for so long, that it has pervaded my way of thinking, and I get that we do have ultimate control of our thoughts, at all times. I really like what you said “I love these points you made: “I do really think there’s truth in the practice of noticing your thoughts, and almost visualizing them floating by but choosing not to identify with them. Just recognizing they’re there, almost in an amused and interested sort of way and then watching them float off…this way we can acknowledge a thought (without shoving it down only for it to return later) without putting too much feeling into it.”  I too have read this in various books and online before, and it seems like it would be so great to be able to become a master of our thoughts, our minds. So that we can shift focus on what truly matters and what is just a bunch of harmful noise, useless deterrents.

    I also like what you said “I read your other thread and know you’re an only child…me too! I do think sometimes that might make us feel a little more awkward in social interactions…just from the solitude we had as kids. I’ll also say that sometimes I do feel like an oddball because I don’t have that kind of (sibling) relationship that a lot of people have.”  I feel a sense of weirdness somehow that I am an only child. We can’t help it that we are, but it still injects this looming feeling of missing out or something. Feeling lonely, especially now that getting older means that I will not have any nieces, nephews, sisters and brothers and their in-laws to spend time with. I always had to rely on my childhood neighborhood friends if I wanted people to hang out with. In school, I always was fortunate to have a good group of friends. However, if I had a bad day at school and I needed to go home and vent/decompress/cry, I had to do so alone, always, and since it wasn’t “cool” to do this in front of parents, it was done alone. I can’t help but feel like this played an important yet potentially damaging role in my life. It was the only way I knew how to cope. Crying into a pillow or staring at the wall trying to find an imaginary solution to feel better. It was really horrible. Of course, I had stuff that I could do to pass my time, and of course, go out and drive somewhere, work, nature walks, etc. But still, in those quiet, never ending hours of time spent by myself wondering if anyone cared or if I would spend forever feeling like this, I feel like that definitely shaped me into the person I am today. But we’re here now & everything must happen for a reason. I have air in my lungs, I have everything I need to live a beautiful, comfortable life. I always have. It is just realizing a change of attitude needs to take place, not a change of opportunities. There are always opportunities to be had, I just need to be in a different mindset to notice them, and seize the moment to act on it.  I paraphrased that idea from “Love Does” by Bob Goff. He is such a cool guy. (Youtube) Also, I read: <b>”</b>Change happens when we see how what we have been doing no longer makes sense.” I think I procured this quote off another lovely article here on TB. It holds such truth to me. It is so wise. Finally, my other favorite quote I read here in my travels is: “No one gets to the end of his or her life and thinks, “I wish I stayed angry longer.”  I think if I had to say, this particular quote has helped me the most recently. Like, is this really something worth getting annoyed/mad over? Bringing it up in a hurtful way? Is this truly important? Am I the problem in this situation? Am I the one that needs to take a step back in this particular instance?

    No, I have not read Brene Brown’s books yet but now that you brought my attention to them I will check them out! What makes them such great reads for you, in your opinion?

    Thanks for reading my novel Katie!!

     

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by K.
    #307141
    Katie
    Participant

    Haha thank you for writing K, and for the kind words! It is rare that someone calls my words wise (where is the LOL emoji when you need it?!) but I appreciate that! 🙂  I know what you mean about hearing yourself and seeing your awkwardness…I have been there before for sure! I think we are conditioned to be really harsh and critical of ourselves and it takes a long time to shrug this off, some of us never do! But I started seeing my awkwardness as endearing and unique to me and I find I beat myself up a lot less these days….I think that just comes with practice. As with changing your mindset…it just takes practice, and not allowing yourself to be too harsh on yourself when you slip up. Honestly, I feel like I’ve been going through some kind of spiritual awakening in the last few years (I’m 35, just for reference…it takes a long time to wake up!) and it is constant steps forward and back. Some moments are great, others I can get bogged down in irritation and negativity. But to just accept this as it is and that it’s ok and doesn’t mean I’m losing it or am doomed to be negative forever is pretty important.

    I hear you about only-childness being pretty lonely, and what you described here and in your other thread does sound tough. As a child I think I was open with my parents when I was upset so that probably helped. I do think a counselor could be helpful to, as you said, “unpack” some of that stuff.  I’ve seen one on and off and I do think it was of some help. Totally understand on the missing out on the neices/nephews thing. I also don’t have kids of my own and am not sure if I will have them so I do sometimes get freaked out when I think about what my life looks like as an old woman! But I try not to think about that too much because we just never know what will happen. 🙂

    Oh and I can so relate about rushing through the week to get to the weekend or wanting to GTFO of here so I can get home or get to the woods lol…I actually loved what you said “I can’t wait to get out of here and take a drive up north and be in the wilderness and enjoy quiet.” That sounds beautiful…do you have a special spot you like to go? I guess ideally we would all be able to just be present and not wanting to be somewhere else, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with looking forward to being somewhere you know will bring you peace.

    So, I don’t know how much you know about Buddhism (I don’t know much, am just starting to learn bits and pieces) but one of the basics of it that really speaks to me and takes a while to soak in (I am paraphrasing based on my understanding) is that the cause of our suffering is attachment. Attachment to things, people, yes…but also attachment to ideas about how our life should look, who we are, what is going to happen later today, etc. And we can get rid of our suffering by letting go of this attachment! I find this super profound and helpful when I’m going through stuff.

    About Brene Brown…I think what makes her books so great for me was that they introduced me to this idea that even the not so pretty parts of myself (impatience, awkwardness, chubby legs) that I don’t like are all imperfectly perfect! She writes a lot about shame and vulnerability. And she’s funny! So her books have a lot of depth but they’re also entertaining, good reads. I don’t think we realize how much shame plays a role in how we live our lives…like we go through life thinking there is something wrong with us and we constantly struggle to be our authentic selves. When we can let go of the shame buried inside of us, it’s much easier to be our authentic selves…sometimes other people don’t like this because we become less “people-pleasing”. But there is such a freedom in being yourself. And you know, maybe your authentic self just doesn’t like or do well with small talk and that is ok!!! “The Gifts of Imperfection” is what kicked off my love for her.

    Love this and your self-awareness. :)”Finally, my other favorite quote I read here in my travels is: “No one gets to the end of his or her life and thinks, “I wish I stayed angry longer.” [so true] I think if I had to say, this particular quote has helped me the most recently. Like, is this really something worth getting annoyed/mad over? Bringing it up in a hurtful way? Is this truly important? Am I the problem in this situation? Am I the one that needs to take a step back in this particular instance?”

    Just an fyi – I’m only really on the computer at work so my responses might be sporadic! Especially this weekend as I’m taking off Friday and Monday woooo 😀

    Take care!

    Katie

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Katie.
    #307171
    K
    Participant

    No worries, Katie, I totally understand! Me too (in regards to my responses). Thank you for all your input.  I really got a lot out of when you said this: “I don’t think we realize how much shame plays a role in how we live our lives…like we go through life thinking there is something wrong with us and we constantly struggle to be our authentic selves. When we can let go of the shame buried inside of us, it’s much easier to be our authentic selves…sometimes other people don’t like this because we become less “people-pleasing”. But there is such a freedom in being yourself. ”

    I also liked how you illustrated such great points on Brene Brown’s works. They sound comforting and illuminating, that it is all okay and there’s never anything wrong (with us).

    When you said “I guess ideally we would all be able to just be present and not wanting to be somewhere else, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with looking forward to being somewhere you know will bring you peace.” It is so true, when we stop and think about it. There IS nothing wrong with that, in regards to the concept perhaps pulling us out of the present. It is important to look forward to peace, even though it should ideally be found in the present. Sometimes I simply cannot achieve this to the degree I would like to. It needs work. LOL. But that is also okay. It should always be a continual work in progress. That is growth, and that requires time and gentle understanding and unfolding for all of us.  In regards to my happy place up North, there are many beautiful places in my state. I love venturing up North because there are so many pine trees, breezy cold air, and silence. It is restorative and I feel like whenever I go there, the whipping winds that blow into my face and all around me wash away the noise. The noise is replaced by the white noise of the wind all around that drowns out stress. Sometimes I find cleansing in white noise vs. total silence. It depends on my mood. It is refreshing not to hear cars whizzing by, people chatting incessantly, keys clacking, people walking, talking on the phone, etc, etc, etc… I have more than one happy place obviously, but this one is so majestic!! 🙂  Do you have a happy place (or two) you like to visit?

     

    Have a wonderful long weekend, Katie!! That sounds so wonderful!!

    #307183
    Katie
    Participant

    Hey K,

    Your happy place sounds beautiful!! I love pine forests but we don’t have many around here in Indiana! We do have lots of state parks and rivers so that’s nice…sometimes just going to the park and hiking around for a couple hours is a complete reset. Tomorrow my plan for my day off is to go to the river and kayak which is another happy time for me and sooo needed after spending so much time in an office! 😀

    #307185
    K
    Participant

    Hiking and being out in nature can be so healing, yes. Now that sounds like a great idea: kayaking in the river. Have fun Katie!!

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