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Dealing with Introvertness

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  • #336146
    SearchForSelfPeace
    Participant

    Hello Folks,

    I hope you are having a great day and if not then you find a reason to smile. I am writing this post as I need some direction in my life. I am an international student in the US and am pursuing my Master’s degree. I am at a place in my life where I am surrounded by completely unknown people and have no old friends in this country.

    I have always been a lot introverted and have been hesitant to talk with people. Even if I do talk with them, I am not comfortable connecting with them deeply. I am fine with abstract jokes and topics but not with personal stuff. There might be an underlying cause of insecurity and fear of judgment from others.

    When I see a few friends of mine connecting deeply with others and forming lasting relations with others, I feel a bit envious of them. Even though all the people whom I have met here are sort of friend but these are not the people whom I can trust with my life. I know that I don’t factor very high in their list of priorities. This is not something that is new to me. I have always been sort of the third wheel in most of the friendships I have till now. There might be some deficiencies in my behavior which are a turn-off for people but I always try to do my best or so I think.

    There is another emotional issue as well. Even though I never say it but deep down I understand that I am a boring person. I am not super passionate about anything as such. Now, due to my introvertedness (or so I think) coupled with the fact that I am not very good looking (I know this to be a fact. I don’t think it’s about low self-esteem) has resulted in me not dating anyone in 27 years of my life. I even don’t know how to flirt or show interest in the opposite sex. I have thought about this after a really long time and I don’t want to get depressed with the thought of leading a lonely life.

    Any thoughts of yours are welcome!

    #336200
    anita
    Participant

    Dear SearchForSelfPeace:

    “have been hesitant to talk with people.. not comfortable connecting with them deeply.. fine with abstract jokes and topics but not with personal stuff.. fear of judgment from others”-

    -there is only one way to cure this problem and it is this: talk with people, connect with people deeply, talk about personal stuff and experience no judgment as a result.

    How it can be done: in the context of this thread, you can talk with me, connect with me deeper and deeper over time, tell me personal stuff, and I will reply to you every time you post to me, and I will communicate with you respectfully, never judging you.

    This can be a positive experience for you, an experience you can build on gradually and selectively in real life, little by little every day, leading you to find yourself quite extraverted in six months or a year, I am guessing. And somewhere along this timeline, you will feel confident enough to connect with a woman and carry on a romantic, love relationship.

    Can it possibly be so easy? No. Not easy. But a beginning. It is up to you.

    anita

    #336234
    SearchForSelfPeace
    Participant

    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?

    #336448
    anita
    Participant

    Dear SearchforSelfPeace:

    I didn’t realize you posted back until a moment ago. Unfortunately, I am not focused enough to read and reply just now. It may be as long as 18 hours before I am back to read and reply to you.

    anita

     

    #336458
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi SearchforSelfPeace,

    This sounds cliché, but volunteering and/or being part of a place of worship helps tremendously with connectedness. When you’re part of a team to do good in the world, you have the same mission, people view you as being giving, and that is the magic glue which binds people together.

    It will also get better the longer you stay in one area. You will become a familiar face and people will trust you.

    The attractiveness thing: Most guys (and some girls) get better looking as they get older. Never fear! There is some girl out there who might (or will) have a crush on you! Reframe your introvert-ism as a brooding poet looking out to sea.

    Lastly, WORK IT! Invite people over to drinks or to events. Keep doing this!

    Best,

    Inky

    #336474
    anita
    Participant

    Dear SearchForSelfPeace:

    “you mentioned that I should connect deeply with other people and experience no judgment. I am a bit skeptical.. I have felt people judging others”- yes- people do judge others a whole lot, for everything from physical looks to intelligence and for everything in between. This is Reality. What I tried to express to you is that what you need is to communicate deeply with at least one person who will not judge you. You have to find just one such person.

    For many people who grew up with judgmental parents and family members, then suffered through judgmental teachers and peers at school, and judgmental people in the street.. there was not a single person with whom they communicated significantly who did not judge them.

    I suggested then, that in context of this thread, I will be that person that you can communicate with who will not judge you.

    Many people end up in psychotherapy offices just so to communicate with someone empathetic who will not judge them. (Keep that as an option, attending quality psychotherapy).

    When you do submit a post, by the way, see to it that your name reflects on the page of titles following your submission. The reason I missed your post of two days ago, is probably because your name didn’t reflect on the page with the list of topics, so I didn’t know that you submitted a second post.

    “Just a random thought came to my mind. Am I too critical of myself and others?”- not necessarily, but probably. While I personally suffered a lot from judgment, I judged others myself. And I judged myself. I pay attention to no longer judge others (and myself).

    I clicked that link you provided. It reads there: “you are searching for love in the wrong places. You are knocking on the wrong door. No matter how hard you try, it will not open”-

    – we have to be selective indeed, as to what door we knock on. We have to look for what we need where we are likely to find it. For example, if you need water, better not try to get it out of a rock, better look for it in a waterfall.

    There are people who can not and/ or will not love us. Better stop trying to make them love us. Better move away and go elsewhere for the love we need.

    I hope to read more from you (and I am very glad you posted again, that second post, I was wondering if you will).

    anita

    • This reply was modified 6 months ago by anita.
    #341294
    SearchForSelfPeace
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    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?

    #341484
    anita
    Participant

    Dear SearchForSelfPeace:

    I will read and reply to your post in about 15 hours from now.

    anita

    #341656
    anita
    Participant

    Dear SearchForSelfPeace:

    I hope you do start counseling by the end of this month and that it will be a good experience for you. And no, I am not angry at you for writing only when you are sad or depressed. Please do write when you are sad or depressed, write anytime you want to write. Thank you for caring enough to assure me that you will write back to me and not ghost me, how kind of you!

    Regarding your flat mate, to comment on him/ your situation with him, I will need more details:

    1. What was that big argument six months ago between you and him, what was argued, and how, what did you say and do, what did he say and do?

    2. Can you give me 3 examples of how he tried to tick you off since that argument, what did he say or do to tick you off?

    3. After you did the house chores for almost a month and in return, he mocked you- what did he say or do that you that you believe is mocking you?

    anita

    #341754
    SearchForSelfPeace
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    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.

    #341816
    anita
    Participant

    Dear SearchForSelfPeace:

    I studied your posts so far and this is my input this morning:

    1. You are a very nice person, caring about others.

    2. Your flatmate/s have been rude to you in regard to accepting you doing all the cooking and house chores as well as paying for food and household items without gratitude or reciprocating, making it fair, and otherwise.

    3. You think little of yourself aka having a low self esteem. Although it is possible that you are indeed not good looking, and it is most probable that your low self esteem is visible and audible, you are still a person of equal worth to any of the popular students in the university you attend, including your flatmates.

    It is necessary that you learn of your own worth being no less than any other’s and that you will start behaving as a person of equal worth to any other person.

    What happens when a person behaves congruently with a low self esteem, is that other people witnessing your low self esteem, treat you accordingly. When you think that you are inferior to others (and it shows in your facial expressions/ body language, voice, words used, and behavior otherwise)—> other people treat you like an inferior.

    * Not all people treat a low self esteemed person as inferior, but a whole lot of people do.

    4. Some people with a low self esteem try to be of service to  others so that the others will esteem them. For example, it may very well be that the reason you cooked and cleaned for your flatmates as well as spent your money on them is because you felt inferior to them, felt that they can see that you are inferior, and hoped that they will at least value you for your service, doing house chores, etc.

    – it doesn’t work because most people will take your services for granted, and will not value you more.

    5. When a person does for others, pays for  others again and again without reciprocation, and the  situation becomes unfair and unjust, the doer/ payer gets angry, naturally. But he/ she holds his anger in, not letting it show (being passive), but eventually, the anger erupts and is expressed in an over the top way (being aggressive). That over the top/ aggressive anger turn people off.

    So let’s say you cooked for your flatmates for a month, and cleaned, and paid for their share of  stuff, no reciprocation, then you finally explode with anger. What they remember next and forevermore, is not the whole month of service, but your angry explosion, and they hold it against you.

    It is very important then, that you don’t contribute to an unjust situation. In the case, that from the beginning, or after the first or second time that you cooked for them or did the chores, that you would have stopped the unfair arrangement and no longer cooked for them, cleaned for them or paid for them.

    –and now, I will quote from you with my comments:

    * “There might be some deficiencies in my behavior which are a turn-off for people”- the deficiencies are probably your expressed low self esteem and your over the top anger when you do eventually get angry.

    * “I have always been sort of the third wheel in most of the friendships I have till now.. on the outskirts of my social circle. Other people in the group resonated a lot with each other and less with me”-probably because of your expressed low self esteem: you feel that you are not worthy of being a first or second wheel.. and other people agree with you.

    * “deep down I understand that I am a boring person”- that may be true, but it is the low self esteem that came first, the boring came second. I have no doubt, having communicated with you here, that you can be a very interesting person in company.

    * “I am not very good looking”- that may be true, but there are plenty of people who are not very good looking who are interesting people and who are valued by lots of people.

    * “not dating anyone in 27 years of my life”- that can change in the next few months, if you manage to bring your self esteem up.

    * “I watch others enjoying their life and making lasting/ deeper connections but here I am lonely in all phases of life”- when a person doesn’t believe in one own’s worth, most others reciprocate that belief, and reject the (alleged) Unworthy.

    * “I cooked for all three of us and cleaned.. But after some time.. it became annoying for me to handle all the chores.. This made me livid.. I tried to passively handle the situation.. Whenever I become angry, I usually overcompensate for that and the arguments are more like fights”-

    – you contributed to an unjust situation (you cooking and cleaning for all three)=> you got a bit angry (annoyed), then more angry (livid), but you remained passive, and eventually you exploded, or overcompensated.

    In summary: the situation with your flatmates has been established already, and it is unlikely to change, so I would try to change it other than get along with them on a superficial level. If I was you, I wouldn’t try to be friends with any of them, and instead, be concerned only with a smooth living with them for as long as you have to live with them.

    You can look into the origin of your low self esteem with the counselor that you will be seeing. Understanding the origin will help you some. Learning social skills will be of great help, as well as practicing (in front of a mirror; in front of the counselor maybe): how to stand, how to walk, how to look at others when you talk to them, how to talk, tone of voice etc., so to appear confident. This process will not be easy and it will take time, but with work and persistence you will be able to feel better and better about yourself and connect with others in intimate and lasting ways.

    And do post here anytime.

    anita

     

    #342220
    HappyOtter
    Participant

    Hi

    I’ve just joined this forum, and your story struck a chord with me.

    Let me share my experience and struggles: When I was 20-22 years old I was working in a very stressful job in the media, but I was actually really good at it and got promoted. I was invited to all the cool events, rubbed shoulders with “important” people – on the outside I had everything going for me. The problem was that people around me got super jealous, such as my colleagues and even some of my supposedly good friends and even family relatives. They would give me the icy shoulders and I knew that they gossiped about me when I wasn’t around. I wondered why people couldn’t be happy for me like how I would be happy for them.

    I kept telling myself I was strong and to be patient and to continue to be a good person till one day… I had a complete mental/emotional breakdown. I didn’t even know at that time it was a “breakdown” all I knew is that I would walk home late at night after work and cry in the dark. I lost my appetite, I hardly ate. I lost so much weight… I went to a doctor to check if I had stomach ulcers preventing me from eating, but everything was fine physically. I honestly wished I’d just die. IT was the lowest point in my life.

    I decided to “start fresh” by leaving my job, changing all my contact details and even shutting down my social media. Would you believe it, that I went from being an outgoing person, lively person and having over 600 FB friends, to having not even 1 friend? I didn’t even work for 2 years because I was just not ready to be “social” yet. Sure, some people did try to reach out to me, but I shunned them away telling them to just leave me alone. I took me YEARS to “recover”.

    I’m now turning 32 and ready to be social again and make friends… which is hard actually. Most people have already developed long lasting relationships while I’ve only just begun trying to open up to some people around me at work, and I’m joining a walking group next weekend. I’m actually afraid that I’m not that good at being social anymore… you know what I mean?

    I think I’ve got a pretty good personality and I communicate well surface level with customers which I have to deal with on a daily basis, but I too have become quite introverted and now I tend to get quite nervous in non-work social settings.

    I wish I knew the answer to help you…and help myself too! 🙂

    Sincerely

    E.

    #343262
    SearchForSelfPeace
    Participant

    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.

     

    Cheers

    #343266
    SearchForSelfPeace
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    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?

     

    Cheers

    #343272
    HappyOtter
    Participant

    @Searchforselfpeace Thanks for your reply, and it was interesting to hear your thoughts. It is my first time posting in an online forum.

     

     

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