Over thinking it

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    Sometimes I find it difficult to engage in conversations and find myself over thinking in social interactions. I feel like the onus is on me to entertain whomever i’m speaking to and i find that whenever there’s a lull in the conversation, it’s up to me to fill that void.

    This may sound silly and maybe even ridiculous but these feelings are starting to make socializing a chore.

    I end up over thinking the situation which eventually leads to me shutting down completely. I turn into this total introvert. A mute. I can even feel my body becoming rigid as I try to fight the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. And this annoying cycle is what makes it difficult for ‘new’ people to get to know me.

    The most interesting part of my story, however, is that there are so many people who consider me a ‘best friend’ and confide in me, confessing all their deepest secrets. (I assume its because I’m a good listener, which I attribute to the fact that I tend to speak very little). So many people have even told me that I am the only person they can call a true friend.

    These feelings, sadly, aren’t reciprocated 🙁 I really try, but i can never seem to feel that closeness to other people (besides my immediate family who I am quite close to and feel comfortable around)

    I apologize if this post sounds confusing, but the fact is that i’m still trying to understand the way I feel right now which makes it very difficult to explain.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    The Ruminant

    Hello Danielle!

    Your post was clear and there is no need to apologize. If someone doesn’t understand, they will ask 🙂 That is kind of the crux of the matter: you are taking responsibility of other people’s feelings.

    I can relate to what you are saying as I’ve had similar issues myself, and partly still do. It’s nowhere near as bad as it was before, as I actively let go and focus more on myself. It is possible to change unhealthy relationship patterns, it just requires some self-awareness.

    I can completely understand how it weighs you down when you feel that you have this responsibility. But you are not the one who is responsible. There is a difference between being a compassionate listener and actually taking on the responsibility of making sure that the other person feels comfortable.

    I remember this one time when I was in a support group meeting. I think it might’ve even been the very first time I attended. Essentially, everyone had a chance to talk, one at a time, and others would listen, but nobody was allowed to comment. Because of this rule, I had to really pay attention to being quiet when another person was talking. It’s not that I would’ve always been someone who would interrupt, but I had no idea that I had subconsciously made so many small gestures, as if I was tending to the person who was speaking. It was weird. I had to hold my hand over my mouth in a subtle way so that I would remember to keep quiet and allow the other person to speak. What people were speaking there were mostly about problematic things. This made it even harder for me to stay quiet. Listening to another person who was lost and confused, and I was not allowed to do anything or say anything. Something in my brain clicked and I pretty much physically felt for the first time in my life my own boundaries: I am responsible for my own issues and the other person was responsible of their issues. It felt incredible, like a bond had been cut and I was free.

    This was the epiphany for me, but the change has happened through small changes. Changing my habits of getting too involved. It is difficult, especially with people who are close to you. It’s easier to start with people who you don’t know that well.

    I got help from the formal setting, but I’m not sure what sort of support group would be suitable for you, or if it’s needed otherwise.

    Still, I’d start to let go of the thought that it is your job to entertain others or keep them happy. Allow silences to happen in conversations, no matter how uncomfortable it feels. The more you do it, the more you get used to it. When you notice that you are getting sucked into another person’s life, made a conscious effort to let go and center yourself. Your life happens in your body, and that is where you should live. Not focusing on other people and tending to their emotional needs. You can listen and be compassionate without spending your energy on other people. You’re not their battery. They have their own.


    The Ruminant

    That was wonderful! And so therapeutic to read 🙂 and you’re absolutely right. I take responsibility for the feelings of others. And from that perspective, I can think of so many other situations in my life where I am doing this without even realizing. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me!



    That was great advice from Ruminant. Thank you.
    Danielle, it sounds as though when others share with you, it takes away your energy. I understand, being I am one that usually listens and finds people sharing so many things with me. I think they just want someone to talk to, and I feel honored, but at the same time, exhausted by the end of the conversation, being I would “feel” their pain. I would feel guilty if I wasn’t there when they needed someone to talk to, but at times, it would add to my stress and anxiety. So, when I hit a really low point in my life, I realized that I needed to take care of myself first and not take on other people’s stress. So, I would listen, but not engage, as Ruminant mentioned. But, basically I realized that I needed to be good with me first, before I could “help” others. You are a good person whom people feel comfortable with. That is such an amazing trait. But, please don’t let others sap your energy, either. I would practice boundaries, if need be. You can be a good friend, but also be honest and be yourself, if the conversations are too much at times. If you have had a hard day, you can listen to your friend, and then say something like, “I hear that you are (sad, hurt, etc), but I have had a hard day today, so can I get back to you on that.” I wonder if you are more comfortable with your family, being you are just “you.” Try to incorporate that into your friend relationships as well. YOU are wonderful and have things to share, so don’t feel that you always have to be there for everyone else only. Friendships should be reciprocated. Does that make sense?

    I am not sure if this helps, but thought I would reach out. I wish you peace in your struggles. Take care 🙂



    Reading your post has been a huge confidence booster! And with such good advice. It’s those positive attributes of ourselves that we often forget. And these little things are so soo important to remember.

    Thanks for reminding me 🙂


    I’m an over thinker to! Like big time. It mostly effects ne at school or work where I see famiiar faces. For some reason I feel the need to always be this perfect happy person. I also feel like the spotlight is always on me and my reactions si I try to entertain as much as I can. Its very draining :(. On the bright side I discovered tiny buddah and finally signed up for it and now I see there are many others with the same issues I struggle with daily. I appreciate you sharing. The world is only as lonely as you let it be. Thank-you for reaching out your definitely not alone.



    Thank you for your kind words. It’s very comforting to know that you’re not alone and I’m grateful that you decided to share that. I know that we’ll both get over these issues and i wish you all the best on that journey! 🙂

    Big blue

    Hi Danielle lee and others,

    I also relate to this. My understanding is that growing up with an alcoholic in the family made me try to fix things. I also used humor as a social flux. Even though i know this now, yesterday at work I found myself thinking about how to make someone more comfortable when I know they are just socially awkward which is ok.

    It is very helpful to hear your stories and perspectives.

    Thank you!

    Big blue


    I’m the same way. But I’m attempting to not over think things. I don’t want to appear desperate, but can someone PLEASE respond under the Ready Or Not? blog under Relationships. Thanks.

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