Worst. Idiosyncracy. EVER.
April 3, 2007 7:51 PM Subscribe
Help me let my guard down.
posted by hifiparasol to human relations (19 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
As hard as I try to maintain a positive outlook, I find more and more that my natural tendency is misanthropy. I tend to size people up before I even meet them, and my assessments usually fall somewhere between "This person is way too awesome to want to have anything to do with me" and "of course this jerk is going to judge me on all the wrong criteria." Feel free to have a good laugh at the fact that I'm prejudging people in a way that assumes they're prejudging me. It'd be tragic if it weren't so damn funny.
I'm reasonably certain my self-esteem is about normal, as much as something like that can be described as such. I generally have a fairly high opinion of myself (like, I know I'm intelligent), and I'm aware of all the places where there's room for improvement (I could stand to lose a few pounds aroud the middle). So the problem doesn't seem to be what I think of myself as much as my expectations about what other people will think of me.
A few examples: If I talk to a random woman in public, I usually feel like she's (a) assuming I'm hitting on her, and (b) already come to the conclusion that I don't have a snowball's chance in hell with her.* If I engage in some project that requires technical acumen of some sort, I tend not to look for help if I need it, since I assume anyone who has any useful information on the topic at hand will laugh at me, Comic-Book-Guy-like, for not knowing what they know. If I send my resume in for a job, I assume the HR staffer who looks at it will say something like, "Hey Madge! Get a load of this weirdo!" Even if I seem like a good fit for the job. If I play sports or a board game with a group of people, I feel like everyone is (a) comparing my skills with those of the people around me, and (b) coming to the conclusion that I'm mentally and physically inept. When I meet new people at parties, I have to fight the feeling that they're not just waiting for an excuse to leave.
(I know, consciously, too, that this is a pretty self-centered mindset, and that people probably don't spend this much time thinking about me. The problem is, I'm having a shitload of trouble internalizing that.)
Socially, I generally tend to do OK, despite this. I have a decent circle of friends, and I know for a fact that some of those friends actually hold me in really high regard. But I also know that I'm cheating myself out of a lot of fun, a lot of rewarding relationships, and a lot of opportunities. I'm sure I subtly advertise this to people who spend enough time around me, too. So it has to stop.
I'm not a "law of attraction" person per se, but I do believe that you tend to find what you expect to find in the world, because your expectations make you unconsciously seek it out. So: How do I let my guard down?
*FWIW, I have a great girlfriend, so I usually don't care much what my chances are with a given woman. Having a girlfriend also means that I never start a conversation with a woman with any intention other than having a conversation.