In love and less... interesting?
August 10, 2011 7:33 PM   Subscribe

I feel I'm less interesting when I like someone... is this normal?

I need your insight, please. Whenever I like someone, I feel I'm not interesting enough. Because I'm not fully relaxed in their presence being love struck, I also kinda feel I'm coming off as less interesting than when I didn't look at them as mate potential. 'Cause when I'm not into anyone, I'm very interesting and engaging thus whomever sees the real me. Once I get into a love zone... I suddenly become AWARE of that person in my presence and kinda do and say things to get their attention. I can't stand it at this point especially if it's not being reciprocated. Is this normal behavior for women in like/love and what can I do to get over myself?
posted by InterestedInKnowing to Human Relations (19 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
OMG, this is totally me, so it's not restricted to women. I think it's the pressure of wanting to appear interesting, smart and funny that makes it seem that I'm not interesting, smart, or funny enough. I think when people are attracted, they tend to self-criticize.

Birds show their plumage to attract mates. Rams get in big fights. People make silly jokes and tell stories about how awesome they are. I don't know the solution, but you're not alone.
posted by xingcat at 7:44 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

You keep saying that you feel like you're less "interesting," but I have a suspicion that that is just self-consciousness talking, and in your case the fear that 'i'm not as interesting" is the primary symptom.

This is very normal, and it's not even exclusive to women. (I submit to you as proof, the Police song Does Everyone Stare, which is also funny and will at least cheer you up.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:45 PM on August 10, 2011

Oh, man, that's totally normal. And yeah, it's not just women--if you'd like to build on the song theme, there's also Sick of Myself by Matthew Sweet.

The only thing I've found to be any help at all is to spend time with friends who think you're interesting and amazing.
posted by corey flood at 8:04 PM on August 10, 2011

Yep, because THEY ARE AWSUM. How could you possibly have anything interesting to say to someone so completely AWSUM? The cure is to think that the AWSUM person is deciding to be with you, so you meet AWSUM STANDARDS, i.e. de-compare yourself.
posted by rhizome at 8:06 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't know if it's normal, but I would like to say you're not alone in feeling this way. I feel like I'm less interesting (stupider, even) when talking to someone I find attractive. I run out of conversation topics quicker, I feel awkward, and I become self conscious about everything I say and do. It's obvious to me that I have to stop putting them on this pedestal where I feel inferior to them, and see them as peers. The problem is, emotions are fickle and difficult to control consciously. Try imagining you're not attracted to the person in question and talk to them with that mindset. Or try practicing talking to more people who you feel attracted to. Even if you feel less interesting, do it enough times and you'll get over it.
posted by Qberting at 8:32 PM on August 10, 2011

It's a combination of two things:
1. Feelings of inadequacy
2. Jitters

The fun part is, they feed each other. Vicious circle. Oy.

Completely normal, though.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:42 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm sure there are cases where this is just a standalone problem that, if fixed, would clear the way for some great relationships, but in my experience (and mind you, I'm young), when I become (or just feel like) a worse, less interesting version of myself around someone, it's a sign that no matter how much I like them, am attracted to them and wish I were with them, something is off between us and we aren't actually compatible. The reason I think this is because I've actually met people who I liked, was attracted to and wished I were with who made me talk and act like a better and more interesting version of me, and it's so nice I don't want anything else; and because when I have had the opportunity to establish a more normal, less fawning relationship with someone I liked, etc, but was weird around, I've found that there still wasn't really anything there. Of course, perhaps for you this really is just a small psychological block, and you would profit hugely from getting around it (and other comments are certain to advise you as to how). Just consider whether what I'm saying makes sense in your life. Good luck!
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:52 PM on August 10, 2011 [15 favorites]

Load your brain with tons of potential conversation topics. Widen your sphere of usual media - websites, books, tv, whatever - just go out and find some different stuff than what you usually gravitate towards. If you spend ten minutes every day reading/watching things that interest you and are also brand-new, you will be amazed at how often this new info comes in handy in conversations of all kinds.

You don't need to become an expert on anything - sometimes it is incredibly useful to the conversational flow if you're able to pipe up and say "oh! I was just reading about that!" I find this tactic most useful particularly in moments where I'm feeling quiet, shy, nontalkative or uninteresting. Maybe all I can muster is the aforementioned "me too"-type comment, but it keeps me nominally engaged, keeps me on people's social radar, and does sometimes ease me into amazing conversations.

This is why, every time I start a new relationship, I listen to shitloads of NPR.
posted by jessicapierce at 9:54 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also, to make someone think you're fascinating, all you have to do is encourage him to talk about himself, and listen well. (I'm not as jaded as I sound. It's just the truth.)
posted by jessicapierce at 9:55 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Well, yeah. When you're around people you know and like, you don't worry about how interesting you are, because they know and like you, too. When you're around new people you don't find interesting or attractive, you don't worry about how interesting you are, because who cares? Around someone interesting or attractive, however, you want them to find you interesting, and so the fear kicks in.

Just remember: if they have been talking to you for the last twenty seconds, and seem to want to continue talking to you, then you're interesting enough.
posted by davejay at 10:09 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah. Don't sweat it. You meet someone, you put them up on a pedestal, suddenly you have a head full of ideas about inadequacy, try a bit too hard, feel a bit rubbish.

It happens, just try to relax, remember they are a human being just like you, and be yourself. It's such trite information, but really. Keep you interests, dorky humour, collection of odd coins, whatever it is that defines who you are and put that out there for them to observe.

You feel less interesting because you're second guessing yourself and probably being very controlled when you're around them. Really though, if they don't like you for you, to heck with them, you still come first.

If it _really_ becomes an issues, check out a book called "No more Mr Nice Guy" by Robert Glover. Some good tips on standing by your true values while you navigate territory like this.
posted by bbtomo at 1:18 AM on August 11, 2011

This is totally normal. I wind up getting ultra competitive to boot, which has to be infinitely less normal. It's all about fears and insecurities and desires and hormones blending together. I don't know if there is a way of getting over it - it's kind of how we all show someone that we really, really like them. When it's unrequited, you just have to move on and feel confident that it's not about you per se, it's about the other person's wants and needs not meshing with yours, which is fine.
posted by mleigh at 1:35 AM on August 11, 2011

If you are truly attracted to the person, then it would seem to me the next thing you would want to do would be to get to know them better. You already know a lot about yourself, so why not try asking some questions about their life to get the ball rolling. Sometimes it can even help to offer information about yourself in the hopes that they might return the favor.

It just may be that the whole attraction thing is somewhat a trick of nature. Case in point, what happens when you fall out of love (romantic love) down the road? What do you do then? My answer for you is that is where the real work of a relationship begins. If you want to know what having a real relationship based in love looks like, I would suggest reading the Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. You don't have to read it from cover to cover. Just look over the parts on love.
posted by PhriendlyFace at 1:59 AM on August 11, 2011

That is funny only because I've always felt the same but never put it quite so accurately before! I agree with the folks who suggest that it's nerves mainly. My brain just freezes up perhaps in part because I'm fishing around so furiously to find something interesting to discuss that will ensure me another meeting/conversation with the person in whom I'm interested!

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've even made notes for myself before :-O. But it all levels out and I stop feeling like I'm going to barf from the nerves of it all!

I know self-help/personal growth books often get a bad rap, but if you find one you really connect to then it could help you discover the confidence to get over the hump of first meetings.
posted by lucy40 at 3:40 AM on August 11, 2011

Best answer: Yeah, this is normal. It sucks. It gets better though. Gets better on its own, and it's also workable-on.

Things including but not limited to the following have worked for me: 12-step work, vigorous physical exercise (smooths the jitters), and meditation.
posted by krilli at 4:22 AM on August 11, 2011

It is totally normal. I find myself turning into George Costanza in the presence of women I am very attracted to.
posted by Danf at 9:05 AM on August 11, 2011

I've found myself dealing with and thinking about this first hand recently. I think the thing is that around people you're not worried about making a good immediate impression with, you can relax and literally be yourself.

But that old "be yourself!" advice often given when dealing with a crush or first date doesn't always apply. You might have a certain kind of humor, but you can't make just any joke that enters your mind, lest the other person find it off-putting from someone they've just met.

So it's a delicate line between impressing someone with your hilarious quips, and being polite. But even one conversation can slowly open things up and make you both more aware of how the other person ticks.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:51 PM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Answers are awesome! Thank you. I often find myself going out of my way or proving myself to them. My friend told me, I don't have to do any of those things, I'm great as is. She's right but why the hell do I keep doing it? Any brain tricks to snap me into reality?
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 3:04 AM on August 12, 2011

Sometimes I pretend that I'm alone :) It really does work. Somehow.
posted by krilli at 3:31 AM on August 12, 2011

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