I don't want to be the jealous girl.
March 20, 2013 1:52 AM   Subscribe

How do you dust yourself off and carry on after shy and awkward days? And how can I stop fixating on, comparing myself to, and feeling envious of a social, extroverted classmate?

I guess the best way to clarify is with an example.

Background 1: I was recently tasked to take some exchange students on a tour of our home city. This is part of a university exchange program where we entertain them for a few weeks, and later will get the chance to travel overseas and visit their city. I was asked directly by one of my professors to do this, because I'd expressed interest in an exchange last year, and I was really pleased that he'd remembered me.

Background 2: There's a girl in my year who's very chatty and sociable. She prides herself on knowing who everyone is and is able to strike up a conversation with almost anyone. She also likes to make sure she's involved in school events, especially the ones involving networking, and has an uncanny ability get insider info and pull strings to get what she wants. Now, I know these are all qualities of an excellent networker, and I fully admit that any negative connotations in this paragraph are due to my own issues. I think she mostly gets on my nerves because although we have many sociable people in our year, she's the only one who does it so ... loudly. And by loudly I mean:

-- Inserting herself into conversations (in big groups this is okay, but when I'm trying to talk one-on-one with someone? ugh.)
-- Inviting herself along to events (sometimes I've discussed plans with other people not realising she's within earshot, only to have her say, "what's this, what's this?" and -- because we're a tight-knit cohort -- we'll be unable to turn her down when she wants to come along.)
-- Name-dropping, though I think probably unintentionally ("oh Dave lives in that building! Don't you know Dave? From second year?")
-- Saying hi to everyone who passes within eyesight (this only bothers me when we're partnered up and supposed to be doing work)
-- Her modus operandi is flirting, especially with the guys. This point of irritation is probably just my self-esteem talking. Though I do think it's unfair that some girls can use their looks to get ahead, from what classmates have told me that's not what draws guys in - it's her incredible ability to make small talk and put people at ease. Hell, half the time even I light up when she talks to me.

She's tolerated in our year level because she's younger than most of us (she's 20). And I want to note that I try my damndest to keep all this bitterness inside my head, and stay away from gossiping or venting about her to other classmates (though I've slipped with close friends). I really do try not to let on how irrationally annoying I find her, because that would be unprofessional.

Anyway, let's call her Olivia.

Last week while I was emailing a reply to my professor in the computer lab, she came up behind me, looked at my screen and said: "ooooh, what's that?" I explained about the exchange students and we chatted a bit, and then she cocked her head and went: "so.. how did you get into this?" And I knew something was brewing.

The tour was yesterday and I don't feel it went as well as I'd hoped. I consider myself a fairly social person too, but I was exhausted from morning class and found it a struggle to make small talk with the students and staff over the language barrier and my low energy. I'd brought a friend along and let him lead the tour, as it turned out he knew the city better than me. The students were all very nice, but afterwards I felt like I hadn't made any real connection and wondered whether it would've even made a difference if I hadn't come.

After the tour we were to hand them off to some older students for dinner, and the exchange students invited my friend and I along. When we got to the restaurant, lo and behold, there was Olivia sitting with the delegation of older students and waving at us. I actually felt my heart sink. For the rest of the dinner Olivia proceeded to charm the pants off the exchange staff and students while I sat there like my quiet high school self again.

Today there was supposed to be a welcome reception for the students, but I cited prior arrangements and went home instead. I know.. I gave up. I just couldn't face being there while Olivia was there. She's taking the students out clubbing tomorrow night as well, and I can't join because clubbing isn't my thing. I know I sound really bitter about all of this. I guess I just felt like I could have something for once that she wouldn't stick her nose into. I feel like I've just handed this whole opportunity over to her without a fight, and that I've let my professor down. I feel like I'm forcing myself to be someone I'm not -- a leader rather than a follower. I want to be able to do what she does, but I can't. :/

What can I do to save face, MeFites? How can I stop beating myself up over my insecurities?
posted by cucumber patch to Human Relations (28 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You sound like you hated doing it and she loved it. I'm not sure what the problem is. Do things that you like to do.
posted by empath at 2:10 AM on March 20, 2013 [14 favorites]

Why not team up together and do it like that? Or if you really hate it - and her - just handball it over to Olivia, cite too many commitments and be done with it. That way, she's a blessing in disguise. Life's too short, seriously.
posted by Jubey at 2:38 AM on March 20, 2013

I don't think you need to save face, unless I'm missing something in your question. Does her doing these things with the other students cost you anything? Are you missing chances or networking opportunities you would otherwise have because Olivia is in the way? You're still going to be visiting that other city, right?

I think you need to find something that is your own, that you can be proud of that has nothing to do with Olivia. It sounds like this something is likely to have little to nothing to do with other people in its creation stage. A project you can make? Some kind of actual object, to show others what you've accomplished. A way for the other people in your group to learn about the place you'll be visiting? Maybe you're more comfortable being really actively social digitally, and you can volunteer to keep up contact between the two groups online, or moderate some kind of discussion forum or wrangle a contact list? Run a facebook group thing?

I guess my answer to you is that in order to stop feeling insecure, you have to have something to feel secure about, and that's not going to just fall in your lap. You've got to be proactive. But play to your strengths. This is what college is supposedly all about, anyway, that knowing yourself thing. Figure out what you're good at - it doesn't have to be people! - and do that thing. Be proud of it and yourself for doing it, and your insecurities will feel less troublesome by comparison.
posted by Mizu at 2:38 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Her success does not preclude yours. You need to start networking in a way you feel comfortable with. As long as you think you should be acting like her in order to be successful you're standing in your own way.
So by all means be the quieter one. Ignore her antics. Make up your mind in any group situation who you want to connect with most and then make that your goal for the evening. If necessary engineer a way to catch them one on one. The only way you lose is by not going.

And ignore her. She will be successful her way. You will be successful your way. Perhaps on a smaller scale but hey, we can't all be football stars or nobel prize winners either.

Btw she sounds pushy and annoying. This is a risk she faces with her strategy, quieter people can be put off if they know her better.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:40 AM on March 20, 2013 [7 favorites]

How do you dust yourself off and carry on after shy and awkward days?

Simple. I say to myself, "I am the best ME I can be." The fact that ME is far from perfect isn't really my problem.
posted by three blind mice at 2:53 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Similar to "I am the best ME I can be," I also usually tell myself that if Olivia had to be me and go through all the experiences that I've ever gone through, she probably wouldn't be any better at being me than I am. In effect, "I am the best me that ANYBODY can be." (A statement that is basically impossible to prove as false.)
posted by dogwalker at 3:49 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do you consider yourself an introvert? If so, you need to play to your strengths and stop beating yourself up about being someone you're not. Trying to change your personality is really exhausting and not fun, and really, the introversion never goes away (believe me I've tried.)

Maybe you could befriend a couple exchange students who are quieter types (here's a tip, and forgive this generalization, but in my experience the French are more reserved than Germans. I befriended a few of the french exchange students during university and still keep in contact one of them. And I am super quiet and reserved compared to most). If you have your own friends, you won't need to give a rat's ass about what miss Charmsalot is doing. Do your best with the tours, and don't expect that because you're quieter, no one will remember who you are. You sound fun and irreverent.
posted by winterportage at 4:18 AM on March 20, 2013

i get it. what you have to realize is the things you are probably good at olivia probably isn't very good at. she may be a social butterfly but sometimes the people who can talk up anyone can't keep their friends longterm for the life of them. they are sometimes all surface and no substance and go through people like crazy. whereas some of us who are quieter and more reserved end up being maid of honor in many of our friend's weddings. it's hard because some societies like the US so values the social extrovert and the quieter introvert doesn't get a whole lot of respect. it is getting better though. don't worry, once people really get to know her they'll see both her good and bad sides. the same is true for you too. time is on your side.

a good thing to do is make a list of all your great qualities and remind yourself of them when you are feeling badly about yourself. you will probably surprise yourself and find you have a lot more going for you than you realize.
posted by wildflower at 4:36 AM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

Try to separate differences in temperament (she's more extroverted, which has nothing to do with you) from boundary issues (reading emails over your shoulder, eavesdropping on conversations, which you have every right to object to). There is a book often recommended here called Quiet:The Power of Introverts... by Susan Cain. Reading it might help you be more accepting of your own temperament.
posted by headnsouth at 4:52 AM on March 20, 2013 [6 favorites]

Agreed with headnsouth: it's not just jealousy at her alleged "social skills," which are a bit problematic if you ask me. This woman is stepping all over your toes. Butting into conversations is rude, as is reading emails over your shoulder, etc. She's not a friend so her intruding into your private conversations should not be welcome. It's fine for her to be extroverted but she is really taking advantage of your (as of now) inability to set boundaries. I'm betting she's already stepped on some toes in that department.

If she butts into your conversations again: "EXCUSE ME, I was chatting with so and so. We'll be a few minutes." Then resume your conversation as if she weren't there. If she continues to cut you off, talk over her. Seriously. Don't worry about making a scene - people like her thrive on other people being afraid of making a scene in the face of overt rudeness.

If she reads your emails over your shoulder, say loudly and firmly: "Excuse me, this correspondence is PRIVATE." Look her in the eye when you say it. She should be embarrassed by this but some people have no shame.

Some of the tra-la-la B.S. she does will probably subside if you can start setting boundaries. This stuff is very hard to do for some of us (me included).
posted by Currer Belfry at 5:01 AM on March 20, 2013 [9 favorites]

Bemoan not her outgoingness for it sounds benign. Rather, focus on who and how you want to be, and realistically can be, and then take yourself in the direction that's right for you. It's fine not to like clubbing, and it's fine not to be a leader. Heck, you could even tell Olivia you admire her and you could even hang out with her if you enjoy her glow and want to replace jealousy with positive feelings and fun times. Sometimes an introvert can do well by being friends with an extrovert, and vice versa.
posted by Dansaman at 5:38 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think I had an Olivia when I was in grade school/high school. So I'm kind of getting where you're coming from.

And Currer Belfry hits it on the head. Setting boundaries (or, having them set when we finally went off to college and I got away from her) did wonders, and let me grow in ways that I hadn't expected and hadn't realized she'd been blocking.

It'll be hard (and actually, I'd be a tiny bit less firm than currer belfry suggests - as in, with the email thing, I'd have simply said "oh, just a project for class," and changed the subject), but I think it's what's called for here.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:39 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

actually felt my heart sink. For the rest of the dinner Olivia proceeded to charm the pants off the exchange staff and students while I sat there like my quiet high school self again.

I know that feeling, and have a tip:

wildflower: they are sometimes all surface and no substance and go through people like crazy.

Go for substance! Find activities where you meet regularly and have to invest time and effort in, like a weekly dance class, a theater group, a food coop - any project where people get together to make something happen, where you can contribute over a longer period of time, where first impressions are not crucial. That is where you can shine!

Nobody can just pop in a dance class and "take over". As you turn up week after week, you get to know the other dancers and automatically these familiar faces become friends, who you could ask out on a dance night to practice your moves. Dancing helps self-confidence, making you feel good and secure in your own body.

Use your energy to become active in such a group. Help organize a dance night, schedule the next lessons, make a flyer, do the finances, or anything else that needs to be done to keep the activity rolling. As the people get to know you, and value you for being that active and reliable team member, you will feel welcome, and will automatically become more secure and outgoing.

At least for me, it has been very rewarding to take this path. Good luck!
posted by willem at 5:41 AM on March 20, 2013

In situations like that I try to think about what fears or anxieties my jealousy is keeping me from confronting. Sometimes jealousy acts as a defensive emotion -- but it's more useful to dig deeper and look past the OBJECT of your jealousy to its CONTENT.
posted by spunweb at 5:42 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Could you organise an alternative activity (something you enjoy) for the students who hate clubbing too? If I were one of the students and you did this I would be over the moon!

Reading a few "Being an Introvert is Great" self help books is also a good idea. I haven't found that I do anything differently because of them but they have helped me to accept/appreciate the way I am.
posted by neilb449 at 6:17 AM on March 20, 2013

If you have a way to get in touch with the exchange students, send them a message saying that you'll be having dinner and seeing a movie and then having a few quiet drinks tomorrow night, and if any of them would like to join you before/instead of clubbing, you'd be delighted to have them. I'd bet you a lot of money that at least one of those exchange students feels the same way about clubbing that you do and is having a virtual panic attack right now at the thought of having to go, but feels like s/he has to play along and go because Olivia and the other students all seem so excited about it, and s/he doesn't want to be the wet blanket.

In other words, there is nothing wrong with you. Olivia's not better or more interesting; she's just different. Some people will like and be attracted to her way of being, and that's good, because pretty much everyone deserves to have someone like them. But some people will also prefer your way of being, because they're more like you, and they're interested in what you're interested in, and they too may find Olivia a bit exhausting.

It's hard when you're not naturally as flashy as other people, but you should try to put yourself out there in a way that's natural for you. Invite people into the interesting, fun, if not quite as adrenaline-filled life you've built for yourself and show them who you are.

But for goodness sake, please rescue these exchange students from being dragged out clubbing when they may not want to go!
posted by decathecting at 6:19 AM on March 20, 2013 [7 favorites]

You know, sometimes even when you want them to be with every fiber of your being, some things just aren't for you. You were honored when your professor singled you out to help the exchange students, but when the rubber met the road, it wasn't your bag.

I totally get that Olivia works your nerve. I get that you wish you had her social ease. But in reality you are you. You have other qualities that perhaps Olivia wishes she had. Or not. Olivia sounds a bit Oblivious to me. (You can call her Oblivia!)

So assert your boundaries. If she tries to horn into a conversation, you can say, "I'm sorry, this is private," and escort the person you were speaking with to a corner of the room.

If she looks over your shoulder at your computer, give her a withering look and say, "That makes me uncomfortable, please stop doing it."

I LOVE decathecting and neilb449's idea of having an alternate activity for the exchange students who are more low key.

I'm more of the extrovert, but I find that pointed teasing can be a great way of calling Oblivia out on her shit, without looking like a jealous freak.

As she horns into a conversation, "Oh hi Oblivia! Did your spidey-sense tingle when we started having a private conversation?"

As she's peering over your shoulder, "So? See anything there you want to horn in on?"

As she's sitting at a dinner she wrangled an invite to, "Ah! Ever my shadow. Shall I send you the itinerary for next week so you can plan to be everywhere I am?"

Bascially, SHE'S the one who seems kind of jealous of YOU!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:37 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

...she came up behind me, looked at my screen and said: "ooooh, what's that?"

Oh. My. God. Flames. Flames on the sides of my face. This is incredibly rude. Elbowing your way into a conversation is one thing. Shoulder-surfing someone's personal and private email? Insanely rude. My response would be, "Don't read my email," a very hard stare, and a refusal to engage in any way on the content of the email, because it is my email. The sender intended it for me, not her.
posted by BrashTech at 7:10 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Last week while I was emailing a reply to my professor in the computer lab, she came up behind me, looked at my screen and said: "ooooh, what's that?" I explained about the exchange students and we chatted a bit, and then she cocked her head and went: "so.. how did you get into this?" And I knew something was brewing.

It sounds like there's a part of you that, annoyed thought you are by her, wants to have some amount of social currency with Olivia. Some respect or even some level of friendship. This may be a vestige of how you've felt about other "popular girls" in High School or other situations. You may not even be entirely conscious of this desire.

But it's this desire that has you over a barrel. I bet that's why you told her about the event: because you wanted her to know, secretly, a little bit, that you were important and cool and interesting and worth knowing.

I think you might benefit from letting that part of you out a little bit, from examining why you might feel like you need to impress this girl on her own terms. Maybe give voice to that feeling and acknowledge it so you can then analyse it, roll it over in your mind and acknowledge it as a feeling.
posted by gauche at 8:14 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Part of "dusting yourself off and carrying on" is squashing down the assumption that she has completely charmed everyone in any way that affects your plans. You want to go on this exchange program, and she's got nothing to do with that.
Yes, she inserted herself into dinner and was all sparkly after you just had a long day of being tour-guide, and this was on top of the fact that you felt your co-tour-guide carried a lot of it. It's true, that situation would have even the most patient of us trying hard not to be annoyed with her. However, on a facts level, there's not much to feel bad about. You arranged a tour; you accompanied the group as a social liason, and found a local expert to do the actual route/talking part, and you were with the group all day long, a constant point as they were getting handed around and introduced to other people. From the professor's perspective, Olivia was helpful, and she probably referred to you when she went to go talk to the professor, so you "arranged" that, too.
I understand that one of the things you wanted from this experience was the chance to do something helpful and social in a non-Olivia context, and that you hoped to improve/test/show your own socializing and networking skills, and that didn't work out... or yes, it did work out, you tested your skills and found that large groups of strangers are not really your forte. However, the other thing you wanted from the experience was to be involved in the exchange program. You are involved. Yes, she was also there, but she was sitting in on the social hosting part of it. Presumably, the foreign students are visiting for reasons other than "to chat at dinner and go clubbing". Don't let the "large group of strangers" feeling get in the way of helping out with the purpose of the program.
Another point - there's only one of her. She might be sparkly and chatty and charming to groups of people, but if anyone wants to have a conversation or ask a question and get an answer, a mass of 15 students isn't the best way to do that, they need to find one helpful person who isn't covered up in all the other visitors. You, on the other hand, aren't good at talking to 15 people at once; you're much better at talking to one person. So go to the reception; get some punch and a cookie, and mill around. Find a visitor who's standing kind of on the edge of things and say hi. Smile and say you hope they enjoyed the tour yesterday; ask if there was anything in particular they liked, or anything they're looking forward to doing while they're here. Chat about the actual academic point of the exchange. If it seems right, smile deprecatingly and say you're not much of one for big organized group outings (snide implications that O. is a flighty shallow mess are optional), so you won't see them out clubbing, but once all the welcoming-activities have calmed down, you'll still be around, and you know where to get tasty cheap lunches (or whatever they're likely to need, and what you have a good knowledge of).
posted by aimedwander at 8:58 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

As an outsider to US culture of sorts I know a lot of people find that over the top friendliness as a very cliched American trait and one that is made fun of. Don't assume they all thought she was amazing. Heck I'm Australian, and we're not unknown for being friendly, with a bunch of English relatives and the one thing we all agree on is that Yanks in general are over the top and in your face friendly and it can be rather off putting. So please don't let that get to you.

Honestly how do you stop her taking over stuff, don't tell her about it. If you want to be the leader, don't have her around. How do you get confidence, you keep doing things you're uncomfortable with until you feel confident doing them.

aimedwander has a great suggestion, go to the reception and find the shy/tired/jetlagged people that can't take Olivias in your face sparkliness anymore and talk to them. Be a nice quiet pool of calm and be involved that way, work with your strengths. You are interested in them not in small talk, you are interested in the program, not being the centre of attention, let her flirt with the guys and you can talk to them like people. You bring what you bring to the event and don't worry about Olivia.
posted by wwax at 9:29 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't think it's helpful to try to either compare yourself to Olivia nor to disparage her. She inserted herself into your turf, and I think that you need to make sure that doesn't happen again. It's not polite to read another person's emails over their shoulder--you don't need to be unpleasant or agressive, but if she tries this stunt again--remind her that she's not Dick Tracy. Same with butting into conversations--but try to do it lightly, so that your other conversational partner doesn't perceive you as defensive or jealous, because that will make you less popular and less effective.

But--you have your own strengths and weaknesses, and you don't build up your own self esteem by deciding that she's shallow or flighty or whatever. You have to work on your own stuff--by taking action. You volunteered for the exchange student thing, you got another person to assist with the tour guide part (thus showing that you were willing to share and that you knew what your own strengths would be and would not be.) So go out and do this again. Hosting a non club event is a great idea--but don't set yourself up in competition with Olivia, because you will lose. Instead, you are working together, to provide those students with choices.

Never disparage her, never do the eye roll--you can be just as effective. Let your actions show how effective you are.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:40 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

God, she sounds like a pain in the ass. Your mistake was in sharing info with her. Be silent around her. Do not ever share your plans. When she asks, learn to say, "Just some personal discussion" When she pries, just repeat "Just some personal discussion" and then ask her about herself. Suggest she plan events, since she obviously enjoys it. As often as possible, mis-hear her and ignore her, so she has to repeat herself, making it clear that she's invading.

Also. I'm outgoing and a true extrovert. But I suffer the same lack of confidence you do. I fake it, thinking I'll eventually feel it. Some days I do, many days I stay up re-living a detail in my head, berating myself. Be your best self. I'll bet people like you, that you have genuine friends. Olivia may seem to be happy and busy, but you have no idea if she's up at night wondering why she has to weasel in. You can't know what goes on inside other people, and it'll just make you unhappy to focus on it, so try to focus on your own life. Your prof chose you, you did a fine job, including Olivia's insertion. Take credit where you can.
posted by theora55 at 12:21 PM on March 20, 2013

As a dyed-in-the-wool introvert who often berates herself for not being bold/outgoing/lively/exciting/extrovert enough, this quote from Henri-Frederic Amiel often helps me:

"Learn to limit yourself, to content yourself with some definite thing, and some definite work; dare to be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not and to believe in your own individuality."

Don't lament the strengths you don't have, make the most of the ones you do. I agree with others, I would be beyond relieved if I were one of your exchange students and someone like you had suggested something less exhausting than clubbing!

I'm a teacher, and I work with a kind of male Olivia. He's loud, outgoing, sociable, loves attention, and is truly brilliant at the aspects of teaching that require any kind of showmanship - in many ways my exact opposite. Recently I volunteered to do a whole-school assembly on a topic I feel really strongly about (this is pretty terrifying for an introvert, but as Susan Cain points out in the already-recommended Quiet, introverts can and will act like extroverts when they really care about something). Just before I was about to start, he said to me, "Have you heard the song on YouTube about that? It's hilarious! You have to show it!" I thought, 'actually this issue matters to me and I want people to take it seriously, but I expect the whole thing will fall really flat because I'm not you and I'm awful at talking to huge groups and I don't have the charisma to carry this sort of thing off', but I just said that I didn't think I'd have time for it. Anyway, I did my thing as planned, was given two rounds of applause, and all week people kept telling me how great it was. There are people I haven't taught who now refer to me just in terms of that assembly. And I did it all without being remotely outgoing or Olivia-ish!

Keep doing your own thing in your own way. It's not about being a leader or a follower - you can lead too, just not in the same way she does. And your way is every bit as valid!
posted by raspberry-ripple at 3:20 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have a lot of the same problems as you with regards to beating myself up for being too introverted or quiet, ruminating about how I must have come off in some situation, and replaying it in my head. The one thing that really comforts me, is knowing that I basically have no idea how people actually perceive me, or a specific event. An event that I could have been attaching huge importance to - like, in your case, taking the lead showing the exchange students around - could be no big deal at all to someone else, even if it feels like in my head Olivia "won" and I "lost." And I don't know if this applies to you, but I often find that I have to consciously prevent myself from resenting people who are more extroverted than me and framing everything as "me vs. them."

Have you read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro? I only mention it because the protagonist of that novel expresses similar feelings about another character who behaves similarly to Olivia, and you might identify with it.
posted by pravit at 5:09 PM on March 20, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the advice and support guys. The advice to get the quieter students to do another activity was fantastic, I'd really like to implement that. They're going out with Olivia for dinner first tonight and she said 'they would see' if they felt like clubbing afterwards, and I did suggest doing another activity if not. However a complicating factor is that my grandmother, aunty and uncle are here from overseas and I haven't spent any time with them since they arrived on Monday, thanks to my stress about this. I think I'm going to leave the socialising till next week, but will take your advice re: an individualised approach.

And yes, I'm an introvert, though I'm getting quite good at faking extroversion when I need to. I do feel a lot of pressure to be more outgoing in the environment I'm in. I guess I just hate feeling like socialising is some sort of competition, which is how Olivia makes me feel.
posted by cucumber patch at 8:24 PM on March 20, 2013

I guess I just hate feeling like socialising is some sort of competition, which is how Olivia makes me feel.

Olivia isn't making you feel anything. You're doing it to yourself. You have some control over the way you react to her.
posted by empath at 9:39 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

You don't need to socialize that way. Focus on what you're good at and build your self-esteem around that. You can always push your boundaries, but you don't HAVE to push these boundaries so far while not taking stock of your other talents and abilities.

You are kind of elevating Olivia to this level of perfection that is not the case. She sounds fun and outgoing but also a little annoying and pushy at times. I'm sure a lot of people see the good and the bad and choose to go along with the good, because they enjoy the social aspect or are generous in general or she just doesn't push their buttons. I had a friend in college who was absolutely the sweetest girl, very outgoing, very cute and funny and kind, but she was also a little bit snakey behind people's backs and could make some questionable choices and was sometimes judgmental of others. But hating her because she was human would have meant not enjoying her friendship, and we were just different people-- some people we met really liked her, and some people really liked me, and that's just how it was. There are other introverts out there who might have fun with Olivia or think she was sweet, but would get along much better with you as a friend.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:38 AM on March 21, 2013

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