Tuesday, 13 July 2010

OLDER. NOT NECESSARILY WISER . . .

There are certain things I don't think I'll ever grow out of, no matter how old I grow.

For example, I still feel slightly devastated inside when I think I've been left out of something, whether it's an in-joke, or a drink after work, or ANYTHING really. I try to ACT like it doesn't bother me, but deep down it eats away at me and I wonder why they chose ME to be excluded. I can't help but wonder what I've done wrong and every insecurity I have rears its ugly head.

I'm better at rallying back after one of these knocks to my confidence now, don't get me wrong. But I don't think I'll ever feel less hurt, less offended or less paranoid at that original hit. I just bruise way too easily (metaphorically AND literally).

And here's another.

I care too much about what other people think of me.

I know that we're not SUPPOSED to, but I can't help it. I don't want, for example, people to think I'm stupid. Like my second year Maths teacher at school who told my mum I was useless at maths and never would be good (funnily enough the second I left her class, I excelled at Maths - I don't think it was me, it was her teaching that faulted me. But at the time it stung.) Or the time I was off-site for the first time for work and because I didn't know where I was going, I nearly followed my male colleague into the toilets. The male toilets. And he looked at me like I was a total idiot and said "You DO realise this is the gent's, right?" and for weeks afterwards every time I thought about it I cringed inside and didn't want to look him in the eye.

One of these events happened approximately seventeen years ago. The latter happened three years ago. Not much changed in that time and not much has changed since.

It seems to be an innate personality trait of mine that I want everyone to like me, and I don't want people to think badly of me. If I think someone DISLIKES me, this too eats away at my inner psyche. WHY don't they like me? Have I done them wrong in some way, a way I don't remember? (You know me and alcohol and what the old vino can do to my memory on a night out! But then again, this problem pre-dates my drinking days.) Or is it just that I'm that hateful that they can't even bring themselves to try?

(I know deep down this isn't the case, but sometimes you just can't help being paranoid.)

The weird thing is with me, that even if I suspect they don't like me I have to keep trying, keep pushing. Keep making an effort.

(I wanted to find a clip to demonstrate this, but unfortunately I couldn't locate exactly what I was looking for. For "Friends" fans out there - do you remember the one where Monica threw a baby shower for Rachel and forgot to invite Rachel's mom? And all the way through the shower, Mrs Greene was being absolutely horrible to her, and she kept trying to be nice, over and over again? Until she snapped at her and said exactly what she thought? Then apologised for it? That's me . . . only without the honest part in the middle.)

Prime example of my own: about 9 years ago, I spent a few months working in a well-known department store in Glasgow. I started going out with one of the boys in my department and one of the Saturday girls, who clearly had a thing for him, didn't take kindly to this. She treated me like crap, and despite the fact that I was 22 and she was only about 17 and only THERE one day a week, she made me feel awful. One day we had to take the float up to the office together and for some reason I was STILL trying to make an effort with her, chatting away to her awkwardly while she replied in monosyllables.

Afterwards, I was so angry at myself for even TRYING. Why did I bother? It only made me feel like an idiot.

But you know . . . now I look back on that . . . now I think about it . . . actually surely I came across as the bigger person. She was the petty little girl who hated me because I was with a guy she would never get (and she never did. My friend ended up going out with him after me, so she didn't have a chance anyway) and I had tried to give her the benefit of the doubt and she threw it back in my face.

If anyone should have been embarrassed, it was her, not me.

It's happened again since (on several occasions - SERIOUSLY, apparently I'm that unlikeable to some! Can you believe it???) and thinking about it, I can apply that same logic to these other situations. Okay, someone doesn't like me. Okay, maybe they have their reasons, and maybe I will never understand them, but that doesn't mean I have to reciprocate the same behaviour they display towards me.

So I guess the conclusion is this: there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to make an effort with someone, to reach out to them. But you have to know when it's time to just give up and move on.

Hopefully next time this happens, I will be able to do so.

Wow. Maybe I AM getting wiser after all . . . ;)

Is there any personality trait or flaw you feel you'll never grow out of?

9 comments:

  1. Me! That's me too! When I screw up I relive the whole thing over and over again. It's awful.

    I had a friend in high school once tell me that people are going to stare you might as well give them a reason. I tried to take it to heart BUT I always worry. In the back of my head it sits there. I obsess about it too much, and if I don't deal with it in the daytime I don't sleep because I am rethinking it and rethinking it.

    Massive cycle.

    Ugly cycle.

    M

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  2. I'm the same way girl. My friend Danielle lives far away from me & I've always tried to make an effort to keep up the friendship but now she passes where I live & never stops. I still try & try but no luck. Another friend of mine I tried for 4 years to be his friend. Nope, waste of time. But inside you know you tried & it's okay to let go. It's absolutely okay. =)

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  3. I totally agree - there comes a time when you've got to stop caring what people think about you. I think I managed to hit that realisation a year or two ago, and since then I've got a reputation for being a bit prickly and harsh... though I hope some people see it for what it is - just plain straight shooting.

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  4. I am a cryer, always been, but it is who I am and I know I wont grow out of it.

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  5. At my last job, I got left out a lot. They'd make plans right in front of me but never once asked me along. The old receptionist used to ask me to join them sometimes but then she was gone and no one else ever bothered to include me. It hurt my feelings a lot but then I realized that I really didn't like most of those people anyways and while it still hurt, it was easier to accept.

    I care about what people think about me too. Too much! I had a co-worker at an old job tell me once that she didn't like me. Very akward after that! I tried to avoid her at every opportunity but sometimes there just wasn't a way to. Everyone around me knew why she didn't care for me but no one would tell me. They'd all say, "Well, you know why!" Um, no I don't! If I knew, I wouldn't have to ask. I tried to be overly nice to her and kill her with kindness but finally I realized that no matter what I did, it wasn't going to change the situation. And after that, she really began to grate my nerves and I didn't like her either.

    Then at the last job I worked, there was one girl who I swear must've been a bully in school. She was a real beeyotch but only to me. I don't know what her problem was. I usually didn't say anything but on the rare occassions when I'd call her out on her shiz, she'd always say she was only kidding and that I didn't know how to take a joke. Yeah, I don't think so! The last time I saw her, she refused to even acknowledge me and I KNOW for a fact that she saw me. There was no way she couldn't have. (It was at a public picnic. I didn't know my parents knew her parents but apparently they do know each other quite well. Her parents saw mine and sat down with them. She and her daughter came with them and sat at our table.)

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  6. I think most of what you're describing is just plain old human nature. No one wants to feel excluded and we all want to be liked.

    I used to be the same way when someone didn't like me but now I usually find it amusing. Especially if they do little things to show me how much they dislike me. For instance, I don't get along with our receptionist. When she's mad at me she does little things like throwing my mail in my inbox instead of laying it down, or slamming the cabinet doors in our kitchen. It cracks me up. It literally makes me laugh that she thinks I care whether she likes me or is mad at me.

    Just focus on all the people in your life who do like you and forget about the ones who don't. There's NO ONE who is universally liked.

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  7. Any pleb that doesn't like you is clearly not worth knowing.

    The whole 'reliving things over, how I'd do things differently' thing I *don't* think I do quite so much now.

    One habit I that I HOPE I'm growing out of is the 'being shy and quiet' or not having the confidence to talk away to folk... I even do it with people I know (case in point - saw a couple of people I knew at Download, and although I quickly realised it WAS them, I didn't have the balls to go over and talk to them).

    I *think* I'm managing to shake off the old 'play it safe / stay and suffer' thing though. Which some may define as 'recklessness'. :S lol


    x

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  8. I wish I could think of a more articulate reply, but it boils down to - I could have written this post! I get so tired of people saying "Just don't care what people think of you" because it REALLY isn't that easy :(

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  9. I hate being left out. In high school, my family lived (and still lives!) 20 miles from the town I went to school in. This means that I missed out on a lot of the spontaneous get togethers my friends had.

    I hated hearing about what happened after the fact. I still do.

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