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Going thru life being unnoticed

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Robert_Z, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    I've never felt the way you describe. I go to dinner and movies alone all the time. My attitude is that I simply don't care what other people may or may not be thinking if they see me alone.

    The truth is half the ones who are with someone are probably wishing they were alone and the other half are probably wishing they were with someone else. [​IMG] The last thing they are thinking about is that I'm a loser because I'm out by myself.

    I always used to laugh at how some of the guys I worked with would put on the tough guy act when their wive or girlfriends weren't around. It was bitch this and bitch that. When you saw them with their wives it was, "yes, dear"....."no, dear", and "coming, dear". From tough guy to pussy-whipped pansy in one easy step. Who needs it?

    I come and go as I please, do as I please, and spend my money as I please, and I don't have to ask a ball and chain for permission. I don't get why a lot of people somehow assume that a guy (or gal) is incomplete if they don't have "someone".

    When I look at the crap that some of the people I know have gone through with their wives and girlfriends, I don't mind being "invisible". I especially like being "invisible" at work. The fact is I generally can't stand managers or management, so the less I see of them, and they of me, the better I like it. Being "invisible" at work is good.

    Being "visible" means that people expect shit from you. Being "invisible" is just fine with me.
     
  2. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

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    I've pondered this a bit more in the last day or so. Please indulge my long-winded posting.

    There are many ways in which we limit our own sociability ("we" referencing the introverted wallflowers - and I am a grand achiever at introversion), but the primary motive usually seems to be protecting the ego. As painful as it can be to be ignored, it's much better than being noticed and ridiculed. Objectively it's easy to see that those aren't the only two possible outcomes, but introverted folks tend to exaggerate the probability that strangers will judge them harshly because we generally judge people very harshly (in our own heads). Our frame of mind is that other people will most likely judge us as harshly as we judge ourselves (and them). So the general social strategy is to "blend in" and hope that we'll stumble upon our social compatriots simply through good fortune like everyone says will happen. Repeat that strategy without success for long enough and you start to feel that there must therefore be something wrong with you.

    Jeff or someone else with the answers to social anxiety always jump into these threads (search for the Valentine's Day thread) to tell us to just get out there and meet people at bars, classes, tractor pulls, whatever... that we just haven't turned over enough rocks. This advice presumes that the final desired outcome is to meet people and be noticed (or just not ostracized). My response to this kind of advice is that introverts don't just want to be noticed or acknowledged; we want to be valued and desired, preferably by someone whose opinion we actually respect. That's a tall order to ask of strangers (especially drunken ones), so casual social situations don't really seem to provide the promised opportunities for the meaningful connections that we are really seeking - and that unfortunately reinforces that there must still be something wrong with us since the popular advice that everyone repeats isn't producing the desired results for us.

    That is the beauty of internet forums. You can compartmentalize your socialization to people from around the world that already share common interests with you. You can control your side of the conversation completely and you can take your time presenting the best version of you that you're capable of producing. It's still you, just hopefully a carefully edited version. I may disagree with 70+% of the world about religion, 90+% of the world about politics, and unknown millions about every little expression of pop culture - but I can pick my battles one issue at a time and feel fairly confident that the general audience that I'm socializing with is at least somewhat interested in hearing an opinion - even mine. And if they aren't then they are easy enough to ignore.

    Nobody knows how tall or fat or ugly or hairy or smelly you are on the internet unless you tell them - and they have no reason to judge you on those physical aspects that you may be very self conscious of in real life encounters. Personally, I'm 20 feet tall and smell like cinnamon rolls - as far as you know. Any impression I make is through my words and my opinions, even if it only reaches a few dozen people. If you find the right community then you can satisfy your needs for regular social interaction without having to go out into the real world searching for friendly folks the old fashioned way. Now if you are genuinely unfunny, dull, or bad at expressing yourself then you will have a harder time making friends on the net as well, but opportunities abound for you to improve those skills without the pressure of a real world social situation. The only real drawback is that it doesn't get you touched, but there are internet resources for that sort of socialization too if you can stomach it.

    Do I have a point here? My impression is that most people feel invisible when they are isolated from friends and family, and it's easier to find people that won't ignore you by seeking out groups and forums that address the things that have the greatest meaning to you. If you can find a real world equivalent of a hobbyist forum where you live then chances are that you'll end up meeting some kindred spirits there. If not, at least you have people to interact with on the net even if they don't live anywhere near you. That's a lot more than most people in the history of the world could rely upon. You'll likely still feel "invisible" in casual social situations, but you can just rationalize it by realizing that all those apparently happy people out there are just shallow, vapid, douchebag meat sacks that aren't worth knowing. [​IMG] Or you could just get a puppy.

    Now I'm off to find a 15 foot tall lady friend who smells like angel food cake. [​IMG]

    Brad
     
  3. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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    First, read "The Ignored" by Bentley Little.

    Next, the way to get noticed is by noticing other people. Yes, it is just that simple. Treat other people like they are special and you will get treated this way in return. Look people right in the eye when you are talking to them, smile and be friendly. Listen to what they are saying, ask them questions about themselves, don't turn everything into an anecdote about yourself. And when you see them again later, ask them follow-up questions that show you remember who they are and regard them and their lives as important. Over time you will have more friends and acquaintances than you will know what to do with. People will think of you when they realize you are thinking of them.

    If you treat every person as if they are attractive, intelligent and interesting, it will start to come naturally and will not feel phoney. After all, you are attractive, intelligent and interesting in your own way--but other people will not know this unless you act accordingly. People treat you the way you give them permission to treat you. If you come across as comfortable and confident in yourself, people will notice you.

    No, this does not mean you have to turn yourself into a type "A" personality. Just act comfortable with yourself and don't be intimidated by anyone. I am definitely a shy type B personality but everyone in my company knows who I am and greets me warmly when they see me, I get invited to events, etc. because I try to treat everyone as if they are special.
     
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    And to be valued and desired requires meeting the people who will do so. Wanting lifelong friendship and respect without all the upfront work of meeting people and pushing through the casual friendship that must precede will lead to disappointment.

    So, painfully perhaps, "Jeff or someone else" are right: you have to get out there and be in the community to meet those with whom you'll find and share respect and friendship. It's not just going to bars to meet loose women and drunk men (no appeal to me there). It can be sports leagues, the church, your neighbors, service organizations, charities. There are many ways to meet people.

    It seems obvious, but the denial of this is just what you describe. It's not easy. Some people step into a room and have 15 new best friends within the hour. Others take years to develop deep friendships. But in all cases, it takes involvement to develop strong relationships. It generally takes effort to be noticed and earn respect.
     
  5. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Best advice in the thread, and sums it all up.
     
  6. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    So I should go up to strange women in grocery stores and tell them I like your melons?

    Jay

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Brad, you have captured the syndrome perfectly, but look at what you say here:


    I have to ask . . . How are you supposed to meet someone who will "value and desire" you if you can't even muster up the courage to ask a horny drunk girl to dance? I know I'm blunt, but guys like us need blunt. No one's going to stop in the middle of the day and all of a sudden say "Hey that lonely looking shlump in the corner is really a great guy, I think I'll value and desire him!!" It doesn't work that way, mostly because lonely looking schlumps aint' that valuable or desireable.

    No ones going to hand you friendship or compainionship on a silver platter. Relationships aren't something that people hand out like a perfume sample, they are earned. The good thing is, they aren't that hard to earn.
     
  8. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I am loathe to agree with Jeff but I do [​IMG] Seriously, I was utterly puzzled by the paragraph you quoted as well. Of course we all want to be valued and desired. Of course we all want meaningful connections. But how the heck are you supposed to get there without casual interractions, i.e., meeting people and chit chatting first? I would to walk into a room and know my soul mates right away. But while I am waiting for that magical moment, I have to go out and do weird things like small talk and casual convos [​IMG]

    Now I am not saying it's easy for everyone (it wasn't always easy for me.) But there is no way around it if you truly want those meaningful connections. None.

    EDIT: Well OK there is the internet. It does allows you to cut through a lot of crap at least as far as dating goes. As for other kinds of internet-enabled gatherings like say HTF meets, you're still gonna have to casually interact and somehow maintain people's interests (i.e., back to square one.) Unlike some girl you met on match.com, we haven't gone through a pre-screening or compatibility test. [​IMG]

    --
    H
     
  9. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

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    I suspect that my point (or more accurately my complaint about the advice) was obscured by all my blah blah blah, so I'll try to clarify it.

    I'm suggesting to Robert and others like myself that forcing the situation and adapting your introverted personality to socialize with the masses in environments that don't already appeal to you will not be as rewarding as specifically seeking out like minded people where they congregate and socializing with them in a limited way. It's difficult to find a "people completely like me" club to hang out in, but finding a "people who like this one thing that I really like" club is easier than it has ever been. As an example, I meet the largest number of strangers by playing poker. It's a hobby that I really enjoy even though a large portion of the other players are absolute assholes. I'm not expecting to find a soulmate in that activity, just a few suckers. If I can get a good conversation out of the experience as well then it's win-win for me. But you can see how that approach is different than just mixing in an unstructured social situation like a bar or club. And it's vastly different than walking up to ladies at the market and talking about melons.

    So my complaint isn't about the advice to "get out there", it's about the "there" that keeps getting proposed. If you alreaddy like to drink or dance or have shouting conversations, then a bar is definitely the proper place to go. If, like me, none of that appeals to you then it seems like a setup for disappointment - and therefore unwelcome advice. My point is that if you generally want more rewarding social interaction in your life then it's better to get it in small, selective doses - some poker time with poker players, some sci-fi nerd time on a targetted internet forum, etc. You will continue to be "invisible" in public, but you won't feel as isolated if you have some place to go for a meeting of the minds. It's easier to build limited relationships with people who have already self-identified a specific common interest than it is to find those people in an open public location by kissing all the frogs.

    Does that clarify my point of view?

    Brad
     
  10. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    It does, but you have to compromise a bit too. So to just write off bars because of your preconceptions, your litmiting yourself.

    Ok, I had pretty much a complete change in my friend pool due to life stuff, and I found myself with just a handful of friends. I changed that and what I did was accept every invite out I got (went so far as traveling to the UK and staying with people I only knew via the internet). Didn't matter what it was, I accepted. Yeah, I did stuff I wouldn't of typically done, but I also had fun doing it. And yeah, some of the circumstances sucked, but the good outweighs the bad. Some peopel I met and what not, I didn't like, so I moved on. It's all in the choices. I hve as many emotional hang ups and social awkwardness as the next guy, but you have to chose if you want to do something about it.

    So all this "I don't like shouting over music" stuff, it's an excuse because your scared of rejection, just get out there. If you like UFC or something, goto a pub that has the PPV. Or goto a neighbourhood place that has a trivia night or something. Or a bookstore with a coffee shop.

    If it's just the bottom line that you are introverted and don't like people, then really, accept it, shut up about it and stare at the walls for the rest of your life or whatever it is you like doing. It's pretty black and white really, either your unhappy and want to make a change, or your unhappy and want to be coddled about it. This thread can go round and round with people offering suggestions that are going to get poo poo'd because they are out of others comfort zones, the same comfort zones that are making them complain about where they are with their lives.

    *EDIT, not specifically calling you out Brad, your post was last and mentioned things that others always bring up, so I used it as a sound board. Sorry if it sounds like I'm yelling at you. [​IMG]
     
  11. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Sure. But joining interest groups was one of the very first things suggested in this thread, by Jeff and others. Nightlife was one suggestion of many, but for some reason people like to concentrate on that one.

    --
    H
     
  12. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Which is why this thread is going to be a never ending treadmill... people only hear what they want to hear and all that....
     
  13. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    The thing about your point of view is:

    a) Most of you haven't tried the things you say you don't like, i.e. cooking classes, dance lessons, singles bars, charity work.

    b) Most of you are only putting these things down because you are scared shit about interacting with people. Which is exactly the point. Self-sabotage is rampant in these types of things.

    See, you all complain about having difficulty meeting someone and being "touched", but every time someone suggest that you get out there and try to touch someone, you basically say "But I don't like touching people". You won't do the work, but you want the rewards. Kind of greedy on your part, huh?

    Look, if there is anything I've learned, this "I'm a shy, nice guy, why oh why doesn't anybody see it?" attitude is pure unaldulterated crap. It's selfish and egotistical to think you are so special that you should be the first person in history to ever be loved without risking your feelings and ego. The fact that people dress this narcissistic horse-hooey up to look like introverted shyness is also crap. How do I know? Because I did the same thing for years. I finally realized that I'm not special, and like anything else in life, I have to work for what I want (if I want it).
     
  14. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    It's the easiest one to shoot down, so if they concentrate on that, they don't have to answer for the others.
     
  15. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

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    I think you guys are fighting against a strawman with most of your points - at least with respect to anything that I've written. This wallowing in self-pity, friendless loser character that you're addressing isn't me, nor do I suspect that it is anyone else here. I've got plenty of friends, and whether I'd consider myself a "nice guy" or not is irrelevant. I haven't acquired the friendships that I have through random interactions with the public. Perhaps the best thing for this stereotypical friendless loser that you guys are helping to do is to just reach out to everyone he meets with no filter, but my ongoing point is that people who are naturally introverted are better served seeking specific relationships with people who share their specific interests. That is different advice than telling them to go be amongst as many people as they can. And it certainly isn't telling them to indulge their shyness.

    I'll relate it back to the original post. Robert said "I hate fake people." I'd guess that the most likely companion to that sentiment is hating being a fake person. An introvert who pretends to be an extrovert will feel "fake", and any relationships that develop under those circumstances will feel "fake" to a certain extent as well.

    For Robert or me or whomever else might self-apply the label of introvert, our best bet (IMO) is to find activities that entertain us regardless of whether they will lead to friendship or not. For me personally, that isn't going to be a bar, dance club, or church since I would have to pretend to want to be there in there first place. So when I see that advice I step in to give my opinion that maybe random acquaintances aren't really the best solution for an introverted person. And yes, I have been there, done that - why presume that I haven't to reinforce your strawman?

    Brad
     
  16. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Sorry if you got upset, but I call it the way I see it. If you are happy being an introvert, then fine. But the OP seemd to be miserable being an introvert and didn't know how to break out of it. I gave him the advice that worked for me and countless others. The fact that it actually takes effort is why it works. The OP didn't ask for the "safe" way, he asked for any way. I'm not about to suggest to someone who wants to learn how to swim to stay away from the water because he could drown. Besides, where did I suggesst he seek out clubs and charities that he'd hate doing?

    By the way, ever taken a cooking class? That was my first suggestion, and for you to keep answering been there done that in order to knock down a "strawman" that I haven't put up is a little ironic.
     
  17. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

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    I'm not going to tell you what to do, I'm just telling you what I've done.

    I am a painfully shy person. But, when I decided to get into my field (I'm a chef) I realized that I needed to do something about the shyness.

    What I did was basically what Bob said. Maintain eye contact, always be interested in what the other person is saying, and, remember their names.

    Take a lesson from Bill Clinton where he always grabs the person by the arm, looks them in the eyes and smiles. You might think that's phony but the other person on the end of that is not thinking that.

    Just don't be too smarmy.
     
  18. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

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    I haven't specifically taken a cooking class, but I'm actually pretty darn good at feeding myself and occasionally my friends since I've been doing it for half my life. I've been wanting to take a welding class but I haven't found anything local in the past. I bet all the lonely hawt chicks flock to the industrial arts classes. [​IMG]

    Brad
     
  19. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Damn, i wanted to be the first to say that. But i didnt see the thread til today!

    I only WANT to be noticed by a few. Cause, i feel better going under the radar of the dim wits. [​IMG]

    So to sum up, enjoy what you have, or make changes. Life, as always, is to short.
     
  20. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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    I like Brad's posts in this thread.

    Anyway, there's a site called MeetUp. It has all these categories of interests, and you get to talk to and hang out with people near your area who share in the same interests as you and who are interested in meeting new people.

    ~T
     

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