Social Question

prolificus's avatar

How does your self-image affect the extent to which you interact with others?

Asked by prolificus (6583points) April 5th, 2010

However you hold yourself in your mind, concerning your perceived strengths, weaknesses, characteristics, and qualities, how does this self-perception limit or encourage you to freely express yourself around others?

In my mind, I feel like an oddball. The sense of feeling weird often inhibits me from freely expressing myself around people I’ve not known for a long time (or who don’t know me intimately enough to understand me). If I don’t feel safe to fully express my personality, then I put on the mask of professionalism and fake-maturity. This is just one example of several other perceptions of my self.

Do you ever tolerate (or not tolerate) in others the qualities that are similar to yours, but have felt uncomfortable for you to freely express? Do you ever wish you could let it all (the qualities you try to contain) out in the open?

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10 Answers

slick44's avatar

I think if your not comforitble in your own skin, you prob. wont interact with others well. You have to first accept yourself.

MarcoNJ's avatar

Hmm. Well, I can relate to not being my full self when I’m around new faces. But that’s mainly because I like talking trash and joking. I don’t think that goes over too well with new acquaintances…not the trash talking at least. So I maintain relatively mellow in my demeanor. Besides, I find it easier to gauge how sincere and likable a person really is by letting them do most of the talking at first. After the initial ‘warm-up’ period, if we ‘click’, I see no reason to hold back on being myself – especially if we share similar qualities. It doesn’t take too long to figure out whether or not we’ll get along great or not.

Just be yourself with the ones you get along great with, remain cordial with the ‘so-sos’, and screw the rest. Especially phonies. Why not?

wundayatta's avatar

I, too, feel like an oddball. In fact, everybody I know claims to be an oddball. Maybe that’s just because we are attracted to each other. Maybe it’s because no one thinks they are normal.

When I have low self-image, I tend to interact with others much less. I believe no one likes me and no one is interested in me, so why should I bother them by even being near them.

When I’m feeling better about myself, I will interact more with people, but if it’s a group of people who I perceive to be normal, I’m less likely to jump in. If I’m with weird people, like myself, I participate with much more enthusiasm.

I have, in more recent years, become a little less sensitive to being weird. I think that’s because I’ve learned to turn my weirdness into a bit of an asset. I make fun of myself and that makes people laugh and then they put up with more than they otherwise would.

I’d say that feeling like I’m different has had a negative effect on my life, mostly because the only thing I really want is love, love, and more love. Feeling worse than others hampers me in finding the kind of love (adoration) that I am looking for. It also makes me feel weird feeling that if I don’t get adoration, I don’t really count as a person. I suppose it’s a pathology. I’m trying to work on it.

Meanwhile, I have stopped caring so much about what people in my immediate vicinity think of me. I still care greatly, but I have begun to let a little more of myself out because I’m 53 and if I want to get something done, I better do it soon!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I tend to make little effort to interact with others despite a fairly positive self-image.

My disability often restricts my ability to follow-through with commitments and social interaction involves the responsibility to be reliable and consistent.

Inactivity tends to lead to more of the same and I know I am losing out and wasting valuable time. I need to give this more thought.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I understand that to some people I come off as intimidating because I speak my mind and express uncomfortable truths – knowing this I try hard to accept that others are into frivolous conversation and small talk rather than not and so to be accepted (for professional purposes, I don’t tolerate pretense from myself anywhere else) I play along but it makes my head hurt. I know that generally speaking if I don’t talk, people will think I’m quiet and nice – then, when I talk, they know that I have ‘strong’ (in that I have some) opinions. In my job, I have to deal with a lot of levels of staff in two hospitals, seven departments – I hold people accountable for their responsibilities because my ultimate responsibility is to the patient – a lot of the time, this rubs staff the wrong way because they’ve all gotten so used to being complacent and not giving a shit.

phillis's avatar

In order for me to produce an accurate reflection of my strengths and weaknesses, several things must be taken into consideration. One of those is how I act around different people. I won’t be grinding on a dance floor and licking whipped cream body shots off a nearly-nude male body when my grandmother is around. The sme thing goes for the professional mask you don while at work. You’re actually doing what is required of you.

There is a big difference between taking strides to hide who you are (like child molesters do) and not flaunting certain aspects of yourself in front of an unappreciative audience. I have no guilt whatsoever about presenting two totally different faces, primarily because I am harming neither myself, nor anyone else. Going a bit further, morphing into what you are need to be at the time facilitates productivity and enhances relationships by being less of a distraction. In other words, there is a reason for it.

Your comment about being “weird” seems to indicate that is an aspect of yourself you aren’t very fond of. What would happen if you were to think about the good that comes from being weird? For instance, I am weird. It is that smae weirdness which also allowes me to relate to the pain others feel on a profound level. So much so, in fact, that I have been instrumental in helping a lot of people over the years.

Of course, in school, my weirdness caused me to be set apart from others, and I bought into the notion that something was “wrong” with me. But they were wrong, and so was I. My weirdness turned out to be a lovely characteristic which I have nurtured over the years. Your “weirdness” does give you some positive things in your life. Go find them, instead of trying to fix components inherent in who you are. You aren’t broken.

MacBean's avatar

I’m mostly comfortable with my personality, even though I’m definitely pretty weird. My issue is that I’m literally not comfortable in my own skin. The outside doesn’t match the inside and that makes it extremely difficult for me to maintain confidence in face-to-face interactions.

evandad's avatar

When you feel good about yourself you are more comfortable with others. I’m still an oddball at 60. Embrace it and seek out others like yourself.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t really have much interest in interacting with others, in person. Online, it is an interesting pastime where I can come and go as I please. It’s quite an effort to try to fit into other people’s time frames.

JackiePaper's avatar

I’m guarded and reserved around most people….that makes it more fun to be my goofy self around people I am close too.

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