Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rejection

I'm a natural extravert. Honest. I crave to be involved in large social gatherings and chat away with others. I need it. I want it. Oh baby oh. (five points for the reference)

But sometimes people don't see that in me. Sometimes people see me as introverted. Quiet. Shy. Not willing to speak up. (ok, well, maybe that's a stretch...how about...keeps to myself). Sometimes people think I'm exclusionary because I don't jump in there and ask how you are doing right away.

Its funny how perception can really impact the way you see the world and others around you. For example...someone says hi to you in the line at the grocery store...cool or uncool? Depends on how you grew up. For us transplants to Texas this is a primary example of how different Texas can be. In Texas, you are crazy (or rude, or weird...insert your adjective) if you don't say hi to people in line at the grocery store and strike up a conversation. If you make eye contact with someone and they look away you might find yourself thinking "what's wrong with that person?". Where I was raised though, if you spoke to the people in line at the grocery store, on occasion you would find a generous sole willing to smile and talk back, but for the most part the thought is "what is wrong with that person"...why do they feel they have the right to talk to me. It's not an arrogant thing, its a self preservation thing. You don't know who to trust and so you tend to avoid talking to people you don't know...or making eye contact with them...you just go about your business with your friends and family and live life that way. The idea is that there are "too many crazies in the world". I think it grew out of the whole stranger danger thing...who knows.

Personally, because i'm an extravert, I prefer Texas in that sense because I can smile and bring up a conversation or joke around with the cashier or whatever, and they may think I'm crazy but its not because I said hello to someone I didn't know...that's expected behavior.

Nevertheless my point is that right or wrong here is a matter of perspective. I think too often people jump to conclusions about what someone's behavior means without really trying to get to know the person and understand them. Personally, I know this (certified to teach on the subject), and so I try to apply it in two ways. 1) "Forgive" others when I think they've wronged me somehow, imagining that they probably didn't know they did anything to hurt me. 2) Work hard to communicate about myself and my intentions so that I'm not misunderstood. Of course, I'm never really fully successful at both 100% of the time.

So I find myself writing about rejection and my natural tendency for extraversion and the behaviors people might see in me that would lead them to think otherwise.

Like I said, sometimes people think I'm shy or quiet or arrogant or think I'm better than others or not interested in you because I tend to keep to myself. (There may be other reasons why you think that too...but I've heard at least these in the past). Something interesting...I'm only like this with larger groups where the people are going to be in my life for a while. With one person, or two people, whether I know them well or not, I'm my normal outgoing talkative self. With my family and closest friends...not really shy or quiet at all. In fact, I can be a bit overbearing at times. With large groups of people I know that I will never see again (conferences, etc.) I am my normal outgoing self, talking to anyone. Its just those groups of people that I don't know well but know that will be in my life for a while (or who I really want to accept me) that I'm quiet. I'm afraid I'll make a bad impression or that I'll say something that didn't come out right or I'll be misunderstood and those people won't like me. Not because of something I meant to do (I typically won't apologize for saying something I feel strongly about)...its not like I mean to apologize for my beliefs or am wishy washy, but because of something I did unintentionally or was misunderstood.

I guess time is the key factor. With family or close friends, you've had time to build a relationship and I'm confident that either I won't be misunderstood because they know me well or that because they know me well they will give me a little grace if I do something wrong because they know my heart. With large groups like conferences or whatever where I won't see people again, I don't worry about it. If they like me great, maybe we'll form a lasting friendship. If they don't, oh well, I'll never see them again anyway. But that middle group is what is hard. With people I don't know well but want them to accept me, I know that anything I do now could leave a lasting impression on them that will ruin my chance of being friends with them, on accident, because of a misunderstanding and because of the length of the relationship (probably long-term), its important to me to have a good relationship with that person.

So I choose to stay quiet. It is a very intentional thing on my part that goes against what I am naturally. If I was naturally quiet, then it wouldn't be a problem! But, I'm not. I need those conversations and relationships with others. I thrive when I'm in those relationships. Nevertheless, its pretty hard to build those relationships when you sit in a corner and don't talk to anyone because you are afraid you'll make the wrong impression.

My friends, I fear I've made the wrong impression. Don't know why. Don't know what I did. I can promise you that whatever I did I probably didn't mean to and can honestly say I have no idea what it was. Nevertheless, I've gotten the distinct impression recently that I won't fit in with you. I'm not part of the group. I'm an outsider and am not welcome in the inner circle.

I'm not stupid. I can tell when I was intentionally not selected to help with things. I can see when I wasn't invited to bday parties or playdates. I can tell when I'm intentionally excluded from access to a newly restricted blog. I know when I walk into a meeting when I'm wanted and when I'm not. I can tell when people choose not to come to my house but always go to everyone else's. (Of course, I know when these things aren't intentional too...and, more importantly, I try to pretend that none of it is intentional and I'm always playing the devils advocate...maybe they are busy...maybe they are tired...maybe something came up at home...oh God, I hope they didn't get hurt on the way over!....I don't like to be misunderstood so I try not to misunderstand).

I'm not sure what it is. Is it that I'm a working mom? Is it my beliefs on childbirth and parenting? Is it that "quiet" tendency I have? Is it the fact that my husband and I don't have a normal home schedule? Is it the challenges we've faced? Is it that we aren't native Texans? Is it that I take my son with me everywhere I go? What is it? Obviously I have no idea, but after the few incidents that happened over the last few days I'm saddened by it all. I feel rejected and there is nothing I can do about it (other than try to be cheery on my front) because I don't understand it.

Thankfully, I know that I do have a few friends or people who accept me and try to go out of their way to make me feel loved and valued. My family is always there and my husband is wonderful. And, how can you deny the wonderful little guy I have in my son who gets so excited to see me and hang out with me.

So, any feedback would be nice to help me understand.

8 comments:

Suzanne said...

Girl, I am the queen of "people think I'm a stuck up b**ch" when really I'm just shy. I have to really get to know someone to open up. Period.

Raina said...

Marie,

When it comes to playdates and such, I know I am guilty of assuming you're busy. I figure you're at work, and as you said, you guys don't have a normal schedule. I really do enjoy conversations with you, but I take for granted that maybe we should try to plan something. I hope you'll forgive the oversight. As far as resricted blogs, are you absolutely sure the person has your email? And at least one of our blogger friends who restricted access is no longer using that blog for anyone to look at. Maybe that part is a misunderstanding. We all feel like we're being a little left out sometimes, and it sounds like you have a lot of good reasons. Maybe we all just need a kick in the pants to not overlook you just because you're busy!

Mandi said...

To both Mie and Suz, I feel like I've gotten to know both of you worlds better through your respective blogs. But when I try to talk to y'all I feel like a fumbling goon. Sometimes I wish I could just take my laptop with me and type things to people, instead of actually having to form real sentences that make sense. I'm sorry if I've come across disinterested in either of you; it happens to be quite the opposite.

The Duece Crew said...

Boy is that how I feel sometimes. I know I have felt like that at church a lot, like I did something wrong or bcuz I talk too much people don't like me....I wish I didn't talk too much either. But when a stay at home mom gets around other adults, it's "blah blah blah". I think sometimes it just that not everyone "clicks" with everyone. At least I hope that's what it is. We have to realize that not everyone is going to be our best friend, and some people have more close friends than others. And after all of that we can only be ourselves.
Marie, you're a great person, friendly, I love ya, and completely understand where you're coming from.

Mie said...

Wow L- I would have never guessed you felt that way at all. You're one that I admire with how well you speak your mind and yet still have built so many relationships with people. Or so it seems from my vantage point. I'm going to post a follow-up blog to this one whenever I have the time to sit down and do it. Something along the lines of...I'm ok everyone...just needed to vent...more thoughts...yadda yadda yadda.

Monkey Momma said...

There are playdates? I never knew. :-)

Some of is probably is that you're a working mom. I get that too. But I don't mind. Even if I got invited, I'd probably have to say no.

I know for me, I understand a lot of what you mentioned, but I've always assumed that it's because I'm pretty outspoken. People don't always know how to handle me. I'm outspoken about my struggles with infertility, with God, with my marriage, my mistakes, my past. I don't have the typical "charmed" life I see at church. I feel like the odd man out often because I'm willing to talk about what most folks want to push under the rug.

Vent away friend...I love getting to read more into your heart here on the blog though. I feel closer to you because of it.

A

Leslie said...

LOL at Mandi. I kind of feel that way, but I wish I could intake whatever is said, have three days to think about it and then type out my reponse. But gee, that's not very helpful for builing a friendship, right?

I feel alot like you with much of what you said. I am and have always been pretty shy.

Good for you for putting your feelings out there. I've kept up with you while we've been gone and have really enjoyed "getting to know" the real Marie! Now that we're back, it has to be for real.

BTW, I love your new hair! Well, it may not really be new but it was new to me. I totally did not even recognize you last week at church until just as we were passing you. Love it!

Anonymous said...

Marie,

Just do what dad and I do and say "screw them all"!!! Life is good that way. If you had more of an uncaring attitude like me you wouldn't have to take time out of your busy schedule to worry about this. Like you used to tell me "yeah, like I have time"