Do I Look Like a Bitch to You?

I’m not a bitch. Really.

But a few friends told me before they knew me, they thought I was a bitch. I wouldn’t say hi or smile when I passed by. I guess I really do have “resting bitch face.”

Now my friends know that I would rather eat worms marinated in sewage sludge than have someone dislike me. Too much of my self-worth comes from how others see me.

As much as I strive to make others happy, I struggle to begin friendships. Is there some sort of friendship manual that tell me exactly when a relationship has moved from acquaintanceship to friendship? Can people wear signs over their shirts that read, “Go ahead…say hi to me!” so I know I will be acknowledged for my greeting? At what point do I stop ignoring a person’s existence?

Sometimes, I would rather just put my head down and watch my shoes hit the pavement than make eye contact with someone. I momentarily panic trying to decide whether to smile and wave. Then I end up doing a half-grin and timid hand-raise that the person reads as a convulsion rather than a hello. At least that’s better than the devastating embarrassment of visibly saying hi and getting ignored, and the whole world watching it happen!

greeting-pic
 Prepare to feel uncomfortable: the infamous half-grin, timid hand-raise.

 

Ever since Myers-Briggs told me I am an INFJ, I’ve begun to accept that I can protect myself from social discomfort. I would much rather keep to myself than engage in a conversation with someone I don’t know that well. I mentally exhaust myself trying to come up with what to say next. So I stopped pushing myself to please others. Hence, I’m labelled a bitch.

I read an essay from KJ Dell’Antonia for The New York Times titled “Am I Introverted, or Just Rude?” It made me question whether I avoid others for my health and sanity, or whether I’ve just gotten lazy.

In the essay, Dell’Antonia tells how he went against his introversion because he had to.

“I came to the party. I made the small talk. And because I was raised in a world where manners mattered, I did more,” he said. “I introduced myself to strangers. I approached the lone older family member at the wedding for a talk about the bride. I was a good guest, and when necessary a good host. I did my mother proud.”

He said when Susan Cain’s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” came out, society began to accept introversion, and therefore, so did he. Dell’Antonia began skipping work fund-raisers and leaving school functions before anyone could talk to him. He even stayed in his car to read while his children “attended a family-oriented athletic function.” He became “rude.” And, he concluded, self-care becomes selfishness when we care more about our needs than the needs of others.

So now I’m stuck. For most of my life I pushed myself to talk to people to make them happy, but I felt uncomfortable. Then I discovered I felt uncomfortable because I’m an introvert, and society now says it’s okay to be an introvert. As Dell’Antonia says, people now consider an introvert “a deep thinker with a rich inner life.” So I avoid situations that give me discomfort. I ignore texts when I don’t feel like talking to someone. I stay in on the weekends when I need quiet. When I’m surrounded by too many people I get cranky.

But people don’t know I’m an introvert until they get to know me. Until then, they just think I’m a bitch.

So at what point am I just using my introversion as an excuse to avoid people? That’s something I still have to figure out.

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6 thoughts on “Do I Look Like a Bitch to You?

  1. I have also experienced misperceptions about my personality because of my behavior. Most people, when they see someone in public they know, make themselves known and greet the acquaintance. I find it especially hard to be social when I see someone out of context, like seeing someone in a grocery store that I knew vaguely from a school or office. So I tend to avoid them. I’m sure if they noticed me avoiding them, they were offended. I wouldn’t say I use the introversion label as an excuse but rather an explanation for my behavior, but I do feel compelled to make an effort to be social because I don’t expect people to understand. Sometimes, it takes a conscious effort.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I completely agree. For me, it’s really uncomfortable to talk to a classmate in the grocery store or something like that. I’ve ducked into a different aisle and hid from people before! And I agree, when people don’t understand introversion they just see an action like that as being rude, so you have to be conscious of it and sometimes go out of your comfort zone for the sake of others. I suppose it’s all a balance. Thank you so much for your read and comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As a fellow INFJ (yaaay you’re the first one I meet) and ‘resting bitch face’ girl, I can totally relate with everything you wrote here! It is a struggle to be an introvert in a world that still doesn’t quite understand us, but I stopped trying to change my personality to fit the rules of society. Yes, I try to be social when required, but I do the minimum, otherwise I feel fake and awkward. To be honest, there are days when I feel almost ashamed of my introversion but then I try to focus on all the positive things that come with being an introvert: deeper conversations, loyal friends, etc. It’s ok to avoid people and if they think we’re a bitch, well it’s too bad for them because they’re missing a great opportunity to get to know a fantastic person. Overall, I think it all comes down to learning to accept who we are, and to stop feeling the need to justify ourselves to people who may not understand us, which is really not an easy thing to do. We’re on this journey together! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so right about all of this! If people are going to judge us and think we are mean, that’s their own fault for not taking the time to actually get to know us. I feel fake and weird when I try to be too social as well…I’m always nice, but I usually won’t approach someone first. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that; there are enough extraverts in the world completely comfortable with starting conversations with people! There are so many positives to being an introvert like the ones that you mentioned. Thank you so much, I’m so glad to meet a fellow INFJ!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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