I'm a newbie

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-26-2007
I'm a newbie
12
Wed, 04-15-2009 - 1:31pm

I all

I believe it's the first time I'm posting on this board. I was just wondering how you all handle being around people who intimidate you?

I tend to get nervous and quiet around people who are smarter than I am, more knowledgeable, more successful...etc. It also really depends on their personalities and whether or not I feel I can relate or "click" with them. I feel as though I can't be myself...maybe b/c a part of me actually believes that I am on a "lower level" than they are, like I'm not as good as they are.

I really hate feeling this way. I observe other people and I notice that they clearly don't have the same problem as I do. It makes me wonder where we get our personalities from, and why we act the way we do.

Any thoughts, comments, suggestions? It would be appreciated. Thanks.

~Jennifer

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2009
Wed, 04-15-2009 - 8:40pm

Jennifer,

Welcome to the group. I hope you find what you need here. There are quite a few very supportive folks here.

You say you easily feel intimidated around certain people. I'm not sure what to tell you other than to relate some of my own experiences. I used to feel that way a LOT more. But the longer I live, and the more people I get to know, the more I realize that we all have our "opportunities for growth"....LOL..... Even people who seem very well put together don't necessarily really have it "all put together". It is oftentimes nothing more than a front. Don't get me wrong. I personally like to appear all put together because it helps me enjoy my life and who I am, but I don't for a second think that I'm without my problems. As they say, you can't judge a book by it's cover. I have met so many people who really seem to have it all, and I could know them for years, and then you find out some deep dark secret that just blows you away. Or I've known people that just really seem disheveled and out of sorts, but they can turn out to be the best friend in the world.

I'm not sure what kinds of opportunities you have to get to know these people in particular that you are talking about. But what about it? Do you have the opportunity to actually TRY to get closer to them? Ask them questions about their lives, get to know them, etc. Usually when you do that, you find out they are just as human as you.

mtokes

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2006
Thu, 04-16-2009 - 9:23am

are you sure that others don't feel the same way that you do? i think everybody feels insecure or not as good as everyone else at some point in their lives. and i do agree with mtokes that sometimes when someone seems smarter/more successful/more knowledgeable than you then it's just a front. my coworkers are all guys and they all try to outsmart and intimidate each other (but i know the truth, lol).


when you're feeling intimidated by someone, stop and ask yourself exactly why you feel that way. and then figure out what you could do so that you don't feel that way again. a lot of times (for me, anyway) it's a knee-jerk reaction - if someone sounds like they know what they're talking about, then i feel dumb. but chances are that they've just studied the subject a lot more and that's nothing that i couldn't do myself.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2008
Mon, 04-20-2009 - 10:45am

Welcome to the board!

I do not think your problem is all that rare, in fact except for people who are extremely egotistical or arrogant, I believe everyone has moments where they feel like they are less than someone else. Even people who are egotistical or arrogant will become defensive if they are just starting to feel that way. It is really strange though, we do not compare apples and oranges though they are both fruit, but we like to compare people as if we are all the same - though clearly we are not.

This is going to sound strange, but I work in a lab with rewnewable energy. I know I often get thought of as the people you are taking about, the ones who are "people who are smarter... more knowledgeable, more successful." My friends, few of which are in the same field, have commented on this, and I have seen others reactions. "Oh, you are really smart and out of my legue conversation wise." is the general thing that comes across to me. This makes me really sad, because the truth is, I am horrible with words, not so great with grammer, and I have little artistic ablity, and can't understand directions (North South, etc) to save my life! Trust me, we all have faults. My favorite person to talk to at my work is the janitor, because while he doesn't understand what I am doing at all, and I have no idea how to take a stain off the tile, we both can converse over a never-ending range of topics it seems.

Sometimes it is true, we just don't click with other people, with all the personalities there are, it would be very difficult for someone to get along with everyone. Actually, I'm starting to think it is impossible. But don't judge yourself on some sort of grading scale compared to others. There's too many varibles and too many differences to count. In dog shows, they judge a dog based on it's own specific breed, not compared to the other dogs around it. We are each our own breed, there is no one else like us in the world - well I haven't seen a copy of my self running around as of late anyway. So keep your chin up, and remember, most likely, you can do something they can't, just like they can do something you cant... lucky enough, we can all learn!

As for not seeing this problem in others... they probably are just not wanting to admit openingly, that yes, you make them feel vunerable from time to time because they see what you have and how you are, and realize they don't know how to get the same, or do the same and thus they feel inadiquite compared to you. But ya know, if we all work together, we can eventually get the best of all worlds as a group. And I think that is much better than having a perfect person running around anyway.

~ Rain
~ Rain   
       
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-26-2007
Mon, 04-20-2009 - 12:33pm

Thanks for your reply, I really enjoyed reading the specific examples that you gave.

I'm only 21 years old, but I've been thinking a lot about this during the past years...and I think one of the primary reasons why I have low self esteem is because I don't have any close friends. I am 21, and in college for crying out loud...and I am friendless. I have more acquaintances. I don't go out and socialize, but that's not to say I haven't tried. There have been many times in the past where I have gone out with people to socialize, and all I end up doing is looking at the clock to see if it's time to leave, b/c I usually can't wait to go home. I try to keep an open mind though.

I don't make friends easily. I don't think it's me, I simply believe that I just don't "click" with that many people. It's a personality thing I guess. My friends from college and I grew apart just last year. I am closer to some friends from high school, but again...we are not that close. I would say my best friend that I made in college is this older woman. She works on campus, is in her 40's, and I love her...but we don't have that much in common. I am 21, she is married with kids...etc. Months ago I turned to meeting people on the internet, just to have interactions with other people. I ended up meeting a nice guy and we met in person and have been dating. So I have him in my life now, but he's not exactly a friend...he's a guy I'm attracted to.

I consider myself lucky b/c of the fact that until now, I have always had at least one best friend since preschool, but all the friends I was close to, we just grew apart...which is understandable, I know it happens.

I do like going out, I enjoy traveling, road trips, visiting the city, eating out, seeing shows...etc. I'm not one of those college kids who enjoys drinking, staying out until early hours of the morning...etc. I also like staying home too, so I feel that I am well rounded in that aspect. I just have a hard time finding people to do all of this fun stuff with! I am very close to my parents, and I don't mind spending time with them...but at 21, I want to spend a lot of time with friends, and boyfriends, and people other than Mom and Dad. I spend most of my time with them, and sometimes that gets me down b/c I know at my age especially, I should be going out with girlfriends, laughing, having fun, and making good memories.

This is mainly a vent, but I wanted you to get a good picture as to what my life looks like at the moment.

I heard of these sites where you can meet friends online, do any of you know anything about them?

P.S. As for my first post, where I talked about feeling intimidated by certain others...it's really not that bad, I know everybody has problems one way or another, and that I am successful in ways that they aren't.

Thanks for reading my sob story :)
Jennifer

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2008
Tue, 04-21-2009 - 11:06am

Well, I have two main thoughts.


The first might sound silly, but do you really want more friends and/or more people around you than you have now? Some people love having people around them, and need such networks, while others are much more content to having only one or two friends and then just aquantances. While I do think it's great to have a network of people (and research agrees with me) there is always exceptions, and people whose personalities make them happiest just being by themselves with a few specific people as their support group.

~ Rain   
       
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-26-2007
Tue, 04-21-2009 - 12:47pm

Wow, you sound so mature for 20! Haha, I was surprised when you told me that because I had it in my head that you were so much older than me. Well good for you! I am also a science major by the way. :)

You were correct in your first paragraph. I don't enjoy going out in large groups. I enjoy having a few close friends by my side. I know there's nothing wrong with that, I'm just lacking those few close friends right now! I'm sure they'll come in time. I must be going through a dry spell right now. :)

Thanks for your reply

Jen

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2008
Wed, 04-22-2009 - 12:11pm

I'm glad you are sounding alot better from your first post. I am positive you will find people to connect with. Don't push it and go with the flow - besides you could always use this as some quanity "me" time and do something or work on something you always wanted to!

~ Rain   
       
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2006
Thu, 04-23-2009 - 9:22am

i misinterpreted your original post (about being intimidated by others), but now i understand where you're coming from. sorry if my first reply was a little off track.


i think rain has given you some really, really good advice,

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-26-2007
Thu, 04-23-2009 - 2:14pm

Hey there happy pants :)

No problem about the misinterpretation.

I don't work during the school year, but I will start working soon since school is almost over. I do office work, and I have met one really great girl, the only thing is...I don't know if she'll be back this year! :( Anywho, the other women I work with are great, but they are gossip queens, and we really aren't the type to hang out outside of work. We have the typical "office gossip" that goes around. It's pretty lame, but I still enjoy my job.

P.S. Just a little story regarding my first post...one person I am...or was...intimidated by was one of my professors. He is young (29-30 years old), has a phD, is a genius, pretty arrogant but nice, plus he is kinda cute...so I would get very nervous around him. Well anyway, a friend of mine in class is one of those loud girls who talks a mile a minute, and says the word "like" too often in sentences. Haha, we are so different, but we get along, and she is very cute. I don't find her obnoxious. Well anyway, my point is...she doesn't care at all what people think about her, she will act her usual self no matter who she's around, no matter whether people like her or not. I admire her for that, and I feel she's a good influence on me if I'm going to try and change. I feel like I have to put on an act when I'm around some people...and I'm trying to get out of that habit. Well anyway, on two separate occasions, I went to see this professor (I usually try to avoid him) and I forced myself to be myself...and I felt my confidence build up inside me. It's a great feeling. So I am trying to overcome that unnecessary habit of mine.

I just thought I'd share!

Jennifer

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2007
Sun, 04-26-2009 - 8:39am

Hey Jen,

I'm much the same when it comes to being easily intimidated. I'm talkative in my (admittedly small) circle of friends because I feel like I am on the same level intellectually as them. It never fails though, my best example is at school, to totally clam up around my professors.

My favorite professor (who, I believe, doesn't have a PhD) is disgustingly intelligent but ridiculously kind and approachable. Despite his attempts to get me to open up, asking about my thoughts and beliefs and politics..also making fun of my baseball team of choice I continually clam up. Maybe it's because he's cute, but I'm much more intimidated by intelligence than looks. I just don't want him to think I'm unintelligent...although I'm doing pretty well in his class. Man, I'm messed up.

Anyways, when I'm around people who intimidate me I usually try not to fall into the trap of trying to impress them. I feel like it's vital to find common ground so that I'm not running myself into the ground with self doubt.

Other than that, I just sweat it out and feel like I'm gonna throw up. :( I'm not much help.

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