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DISCLAIMER: This is yet another long, rambly post from me. If anyone who knows me in real life is reading this, I am most likely not talking about you. But if the shoe fits, well…..
I have a terrible social habit. Whenever I’m around people I am not familiar with, be it a stranger or an acquaintance, I always tend to “act out”. I become loud, hyper and talkative around them, hoping that the atmosphere would become less awkward for both parties, and also perhaps hoping that by putting myself “out there” and making myself “seem like an open book” and “more vulnerable”, they’d be less afraid and open up themselves up to me as well.
Since young, I have often been bullied and treated like an outcast for being too shy and quiet during class participations. I was also never the outstanding student with terrific sports genes, talents nor results, which made me an even easier target for bullying and/or being overlooked. Heck, a doctor once advised my mother to bring me to check ups on whether I was suffering from any learning or social disability! Whenever I was lucky enough to make a couple of friends here and there, I would often become too eager to please and take their comments way too seriously and often tries to fulfill and give into whatever request they may have of me. My family members soon found out about my social life and cautioned me about the friends I make, as they find my friends to be too demanding. As I was still rather dependent on my family, I was influenced by their opinions and began to see my friends in a different light. In short, these friendships did not last very long.
As I was growing up, I noticed that the peers around me who participated actively in class activities and the talkative ones often get the attention and generally get around with others easily. While I do not crave for attention, I do like the idea of having friends. Once I have graduated from my primary(or elementary for some of you) school, I decided I should do a 180 degree change on myself once I entered secondary school. I was determined to make friends and to come out of my own shell.
This is when I developed that strange habit I had mentioned earlier in my first paragraph. I started to give my own opinions in class, I started to crack jokes, Came up with silly antics and approach anyone and everyone. I participated in my ECA actively and even became the president for 2 years as the teacher in charge took notice of me. This habit proved to work as I began to make friends. I was happy to be able to make friends and even assumed this “persona” which I thought it had so cleverly hid my own insecurities and vulnerability from others. However, I soon realised this habit of mine has backfired when I began to hear nasty gossips about me from various schoolmates, even from the people who I thought were my friends. They began to think there was something legitimately wrong with me and made fun of my behavior. They began to expect more crazy antics from me so that they could laugh at me. Some of my friends started to despise my behavior and isolated themselves from me. Some of my friends pointed my every single flaw they can find with each and every chance they get, wanting me to “tone down my behavior” in the form of defense that they are trying to “protect me” and not want me to become “a laughing stock for others”, when in reality they were simply trying to protect their own ego and not want to be laughed at for being friends with someone so “crazy and weird” like me.
Afraid of becoming the loner like I was in primary school, I listened to them. I stopped being loud and hyperactive. Gradually, people soon started to leave me alone, the gossips have lessened as well. However, my self esteem has sunken to a new form of low. I no longer trust the people who I thought I was once close to or was on good terms with. I distanced myself from them. After months of self reflection and soul searching, I have realised there are so many “friends” of mine who I can’t really connect with. I realised some of them are even toxic for me. I began to block contacts on my phone, as well as on my social network platforms, not wanting to even keep in touch with them. Months after graduating from my secondary school, I am relieved to be away from them(minus a few dear friends that stuck with me through thick and thin though these 4 secondary school years, you guys rock by the way), I do not want to face any of them nor do I miss them. Through this experience, I have become someone who is overly sensitive to every single detail, someone who is unsure of who is a friend or foe, and someone who is extremely extremely vulnerable.
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