People Like Me, and I Don't Understand

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Theodore Rosenberg, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. Theodore Rosenberg

    Theodore Rosenberg RockPaperTheo

    So, this feels like the weirdest thing to complain about, or to ask for input about

    Idk if it's just absolutely debilitating impostor syndrome, which seems more and more likely as i say it, but I have a tendency to attract people to me, and I don't understand why, especially wee geeky sperglings and queerchilds who were once like me. I don't know if it's just because I'm patient with them, or because I share interests that they feel like few others share, or that I seem knowledgeable (somehow) about subjects or what they're going through. I try to be as compassionate as I can towards people, and I have a considerable amount of patience for misunderstandings and miscommunications, and I feel like I'm just doing the bare minimum of how I think a person should act towards other people, and for some reason all the sudden I have five people pinging me on discord all the time and it drives me towards mental overload.

    Like, I don't mind talking to them! But it's hard for me to communicate that I'm kind of a hermit and that prolonged, unceasing social interaction takes a brillo pad to my brain and scratches at my brainmeats furiously.

    I don't know how else to describe it, and it feels really weird as thing to even say is an issue, but I just don't understand why people like me so much - which, now that I've typed it, my first instinct was to follow up with "when it's so difficult for me to even like myself." Things are seeming more Impostor Syndrome-y with a healthy dose of depression and poor self image.

    BluhhhhHHHHHH?!!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!? i might follow this up trying to clarify the emotions i'm feeling, i'm sorry
    • Witnessed x 5
  2. paladinkit

    paladinkit brave little paladin

    I hope it's OK to chime in before you've had time to clarify. Some of your background reasoning does sound a little imposter-syndrome-flavored, but it is totally reasonable to not have the ability or spoons to be a primary mentor to a little flock of sperglings/queerchilds! Honestly, as someone who's been on both sides of that dynamic, it's really really healthy for the older person involved to make their limits clear and set boundaries for the amount of availability & energy they have. You might be able to do more if you weren't depressed, or if you were in less of a Hermit Mode, but trying to force it is not only going to hurt you, but will set a bad example for the people you're trying to help.
    • Agree x 5
    • Informative x 1
  3. paladinkit

    paladinkit brave little paladin

    Basically there are ways to be Good and Mentor-like while also taking care of your depressed hermit self - I know it would be helpful of me if I had specific examples, but I'm not braining the best rn, so I can try to come back to this later.
    • Agree x 2
    • Informative x 1
  4. Mercury

    Mercury 17 Quicksilver Scribe Tramples The Unrepentant

    I agree with @paladinkit - you sound like you've got some imposter syndrome going on but your self-preservation instincts also seem to be kicking in. That's good! Boundaries are good.

    I know from personal experience enforcing those boundaries can sometimes lead to guilt, but the guilt is... misplaced, I guess? You can't jump to the entertainment/soothing of every young person who looks up to you at every moment, and it's good for them to not have you at their beck and call. It's okay if, say, someone is really upset about something and you've done what you can to let them know that their frustration is acknowledged and you gently nope out with a "I know this is really frustrating for you, I hope you feel better soon! Take care of yourself!" and resist any attempts to pull you back into the conversation.
    • Agree x 2
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  5. Mercury

    Mercury 17 Quicksilver Scribe Tramples The Unrepentant

    ... Which is all kind of disjointed, sorry. Anyway, the tl;dr is that it's okay to keep people at arm's length and be a little distant even if they really, really like you or really, really look up to you.
    • Agree x 2
    • Informative x 1
  6. Theodore Rosenberg

    Theodore Rosenberg RockPaperTheo

    I don't know how if tagging is a thing on the board, but both y'all really put some good soothing words/concepts into your short replies. I realize that I'm really bad at setting - or at least, enforcing - boundaries, and that's something I have to work on for sure, especially in the case of one of the kids who seems to have taken a liking to me. I had made sure to kind of establish that I was otherwise busy with my life, but he starts, like, message spamming me? Because he's lonely and having a hard time dealing with the parting-of-ways with friends that always happens just after you graduate highschool, and judging by the context of some of what he's said between voice chat and discord, I'm one of the few people who hasn't been super dismissive of him and his emotions/experiences? So I feel super guilty when it's obvious that he has zero coping mechanisms and is trying to reach out to someone who seems to understand what he's going through, but it's really frustrating when he doesn't seem to understand that I'm trying to do my own things. I reassure him every time I explain issues with his conduct or behavior in the discord community we're both in that I'm not trying to talk down to him, but I don't know what else to do to make sure it's clear that I'm willing to be his friend, but also need to have my boundaries respected.

    Also, this is beginning to put a lot of my own online behavior and conduct from years ago into perspective, and hoo boy is it one doozy of a paradigm shift.

    (Also, I think part of my issue with maintaining boundaries is my near-perpetual online existence, and the obligation I feel to immediately respond or acknowledge instant messages. Maybe my first step to managing this would be to sign off my instant messaging services while I'm not actively intending to use them.)
    • Like x 3
  7. Theodore Rosenberg

    Theodore Rosenberg RockPaperTheo

    Also, in my stress-fogged brain, I realize that I actually have no idea how to further clarify what I was trying to say in my first post. I'm currently in the process of packing to move to Australia from Michigan, and everything seems to kind of exist in a very narrow span of time. My brain has been ejecting non-essential information at a faster rate than usual.
    • Witnessed x 1
  8. paladinkit

    paladinkit brave little paladin

    Either quoting a post they made or typing @username sends a notification to that user!

    Enforcing boundaries with people you're trying to help is, like, Boundaries 202 level stuff at minimum. I've been trying to work on it for years. Especially in cases like this-

    -what's really been working for me has been selective use of logging out, muting tools, and pre-emptive scripts along the lines of "I really want to support you/be there for you, but that doesn't mean I'm always going to be immediately available. I promise I will always get back to you even if it takes me a while." I have more than one friend who I've got set on a muted or no-push-notifications type setting on the various communications apps they use, and they know that I just check in when I know I'll have the spoons to really be there for them but they can leave me messages whenever they like.
    • Like x 1
    • Useful x 1
  9. Theodore Rosenberg

    Theodore Rosenberg RockPaperTheo

    Establishing clear boundaries and sticking to them, even in the two days since posting this, has actually done a LOT to help me. Also, once I explained myself more clearly, the one I'd been having the most issues with Understood™, and it turns out that because I hadn't been as honest about my boundaries initially, we had both misunderstood what I was communicating.

    Thanks, most radical homeslices.
    • Winner x 7
    • Like x 1
  10. jacktrash

    jacktrash absentee sperglord

    as for why you attract people: you're interested in them. that's all it takes, honestly. when you genuinely like people and are curious about their experiences, and listen to what they say, they tend to like you. the 'problem' is that on social media there are a lot of young folks who are lonely and awkward enough that when they find someone who actually listens to them, they kind of grab on and treat you like a lifeline. and that's a lot of responsibility to suddenly get dumped in your lap when all you were expecting was conversation.

    you aren't obligated to be that lifeline. in fact, if you don't have the spoons for it, you shouldn't be. keep in mind that you're not the only compassionate and friendly person on the internet. they won't go spinning off into space if you let go for a bit.

    also, turn off notifications on spammy chats. so important.
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