How do people tend to perceive you, versus how you perceive yourself?
A different version of ourselves lies in the minds of the people around us.
Who is that person? How do you feel about him, and how are you different?
[repost as the previous title had a typo]
The people in my immediate vicinity - relatives & co - still seem to think I'm a man, even those I came out to. It makes for some very awkward and irritating interactions, because that person never quite existed, and has been dissolving for years in any case.
They have been casting me as the "smart one", too, and that - having one's identity bound up in one's smarts bound up in one's achievements - certainly did not help when I ended up dropping out.
A frankly excessive number of people has put me on a pedestal for I'm not quite sure what reason, and it just makes me uncomfortable. Others seem to be under the impression that I'll bite people's heads off at the drop of an hat, but all my headbiting and escalating is very deliberate, and aimed at reducing the overall amount of chewing I have to do. Some think that I'm always joking, or always serious, and neither is actually true - even if my humour does tend towards dryness and a deadpan delivery.
Perceived-me and me-me diverge quite a bit, more often than not because people can't be arsed to actually listen to what I say. It's very annoying, and I have been waiting for the social interaction minigame to be patched for a very long time.
I relate to this. Coming out to my family was weird because I basically had to be like "hey you know this person you've known me as for 20 years? It was all a trick. I lied to you. You got tricked by a child and continued to get tricked until just now, two decades after we met when I was born." It's almost an insult to their intelligence.
I didn't understand this is how they'd feel when I first came out. When I came out to my mom and started explaining my perspective of my childhood to her and my discomfort based on my gender, she felt like I was attacking her and got defensive. She screamed "I'm a good mother!" at me, as if I was accusing her otherwise. This was a few weeks ago and I tried to avoid talking to her about that again.
Then last night I was feeling really upset and ended up talking to her again. She said she reacted that way because she always thought she was very perceptive and she felt like a bad parent for missing something so big about me. She took pride in knowing everything about her kids, and was upset by the fact that she was so fundamentally wrong about who I was. So when I started talking about all these feelings I hid from her as a kid, she felt bad for not recognizing them. Once I figured out how she was feeling I was better able to reassure her that I don't blame her for not realizing I was trans. I hid it super well. I don't know why I felt I needed to hide it, it just always felt like a secret I had to keep at all costs, until I suppressed it so hard I literally forgot about it as a teenager.
Mine have just been ignoring the whole thing for the last... three years, now, and it honestly suits me just fine. When they tried to "talk" about it the only thing they ever did was ignoring what I was saying - or dismissing it as my "being too clever", "being too sure of myself" - to try to scare me away from pursuing HRT.
I'm not even sure why I expected better from them - even just getting myself heard about things as trivial as not wanting cheese on pasta, or wanting to wear long sleeves in summer, have been a struggle growing up, so why should it have been different for my gender?
My dad recently told me he cried about it because he "didn't see it in [me] as a kid." I didn't even see him cry at his own moms funeral. He thinks I just read an article and decided to be trans. I don't know what to do about that.
I have damn near no idea.
I'm blind that way. I can be – envision myself and act upon the idea of – a lot of things, but I'm not that sharp on how people see me, generally and in particular for each person.
I know most people see me as smart and knowledgeable. Most people think I'm good with electronics. It isn't something I knew for a fact until a diverse group of people confirmed it via their interactions with me. It helps that I have a natural inclination of showing them so as much as I can, but in my head, the intention never collided with the perception.
Most people who'd commented on that part considered me some shade of "serious", one even going as far as calling me "uptight" – something I don't object to. Nobody commented on the sense of humor I think I have; I do notice that I can make people laugh from time to time, and it's a good, genuine laugh, not a cheap chuckle.
Beyond that, it's guesswork.
Complete opposite here. I am very good at reading people and their reactions. Even their body language is easy for me to pick up on, so I know straight away if I've annoyed someone or made them feel uncomfortable. It's actually a complete ballache for me. It makes me want to try and please everyone and not be myself most of the time and I hate it.
I waffle between being super-perceptive and hyper self-aware to completely ignorant and blasé when dealing with people. I think it comes down to my level of need for the immediate social interaction and what I want out of it. With my wife, I'm pretty tuned in to her social queues and it can be a roller coaster if she's had a bad day. With my employees, I tend to be clueless since... well.. I don't need them to like me or put up with me 24x7 like my Wife does.
This is one of the issues I have with the human side of things. I work okay with things, because things generally work in well-defined ways that can be followed interdisciplinarially. Humans?
You know how autistic people often say they were blind to the rules of the game that their neurotypical peers seemed to be intuitively aware of? You know how those autistic people had to learn the rules?
I had to learn the rules. Observe, make notes, compose theories, act upon those theories, correct myself when proven wrong (i.e., not getting the reaction expected – either it's a deeper layer of connections, or I chose the wrong field altogether)... I'm observant, so with time and experience I'm getting half-decent at it, but initially? The school years were riding fast in a slow lane: full of anxiety, uncertainty, and loneliness because I couldn't connect. (Didn't help that most of my classmates had more general ideas about life, and I was more into the big things, like making society better.)
The more I learn about body language, and the more I look into the details when interacting with people, the clearer the picture gets. "Oh, you're not really into this topic". "Oh, you're upset". "Oh, you're tired and don't really want to talk to anyone". Most of those, at the moment, I see in retrospect, when I think, time and time again, why this or that particular interaction didn't work out that well. At the moment, I may be oblivious and probably seem aloof, or inconsiderate, or naïve.
My nickname in elementary school was "the professor". I think I became way less of a geek in the last 5-6 years (and waayy less introverted asocial negative depressive angry adolescent, good riddance that was), but people still think of me as the "professor"---one of my cousins jokingly calls me so every now and then. I think that's because I may look too serious or posh---altho I'm none of those, I tend to be cold and formal before a certain limit of familiarity (which is a very low bar for me, so I can quickly go from Mr. Bean to Bob Marley and that surprises people sometimes) and speak a high-prestige sociolect of my mother tongue, which definitely gives that image (especially in Turkey where I live because there is a culture of excess sincerity and informalism from the get-go among peers).
I don't know what to do with that image. But that's changing too, as a 25yo that's had a shit adolescence, I've come a long way in pulling my shit together and learning to just live, and I've overcome problems like very low confidence and self esteem, and I do think I give out a (very?) positive image. As I noted, the society I live in tends to be very informal among peers, and when I am somewhat formal initially, that might come off as offensive or simply disorienting. IDK if I want to compromise on that tho, I do like having a couple "steps" before I am on totally casual terms with someone.
I think of me as a kid. Inside, I never grow up. I'm a curious kid, deeply hedonistic, partly epicurean. My image of myself is an easygoing, honest person, safe to be around. I feel uncomfortable imagining myself living an adult's life, wearing formal clothes, engaging in "serious" romantic relationships, working full time. Which is probably why I'm trying to land an unconventional career, in the academia, or as a remote worker / freelancer. I've also not had much fun as a kid / teenager, so I do want so spend my time for myself, and I have no plans to settle down and start a family before I'm 40 something. For that reason, I'm trying to break that serious, cold look; which is an idea I don't like anyways.
IDK what sort of image the above paragraphs give out of myself. Well, I'm in the process of really discovering myself anyways, so maybe it's okay my words and my conception of myself is kinda vague.
I stopped caring years ago.
Some people think I'm a happy funny person. Some people think I am going to cause the country to collapse. Others think I'm more clever than they could ever hope to be. A lot of people see I am fat and leave it at that. The overwhelming majority of people I come across simply couldn't care less about me.
For the most part, I am the person I want to be. And that's all that really matters. There are things that I could improve, and I work on those continuously. I live to enrich my mind and spirit.
In the last 2-3 years I’ve changed a lot. Before that I was timid and very nice to everybody, afraid to ruffle feathers. After a breakup I started to go through a lot of changes. Started to take my life in the direction I wanted. I’m now directing my own short film when I used to be afraid of asking anyone to help me do anything.
But I’ve noticed the people I don’t see a lot still see me as the person I used to be. They say things to me as if they think they know me but they don’t. I find it strange how they assume they know what I’ll say or do when they haven’t seen me in a while.
There are also various levels in which people know me. My closest friends think I’m a goofball and depressed but I’m honest with them probably to a fault and also love being a goofball with them.
Co workers probably see me as good at my job, smart, social and outgoing but sometimes awkward. I freelance around so don’t hang with the same crew at the office every week. It can be hard sometimes coming in as an outsider. The small office cliques are hard to break into sometimes.
People who I meet now are mostly impressed I think. I’ve become good at presenting a good image of myself. I’m honest about who I am but in a way that doesn’t put me down as I used to do.
What I’ve realized is who gives a fuck what other people think. As long as I know what I want I have something to focus on. If you’re too worried about what others think you need to find a better goal for yourself. Being well liked is not a goal in and of itself. You need a mission that will fulfill you.
I tend to think I'm not an asshole. And people perceive the opposite.
Lol but seriously, being in Los Angeles I don't fit very well into any of the social cues that occur around here. I was raised on George Carlin and Christopher Hitchens which makes me both forward thinking but also sort of moderate or centrist on many things. And very open about it, which LA people hate. LA people lie about things to create an impressive image and that's why so many of these fuckin wealthy white people here talk like they support all these progressive ideals but pay for their kids to get into good universities and are really just selfish assholes. Carlin taught me this a LONG time ago.
Couldn't really tell you to be honest. I'm a very high-energy person, I run at about a 9-10 all day and into the evening. Very rarely am I subdued, except when I'm sick or depressed. My friends do see a slightly different side of me than my family, boss, etc. Everyone pretty much knows me to be that way, though, and I feel like I'm getting pretty consistent with who I am.
I was really upset to hear that I come across as intimidating to others. I had no idea.
I'm a fairly big guy - 6'2 / 200lbs - but I've never consciously been aggressive or imposing to anyone. I am pretty quiet and mostly keep to myself. I don't feel a need to run the debug mode of my brain for anyone in earshot all day at work.
I suppose I was always loosely aware that I found it fairly difficult to make friends with strangers but never really figured out why, and so eventually stopped wondering.
The revelation came when someone I used to work with told me that I was actually really nice to talk to. When I asked what was meant by that the clarification was that I look scary and that they were worried I'd be really aggressive/like a jock.
I was always thought to be - by relatives, anyway - a man hater, animal lover, quiet, artistic, and creative. With others, I was looked upon as a shy, friendless, introverted, yet intelligent. I'm actually a combo of these qualities, though I don't consider myself a man hater (I am feminist to a certain extent, however). Also, I am really not as shy or quiet as mistaken for (though I probably really was as a child). I can be rather feisty and I don't care to take any crap off of people. I used to be very timid but I shook that off during my twenties.