This seems to be a side effect of low self esteem in my experience. When my self esteem went up this pretty much vanished... it was always a random fear in the back of my head that people hated me that didn't even know me.
It's a pretty irrational fear. The people don't even know you, why would they hate you? This is what I told myself when I was resolving this issue within myself. You have to give people a reason to hate you... your existence doesn't make them hate you. Most people won't even care that you exist until you prove to them that they should care... so why should they put out the effort to hate you for no reason?
There's no real reason to feel this way. That's why I stopped doing it. I wish you luck in breaking that mental pattern, all it does is create negativity within you and serves no positive purpose.
There are many points in this thread I relate to, from various posters. My personal experience is irrelevent unless you wish to hear it (as it is similar to others in enough respects that I don't think it needs to be shared), but one practical thing I might suggest:
If or when you do have urges to do something that is in line with who you are - try doing it on occasion. Watch others' reactions to you being yourself. Realise that they are not recoiling in horror, and the positive or negative reactions they may have.
The positive ones can boost your confidence, and the negative ones - you need to figure out if they are reasonable or not. If they aren't (many fall under this category), you need to learn that they don't matter. Honestly. Obviously if your boss' eyes are widening at a comment you made about his wife, take a step back and say "Holy hell, I'm sorry."
...but in general, those little steps to raise your comfort level and slowly disintegrate the feeling of social anxiety are important. The negativity or disapproval of others will always be there in certain situations*, but less so if you pick awesome people to be around.
*Example: almost any discussion involving religion or politics - anywhere. Ever.
I am not suffering from it to a very high degree, but I know / knew the feeling aswell. To me it was interpretating the worst abilities I could have into myself and others could have picked up on first glance. I was left with a feeling of insecurity towards the other person and then showed insecurity, which resulted in the other person being suspicious about me or not knowing what to do with me, resulting in my feelings growing worse.
When I learnt that other people see the world exactly like I do and have no powers to see my innerself on a first meeting like I have no power to see theirs, this feeling of insecurity dissolved over the years. It happened thru me learning to feel and know that others are exactly the same like I am, when they meet new people.
"How dreadful!" cried Lord Henry. "I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect." ~ Oscar Wilde - The picture of Dorian Gray
I once received great and of course, honest, insight from an NTJ...
If you listen to people, always looking for a way to connect and sympathize with them, you either run the risk of coming off like a nut job, or it makes people intensely uncomfortable to have what they'd like to stay hidden brought out into the open.
If I sense that someone is insecure/sad/worried, making an effort to put them at ease forces them to acknowledge that feeling. Not cool, if they don't want to, or if I'm inaccurate, especially in public. It's especially embarrassing/off-putting if that person is a "t" or introverted.
Could that be coming into play, do you think?
Great thoughts, entropie. It's true: although I can generally accurately guess what sort of mood the person's in, I don't automatically know the why. And they don't know what I'm thinking, either. It's easy for an NF to feel like everyone has access to everyone else's heads, but that really just isn't the case.
rainoneventide, we were born to be friends! I can completely relate to your OP.
I have found, like Jennifer said, that other people are nowhere near as aware of me as I am, and remembering that helps a lot.
Also, sometimes I just have to fake it. The first week of my job at a cafe, I was freaking out over every little mistake and constantly apologizing because I wanted every cup of coffee I served to make the heavens crack open till customers were screaming in delight. The aim of perfecting coffee drinks and making a bright spot in someone's day was great, but my insecurity about my abilities was awful. After a few days of listening to my incessant apologizing, my friend finally said, "I think you'd get more tips if you just start acting more sure of yourself." So I did. I just faked it. I was totally a wreck on the inside, and felt like I sucked at everything, but I pretended I had everything together, and suddenly all my customers were a lot happier.
I still do it a lot in other life situations. I just use my powers of imagination to tell myself I'm confident, attractive, smart, capable ... whatever's the opposite of my negative feelings. Then I just walk around acting that way, almost like I'm an actor in character. I don't truly believe it, but the air of confidence it projects seems to balance out my insecurities, and people react favorably.
Once in a while, I also have to remind myself not to put so much stock in whether or not a person likes me, and be willing to be ok with it if someone doesn't like me. Weirdly, without meaning to, I've sometimes gained respect that way and made really good friends with people that can appreciate my "whatever, I don't need you" attitude.
This is going to sound really dumb, but I literally automatically assume people dislike me. Even when they don't act like they dislike me, I have this pervasive feeling that they're just playing along with me and in reality they can't wait to escape. I always feel like I'm talking too much, or I'm too quiet. I'm afraid that a person will think I'm mean when I'm really not mean at all, or I'm afraid they'll think I'm too excitable and annoying, or that I'm dull to be around, or I'm full of myself, etc. etc. etc.
I always say to myself that I don't care about other people's opinions, but the truth is I do, a lot.
It sucks because these feelings cause me to distance myself from others, which I'm sure people can pick up on, and that causes loads of misunderstandings. It causes me to become distrustful of people and judge them before I even know them, when in reality I'm really interested in and like most people, despite our differences. Lots of conflicting emotions.
Is this a common feeling for other NF's?
Does anyone have advise on how to handle this... condition?
first day in a new high school...ya?
i think its good to care about people's opinions. makes you human.
but you need to rationalize that at what point are those opinions interfering way too much with your life and at what point are they trying to change who you really are and what you value.
but for that to happen, you need some internal rules and things that you value. not stuff like 'no more than one ice cream a day' but things that you hold very dear to your heart like playing guitar, having a certain opinion of yourself as reflected by the kind of clothes you wear, kind of food you eat...kind of religion you follow
once you have that feedback mechanism, as soon as you realize that someone's actions/thoughts are interfering with these rules and values, you get the hell out of there and think over what you could have done and what you would do for the future.
slowly, this would probably help you improve and become self-dependent rather than people-dependent.
of course this might not mean anything to you since judgments based on feelings do no always co-incide with judgments reached through rationlizing
this post is in direct contrast with most E/I consistencies in that have been argues over a billion times. usually its the Es that are supposed to care more about what people think about them since Is can look inside and be content...or thats what ive read around these forums
Thank you so much for all these posts so far, I'm not trying to be mushy or corny or anything when I say that they're a really big help. Actually, I think I'll favorite this thread, lol. I need motivation to actively start squishing my negative thoughts because I keep procrastinating it, knowing that it'll be a hard and painful process.
I do expect people to be as astute to others as I am, so when I try to act more confident than I feel, I'm afraid I'll look like some pathetic fraud. Just need to be more brave.
"So I say, live and let live. Thatís my motto. Live and let live.
Anyone who canít go along with that, take him outside and shoot the motherfucker."
- George Carlin