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Old 02-28-2011, 10:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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I think this is true. I feel like I expect people to literally get on their knees and beg me for their attention. I feel like I want people to be perfect. I feel like people are horrible a**h***s if they give me some tough advice, that I could actually benefit from. I look for other people's approval too much. And the one thing that I do the most is pity and feel sorry for myself. That is not going to get me ANYWHERE. If I don't except myself for who I am, then how will I accept anyone else?

I really didn't understand why I couldn't connect with people, but now I kind of know why. I googled "How to connect with people in college." A guy asked this question in Yahoo Answers and this is someone's response:


"Well, you get what you give. I've been in your situation before and let me tell you something...Until you are ready to stop being selfish, you will not make or keep friends. You will not connect with others.

Yes, I know "selfish" sounds harsh and unfair due to your history and the misery it causes you, but you must realize that you bring this all on yourself! When you are genuinely interested in what other people have to say, how they feel, etc., then you will have little trouble making friends.

Not all people in this world will abandon or reject you. Some people socialize and try to connect with others because they are genuinely interested in other people, they care about people, they want to share their experiences with people. But NO one will do all the work for you and force you to be their friend. It is just not appealing to be around someone that doesn't seem interested in connecting. So, here is what you do...

Figure out what you love to do and start doing it, become really good at it. This will give a sense of purpose and confidence. Become up to date on worldly affairs, educate yourself. Decide to turn a new leaf and acknowledge the facts that not all human beings are scum, and that if you look to be friends with honest, caring, intelligent, down-to earth people, then you will find these people and if you are ready to stop being stingy and overly concerned about getting hurt, you will make friends.
"

Even though this is a tough pill to swallow, I believe it is true, not just for me, but for the rest of us. I think we do sometimes become defensive when we don't want to hear the truth. Well I am TIRED of being this way! Some of us have been through some traumatic s**t in our pasts but we don't have to let it ruin our future! YOU have the power. YOU have control, whether you believe it or not. That guy "rdp234" made a lot of sense, I just did not want to accept it. You have to develop a positive attitude and start taking steps to overcome whatever it is that is holding you back. You HAVE to, if you really want the best out of life. Facing your fears WILL help you in the long-term. I think the problem is-is that when something doesn't go right, we become frustrated and give up. You cannot do that. You HAVE to keep trying. NONE of us deserve to live this way, but we CAN do something about it!

This was a really long rant but I think I had an epiphany last night?

[Please no negative or defensive comments, I really do mean well ]
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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It's not so simple. It never is.

It is true that friendships, or any relationships, are two way streets: give and take. However, it doesn't follow that because you are unable to make friends or function socially that you are somehow a selfish person. A large part of social anxiety is a fear of being judged or seen to be doing the wrong thing. There is nothing at all selfish about that way of thinking. I would go so far as to say that thinking it is, is a pretty self-deprecating view to carry though life.

Do you worry that you will offend people by saying or doing the wrong thing? Or that you might cause someone to feel rejected because you treat them coldly? I know I do. Those are just examples, but I'm sure there are many more selfless thoughts that go through your head both as part of and separate from your social anxiety. Those thoughts are not selfish.

It is unusual for a selfish person to recognise it in themselves, much less worry about it if they do. You aren't selfish.
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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And this is why I hide my SA from EVERYONE (only my husband knows). I would rather them think me 'cold' or 'antisocial' than selfish. I would rather them think I choose to eat in my classroom at lunch because I don't want to be with them than them know that I am really hiding there and fearing how they will view me.
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by confidencelost View Post
It's not so simple. It never is.
I feel like everyone always says something like this...it's not about it being simple..it's about having the WILL to overcome it you know..

Quote:
It is true that friendships, or any relationships, are two way streets: give and take. However, it doesn't follow that because you are unable to make friends or function socially that you are somehow a selfish person. A large part of social anxiety is a fear of being judged or seen to be doing the wrong thing. There is nothing at all selfish about that way of thinking. I would go so far as to say that thinking it is, is a pretty self-deprecating view to carry though life.
I also believe that is also a self-deprecating view to carry through life as well. I have realized that not ALL people are going to judge you, and if they do, they are not worth your time.

Quote:
Do you worry that you will offend people by saying or doing the wrong thing? Or that you might cause someone to feel rejected because you treat them coldly? I know I do. Those are just examples, but I'm sure there are many more selfless thoughts that go through your head both as part of and separate from your social anxiety. Those thoughts are not selfish.
Yes, all of those things go through my head. But they are irrational. I have to stop thinking like that. I feel like I need to learn to accept that I am going to make mistakes in life, if I don't I will feel like that forever.

Quote:
It is unusual for a selfish person to recognise it in themselves, much less worry about it if they do. You aren't selfish.
That made me feel a little better. BUT...I still do believe it is a little selfish because we are so busy worrying about ourselves and our actions, we are unable to make connections or have the social life that we want.
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovelyAmor View Post
I think this is true. I feel like I expect people to literally get on their knees and beg me for their attention. I feel like I want people to be perfect. I feel like people are horrible a**h***s if they give me some tough advice, that I could actually benefit from. I look for other people's approval too much. And the one thing that I do the most is pity and feel sorry for myself. That is not going to get me ANYWHERE. If I don't except myself for who I am, then how will I accept anyone else?

I really didn't understand why I couldn't connect with people, but now I kind of know why. I googled "How to connect with people in college." A guy asked this question in Yahoo Answers and this is someone's response:


"Well, you get what you give. I've been in your situation before and let me tell you something...Until you are ready to stop being selfish, you will not make or keep friends. You will not connect with others.

Yes, I know "selfish" sounds harsh and unfair due to your history and the misery it causes you, but you must realize that you bring this all on yourself! When you are genuinely interested in what other people have to say, how they feel, etc., then you will have little trouble making friends.

Not all people in this world will abandon or reject you. Some people socialize and try to connect with others because they are genuinely interested in other people, they care about people, they want to share their experiences with people. But NO one will do all the work for you and force you to be their friend. It is just not appealing to be around someone that doesn't seem interested in connecting. So, here is what you do...

Figure out what you love to do and start doing it, become really good at it. This will give a sense of purpose and confidence. Become up to date on worldly affairs, educate yourself. Decide to turn a new leaf and acknowledge the facts that not all human beings are scum, and that if you look to be friends with honest, caring, intelligent, down-to earth people, then you will find these people and if you are ready to stop being stingy and overly concerned about getting hurt, you will make friends.
"

Even though this is a tough pill to swallow, I believe it is true, not just for me, but for the rest of us. I think we do sometimes become defensive when we don't want to hear the truth. Well I am TIRED of being this way! Some of us have been through some traumatic s**t in our pasts but we don't have to let it ruin our future! YOU have the power. YOU have control, whether you believe it or not. That guy "rdp234" made a lot of sense, I just did not want to accept it. You have to develop a positive attitude and start taking steps to overcome whatever it is that is holding you back. You HAVE to, if you really want the best out of life. Facing your fears WILL help you in the long-term. I think the problem is-is that when something doesn't go right, we become frustrated and give up. You cannot do that. You HAVE to keep trying. NONE of us deserve to live this way, but we CAN do something about it!

This was a really long rant but I think I had an epiphany last night?

[Please no negative or defensive comments, I really do mean well ]
I understand where you are coming from LovelyAmor
It is empowering to think that we can achieve greatness even
though we have suffered major abuse for many years (as in my case).
Thanks for posting this It's awesome

I also agree with your comment re "rdp234" at the risk of being flamed.. he did make some really good points that I think some ppl me included liked to hear. Sometimes we need that to heal. To challenge ourselves, our ideas and thinking patterns. That's the main point of having therapy, my psychologist does this with me and it's helped even though it makes me mentally and physically tired. Anything that's worth doing is hard
but eventually i hope we will all recover and have the lives we desire.
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Well, I'm going to echo the person who said it's not that simple. True, we all need to work on things about ourselves that we view as hindrances (and that goes for everything about us, not just SA). But I think it's important to keep in mind that even though a group of people may have one issue in common (ie, SA), that is just one part of that each person's experience. We are all multidimensional, and we don't all respond to things the same way.

I really didn't care for the Yahoo answer that person provided. I don't know the history of the person who asked the question, but based on that person's answer it certainly appears that the person who asked the question had dealt with some type of hardship. I am going to assume that this discussion was amongst college aged folks, since the question was about how to connect with people in college. To me, the responder came across as not only harsh but also a bit naive, but I'm not sure if that may just be due to age and/or lack of experience with certain issues. She is correct in saying that not all human beings are scum, not all people will abandon you, etc. However, I will say that unless she has lived through being rejected and abandoned by someone that she loved deeply, just for being herself, then she doesn't truly understand how that kind of experience changes a person.

Sometimes it really bothers me when people say, "Just do X, Y, and Z and everything will be fine." Life is rarely that black and white. We all have different life experiences. Not only that, but it possible for several people to experience the exact same thing and all have vastly different reactions to the same stimulus. Human beings are complicated creatures that way. I'm all for self-improvement and making positive changes, but I know for me personally if someone was calling me selfish and stingy (as the person did in that Yahoo answer) simply because my reaction to life differed from theirs, I would not have a positive response to it.
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovelyAmor View Post
That made me feel a little better. BUT...I still do believe it is a little selfish because we are so busy worrying about ourselves and our actions, we are unable to make connections or have the social life that we want.
No person is entirely selfish or selfless. Don't try to hold yourself to either absolute. The belief in such absolutes is common amongst people who are socially anxious.

I agree that worrying about ourselves holds us back, but I don't think doing so is inherently selfish.

If you assign negative character traits to your self-image, such as selfishness, then you are learning to dislike yourself and want to change yourself even more. It can only serve, in my opinion, to make you more anxious. If you learn to accept yourself, to go with the flow, and see the goodness in yourself, then you will become less anxious.

Don't beat yourself up. It isn't the way to go.
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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We are only selfish in our SA due to the constant need to protect ourselves - we live in fear. That is the problem.
When we learn to release the fear, let go of the thoughts - don't let them take us captive. The reaching out can begin and then the healing!
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleThread View Post
Well, I'm going to echo the person who said it's not that simple. True, we all need to work on things about ourselves that we view as hindrances (and that goes for everything about us, not just SA). But I think it's important to keep in mind that even though a group of people may have one issue in common (ie, SA), that is just one part of that each person's experience. We are all multidimensional, and we don't all respond to things the same way.

I really didn't care for the Yahoo answer that person provided. I don't know the history of the person who asked the question, but based on that person's answer it certainly appears that the person who asked the question had dealt with some type of hardship. I am going to assume that this discussion was amongst college aged folks, since the question was about how to connect with people in college. To me, the responder came across as not only harsh but also a bit naive, but I'm not sure if that may just be due to age and/or lack of experience with certain issues. She is correct in saying that not all human beings are scum, not all people will abandon you, etc. However, I will say that unless she has lived through being rejected and abandoned by someone that she loved deeply, just for being herself, then she doesn't truly understand how that kind of experience changes a person.

Sometimes it really bothers me when people say, "Just do X, Y, and Z and everything will be fine." Life is rarely that black and white. We all have different life experiences. Not only that, but it possible for several people to experience the exact same thing and all have vastly different reactions to the same stimulus. Human beings are complicated creatures that way. I'm all for self-improvement and making positive changes, but I know for me personally if someone was calling me selfish and stingy (as the person did in that Yahoo answer) simply because my reaction to life differed from theirs, I would not have a positive response to it.
Great post! I agree completely.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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The think the biggest difference is whether you consider yourself part of a community, or whether you feel as if you are an outsider compared to the rest of the world.

If you perceive to yourself that the world is unfair, people are uncaring and that the opposite sex ignores you out of spite, that makes you selfish and gives you a very "me" attitude. But that's NATURAL. If you are alone in this world then its imperative you look out for #1. The only way to change this is to change how you perceive the world. And if we could all do that then SA wouldn't exist. And we all know that's not true

If you still view the world in a negative light, it's impossible to not be selfish and think about yourself first, and it will be impossible to get satisfaction from helping others. It's just the wrong way to work on it imo. That's just what I think.

What do you get when you mix a person who forces himself to be unselfish and generous when he still has a negative world view as his core belief? The classic nice guy/doormat. Yep...I'd rather be true to myself than be like that.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:55 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Millinneumman is right, we are operating on fear. These other people that are interested in others all of the time would be doing the same thing that we are if they had SA. It's cruel and unfair to call us selfish, because we did not choose to have this anxiety, we just have anxiety. You can't compare people with SAD to normally-functioning outgoing people, it's like comparing a jogger with a torn acl to a jogger in perfect running health. That Yahoo answers person was speaking out of turn and obviously does not suffer from SAD and has no clue what it's like to suffer the problems that SAD brings.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:59 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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And another thing, many of us are alone in the world anyway, so why wouldn't we be looking out for ourselves? In my case, there is no one else to look out for. I have no friends, no g/f. There is no one in my life besides family, so yeah I'm selfish. Why would I be so concerned with strangers I never talk to? I should be selfish, anyone would be selfish in my position right now. I have to live this life, I may as well cater to myself and try to make myself happy. It's not like what I'm doing is at someone else's expense. If you ask me, me being selfish right now is good.
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:07 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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I'm glad for you the response made you think differently and helped with an epiphany. Epiphanies provide solutions to problems, but in such complex cases as socialising, particularly where there's a clinical condition present, are unlikely to provide the whole answer. It's good you're sharing it because it might be useful to others. However, I would like to explore some caveats and thoughts below.

"When you are genuinely interested in what other people have to say, how they feel, etc., then you will have little trouble making friends."

The responder makes a lot of assumptions about this person and seems to automatically assume their experiences apply to this person. Taking an interest in others is only one aspect of successful socialising. Numerous texts and studies explore this subject, and the possibilities involving unsuccessful socialising are far too complex to be boiled down to "selfishness/stinginess". For example, consider all the selfish social people around who can connect with others - it's possible for a person to disregard others or be self-absorbed more than a person who has a condition (say, SAD or autism) yet not have any significant social problems/disorder/disability.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LovelyAmor
Even though this is a tough pill to swallow, I believe it is true, not just for me, but for the rest of us.
That's quite an assumption. Try to realise this group is very diverse. I notice many are self-absorbed at the expense of noticing others, sometimes treating them with disregard, but many are not, or at least pay attention to those in their clique or friendship circle. Most do not seem to really disregard others, which is part of true selfishness, even when they are self-absorbed. People can also be self-absorbed yet try to take interest in others (this is me - I sometimes spend hours here just studying people). There are various combinations. It may be true that selfishness can be generalised to such a group, but I think it's too inaccurate to apply here. I think self-absorption or monitoring would be a more accurate generalisation. That's not necessarily all bad or bad at all, or even the most significant reason for the difficulty connecting to others.
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Old 03-01-2011, 07:50 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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LovelyAmor, I definitely think what you say is true to some extent. when you strip it down, SA is a very selfish problem--we tend to be self-absorbed and think everybody is talking about us and focusing on us, like we're the center of everybody's universe. I know personally, I also have depressive tendencies, and depression can also be a very selfish condition. on really bad days, all I can do is wallow and fixate on how terribly tragic my life seems and hate everyone around me who is happy. so yes, pretty selfish.

however, I don't think it's as simple as "we're selfish people and that's why we can't make any friends." I know plenty of people who don't have SA but are still really selfish and have tons of friends. even though I'm selfish in some ways, I'm also more selfless in other ways but it doesn't seem to matter. like, a lot of people I know talk about themselves non-stop and seem to find it impossible to listen to anyone else speak for even 5 minutes. sometimes they're downright rude and will cut you off in the middle of speaking without even noticing. but these people are popular and well-liked. whereas I am at least a good listener and try not to be rude and interrupt people, wait my turn to talk, try to give people advice if they ask for it, all that good stuff, and I still have a very difficult time making friends.
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:27 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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It's only selfish in the strictest definition. Technically yes, we might be overly concerned with how we are coming across, but it is misleading to call it selfish because it makes it sound sinister.

When I'm trying to have a conversation with someone, I'm doing my absolute best to focus on the person and to take an interest in what they are saying, so I'm certainly not being selfish. But my anxiety involuntarily overrides any connection I could make and makes it very difficult to speak freely. So the explanation that Yahoo guy gives is rather unfair.
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:13 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Imagine that you have an intense, overwhelming fear of elevators. Every time you step on one, you realize that the floor could suddenly drop out from under you. For the sake of this analogy, assume that you work on the top floor of a building with no stairs and the elevator is the only way to get there. On morning, you and another person board the elevator and begin the long, terrifying trip to the top. Under other conditions, you might take a genuine interest in that person and engage in meaningful conversation. However, in the present scenario, all you can think about is the floor dropping out from under you, so you pretty much say nothing to the person. Are you being selfish?
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:10 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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I don't believe that social anxiety makes someone "selfish," but I would definitely categorize myself as self-centered and self-absorbed. This problem that I'm dealing with causes me to constantly internalize everything and always thinking about me, me, me... why am I the way that I am? Why can't I just be with people like everyone else? Why do people always throw me away when they get to know me? (Insert typical crybaby trauma line.) But this is not selfishness; nothing about this denotes a tendency to only care about oneself and be unconcerned for others. It's about being too wrapped up in fear and anxiety about how others may or may not view you as a person, or how they will treat you or what they think of you. Whoever posted that quote on Yahoo messageboard was definitely not suffering from social anxiety to say that we bring this on ourselves. Obviously, our actual experiences and past rejections have triggered this to begin with.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:46 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I think I'm very self-absorbed but I'm not selfish. It seems that I am because I'm only interested in making important, meaningful and deep connections about pretty well everything. All else seems like it's pointless/a bit fake or shallow. I think it's because we hate or are not interested in shallow and superficial stuff. This can come off as rude or selfish or non-caring or cold/aloof.

But if you're only interested in deep connections with the outside world or even self-reflective stuff, you don't have a lot of energy left for more shallow stuff. I don't understand why I have to say hi to the clerk or congratulate someone on their birthday, send christmas cards to Joe Blow relative/friend, etc. It just means more talking and more responsibilities next time, etc. Eventually it becomes just too much.

It can be perceived as selfish/cold but it's the price we make for such deep connections. Unfortunately, anxiety, particularly SAD is the other price. It seems that way but I'm not sure. This stuff is confusing.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:22 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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I agree with this entire post.
This is exactly what I, and I'm sure a lot of people needed to read to be inspired and motivated to take control of their life and how they react to it.

I've been going through a lot, family & friend wise, and it's true, many of us including myself thinks everyone just needs to come to me. & that i'm "always" trying, while the truth is I'm just complaining about "trying."

I always said, if i'm not looking after myself, then who is? But if creating meaningful friendships and not always expecting them to be fake creates fulfillness and happiness, I'm deffinetly up for it. Thank you for this post, i really needed to read something like this )
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:27 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkitty1 View Post
however, I don't think it's as simple as "we're selfish people and that's why we can't make any friends." I know plenty of people who don't have SA but are still really selfish and have tons of friends. even though I'm selfish in some ways, I'm also more selfless in other ways but it doesn't seem to matter. like, a lot of people I know talk about themselves non-stop and seem to find it impossible to listen to anyone else speak for even 5 minutes. sometimes they're downright rude and will cut you off in the middle of speaking without even noticing. but these people are popular and well-liked. whereas I am at least a good listener and try not to be rude and interrupt people, wait my turn to talk, try to give people advice if they ask for it, all that good stuff, and I still have a very difficult time making friends.
I am in love with this post. Bkitty has nailed the point that the OP has missed. Think about all the people out there that talk about themselves non-stop yet they are extremely popular and well-liked. These people are very self-centered and selfish, yet the world loves them. So selfishness obviously isn't our problem. In fact, I believe many of us are more self-less than these chatterboxes self-centered egoists that talk about themselves all the time. You see, we actually listen, and give other people the floor. That is unselfish as it gets.

Our problem is that we struggle to connect with people. Apparently, as long as people know how to connect with others, they can talk about themselves all day selfishly and people will still love them. And when the shy person quietly listens, they are the selfish person? Lol, come on now.
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am i selfish but do not know it? Ladystardust Coping With Social Anxiety 3 12-10-2008 12:34 PM
selfish?? nu shoez Frustration 1 03-01-2008 07:22 PM

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