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I think you have to consider the relative amounts of effort involved here. Let's say for the sake of example you're talking about initiating conversations with people you're only a little acquainted with, like a classmate or coworker that you see often but don't really speak to much. Let's say you initiate conversations 10% of the time, and the other person does 90% of the time. If it takes both of you the same amount of effort/willpower/bravery/whatever you want to call it to initiate a conversation, then we might say you're being a bit selfish. But if it takes you 10 times the amount of effort to initiate a conversation, then really you're putting the same amount of 'work' into it. And it's very likely the other person doesn't consider it to be 'work' at all.

I often wonder if people find me rude; I'm sure some of my actions appear to be rude but I don't intend it. For instance, say somebody holds a door open for me. I will be thinking I should thank the person, I will say thank you to them in my head, and I may even command myself to say it out loud - but there's only around a 50% chance that I'll actually manage to be able to say it in the necessary time frame, and most likely not loud enough anyway. The other half the time I just end up smiling at the person. Now: am I rude because I didn't do the action, or am I not rude because I meant to and was just unable to?

I have heard, though, that people with social anxiety are a bit self-centered: we imagine that all the world is always watching us, judging us, thinking about us, paying lots of attention to us, when the reality is most people just don't devote that much thought to us.
 

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no, when an outgoing person tries to engage the other person he is doing something he enjoys, the shy person by not engaging in conversation is thinking of making himself comfortable so both individuals are primarily thinking about their own interests, sorta based on the minimizing pain maximizing pleasure principle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
But if it takes you 10 times the amount of effort to initiate a conversation, then really you're putting the same amount of 'work' into it. And it's very likely the other person doesn't consider it to be 'work' at all..
A lot of people make that argument, that it's not really work for the outgoing person. But, I'm not so sure. With the exception of the extremely outgoing people in the world (life of the party types), I think your average outgoing person does feel some stress in these situations. Especially when it comes to striking up conversation with complete strangers or people they barely know. I've been around a lot of average outgoing people who show signs of stress when they are around people they don't know, or barely know. I've seen a lot of outgoing people end up 'stressed out' at the end of a workday from a social job. These aren't people you would think of as having SA.

And like another poster hit on, sometimes I feel like I'm so caught up in my own little 'SA world', my own 'SA disability' that I use it as an excuse not to meet someone halfway. I've been so obsessed with 'my SA problem, and how unfair it is' that often I feel justified to make other people do all the work. (As though outgoing people don't have problems too.)

I just feel like I focus way WAY too much on MY problem, so much so that every thought become about me. I'm always thinking about how every person I encounter and every event that happens around me, is going to inconvenience me, because of the stress product that follows every encounter. Sometimes I don't even feel as much sympathy for others as I should, because deep down I'm thinking "I have my own nightmare I'm dealing with".
 

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Optimism Prime~
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i don't think selfish has anything to do with SA.
as humans we are all selfish
Perhaps selfish is to strong a word, at least in my opinion anyway. I think we as humans are definitely inward looking - but that probably has it's roots in good ol' fashioned evolution; he who takes care of himself first and foremost would have a lot better time surviving than a prehistoric Mother Teresa :b.
Personally though, I think the term selfish should really only cover those whose every action is self motivated; who even when doing something for others, there is a veiled expectation for something in return. Thankfully I can only really think of a couple of people I've come across who fall into this category.

Oh and btw, I don't think I'm selfish ;) Although I've been told I can come across as moody quite often, when really it's just my anxiety eating me up.
 

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When I compare myself to outgoing people, I often feel selfish and maybe even a bit immature. When an outgoing person (stranger or not) is the first to strike up a conversation with me, I feel as though they 'put themselves out there' much more than I did. They took a chance, whereas as I NEVER put forth the energy to strike up conversations with strangers. I ALWAYS wait for them to come to me. (sometimes even with people I know).

It just seems as though the people who are successful at talking to strangers are thinking more about others than they are themselves. They don't wait for the other person to do the work, they just do it.

Does anyone else feel this way? That SA is somewhat 'childlike' in nature?
Absolutely.
I've thought the same thing, I am more selfish than the average person, and even though technically I am an adult, I don't feel like one-I feel like a child-I feel inferior
 

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Gentle Impulsion
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I don't think I'm really a selfish person, but SA definitely keeps me from being able to do things that would show that I'm more caring/interested in other people. I feel bad about that a lot. Like, if I forget to ask someone how they are if I know they've been sick or if I see something I could buy or some favor I could do for them, but I'm just too nervous to do it 'cause it seems awkward to me.
wow this is soooo me lol!
 

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I think people with SA can come off as more self-absorbed or vain in the fact that we're so concerned about how we think, act, look, feel and/or we try too hard to make people impressed with ourselves that we talk/think more about ourselves than paying attention to other people.
At the same time though, it's made me more self-sacrificing. Making sure I get along with everyone, forgiving people too easily, try hard not to hurt anyone's feelings when they probably don't care if thay hurt mine. I'm pretty much a doormat sometimes.
As for actual selfishness, I've seen in both outgoing and shy people so I don't think SA affects it much.
 
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