Sunday, October 10, 2010

Feeling Discouraged

Today I am feeling very discouraged about my personality.

I’ve always been a bit ‘different’. This difference is not just some imagined phenomenon wrought out of an emotional ‘nobody gets me’ teenage angst. It’s a well documented set of traits objectively observable by others around me. My husband told me while dating that it was my sincere and open/vulnerable kindness (a kind of sweet naivety in his words)  that drew him to me as he found it to be unusual. Friends often tell me I’m quite different than most others.

According to Myers-Briggs testing I am an ENFP, which is less than 8% of the population. ENFP summary: I wear my heart on my sleeve; I’m very passionate about things that spark my interest (and very unmotivated to tackle things that don’t); I have the strongest need to be liked/loved out of any of the personality types; I have a directed sense of purpose and require that my relationships and job work toward that purpose in order to feel ok with life; I am intelligent; I am kind; I don’t “do” sarcasm; I genuinely am an optimist; I trust people easily; I sincerely like people and hate confrontation. Yep, ENFP sums me up perfectly.

What I’ve come to realize over the past few years is how polarizing my personality actually is. I’m not sure if this is true for other ENFPs, but when people are exposed to my personality they either seem to become an immediate fan and *really* like me, or alternatively, they react with disgust and repulsion and can’t stand me. It’s so dramatic and black and white. Those that like me tell me that they find me inspiring and joyful; energetic and kind; refreshingly open and vulnerable. Those that have an aversion don’t often tell me why but occasionally I have been smacked in the face with their comments when they’re on their way out of my life: I’m too nice, too naive, too simplistic, too talkative,  and too optimistic and generally annoying. I have even developed some quick correlating variables- the chance that someone will like me is inversely proportional to how much they like the movie Office Space, appreciate sarcasm, consider themselves cynical or “realistic'”, and hate traffic jams and dealing with customers from a service perspective. Strange but true.

So today I have been feeling sorry for myself and wondering how I can be less polarizing. While I’d like to earn the respect or appreciation of the cynical “cool kids” crowd, at this point I’d settle for at least having a lukewarm personality that didn’t inspire NOR aggravate anybody. I did a quick google search to help me get ideas on how to change and adopt a more realistic, sarcasm loving cynical “adult” personality and it depressed me even more- the number of people who post on the internet that nice people make them sick is tremendous. There is even a facebook group devoted to the dislike of  ‘overly nice’ people: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2256074450 

I’m really tired of feeling different and disliked but I realize that I really don’t want to change myself to fix it.  I wish instead people could bend to my outlook. I wish everyone was nice and said what they meant in a kind way instead of relying on sarcasm. I wish people looked on the bright side more and committed to the principle that there is good in everyone and actively looked for it. I wish that people would be more trusting and be willing to be quicker in establishing intimacy in friendships. I wish that people would express a genuine interest in the customers they serve instead of dismissing people as idiots. I wish people would take the time to swing on swingsets and laugh more and curse traffic jams less.  I wish people would not be mean or harsh.

I wish for too much and feel sorry for myself that I don’t fit in. I don’t fit in with others in key ways that will always lead to people trying to treat me like a doormat and bullying me.

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