What we think people expect from us

#1
Hellooo so I was sitting and thinking because it's one of my favorite hobbies and I realized that, one of the reasons I like solitude so much is that when I'm with people, I always feel like they expect something from me, that I'm not giving to them (competency at work, entertainment with friends, etc.), OR that I am giving it to them but to a great cost of energy on my part and I'm scared that I won't be able to keep it up for very long because I get tired quickly.

Some of those (these?) expectations are probably real, but others might be imagined, or my incapacity of being what people expect me to be might be imagined. This is one thing that causes my social phobia. So it's interesting to sit and think of those things and try to figure out if this is real or imagined, and if my need to reach people's expectation in this or that situation is justified or not.

Anyway I was mostly wondering if anyone else think their anxiety might be caused in part by what they think people expect from them, and what are those expectations, etc.
 

LoyalXenite

Well-known member
#2
I definitely think a part of the anxiety for me lays in what I feel others are expecting of me, even more so in the fact that I just dont properly understand social interactions so often that I miss subtle cues and so my own expectations as well as other's (or what Im imagining others are) feel so much more imposing.
 

Sacrament

Well-known member
#3
I think that feeling fades away quite a bit once you start being comfortable with yourself. People often prefer talking about themselves, so if you ask people about things they like and whatnot, you'll have plenty of fodder for conversations. And if you're comfortable with yourself, you'll be less worried when you're with other people because your mindset will be more in the realm of "I'm just going to enjoy this moment for what it is, and if for some reason this person doesn't enjoy my company very much, that's okay".
 

theoutsider

Well-known member
#4
This is absolutely true with me. I feel like I'm first of all expected to act like a normally functioning member of society. Secondly, I feel I'm expected to take my rightful place (in their opinion) in whatever group I'm currently being thrown in. Either leader, follower or somewhere in between. That's my biggest failing, I think. Having been extremely independent all my life (due to my social anxiety but also because it's what appeals to me), I have neither the ability nor the desire to assimilate and be pigeon-holed into a specific role. I feel this causes me to not live up to other's expectations and I don't think they know what to think of me. Therefore, I think they tend to see me in a negative light. Rather than subjecting myself to negative scrutiny, I retreat deeper into my phobia and away from the prying eyes and unreasonable expectations. I guess you could say I opt for the lesser of two evils.
 

kuurt

Well-known member
#5
I think in my case, feelings of being different or inferior play a role. I remember when I was a kid in school I was so shy I would never strike up a conversation with anyone. And rarely would anyone speak to me. I imagine they all viewed me as the weird quite kid that's always by himself. I always had such a hard time connecting and making friends. I felt like because of my awkward shyness that I couldn't possibly live up to their idea of what a friend should be. So in fear that others would judge me as an inadequate friend, I judged myself unworthy of having a friend in the first place. Yeah, I guess my social anxiety is partly caused by what I think other people would expect from me, and my fear of not being able to measure up.
 
#6
Hellooo so I was sitting and thinking because it's one of my favorite hobbies and I realized that, one of the reasons I like solitude so much is that when I'm with people, I always feel like they expect something from me, that I'm not giving to them (competency at work, entertainment with friends, etc.), OR that I am giving it to them but to a great cost of energy on my part and I'm scared that I won't be able to keep it up for very long because I get tired quickly.

Some of those (these?) expectations are probably real, but others might be imagined, or my incapacity of being what people expect me to be might be imagined. This is one thing that causes my social phobia. So it's interesting to sit and think of those things and try to figure out if this is real or imagined, and if my need to reach people's expectation in this or that situation is justified or not.

Anyway I was mostly wondering if anyone else think their anxiety might be caused in part by what they think people expect from them, and what are those expectations, etc.
I think this could be boiled down to feeling like you're not good enough.
 
#7
Thank you people for your response. Nate, you're probably right, the funny thing though is, while I often feel I'm not good enough for others, I feel good enough for myself, that's why, I guess, I enjoy my own company. Sometimes I feel like we are such in a time of constant entertainment that people don't know how to be with each other without talking constantly or being silly anymore. So I guess people often don't live up to my own expectations either. o_O

I definitely think a part of the anxiety for me lays in what I feel others are expecting of me, even more so in the fact that I just dont properly understand social interactions so often that I miss subtle cues and so my own expectations as well as other's (or what Im imagining others are) feel so much more imposing.
Subtle cues are difficult to understand I agree. However I think we overestimate other people's capacity to understand it as well. Example:

I was having a conversation about this with 2 people (let's call them person A and B) a while ago, and person A (who works with autistic people) was telling us about some cues that "normal" people understands but not autistic people, and for a lot of them, me and person B both agreed that we wouldn't get it either. Person A was pretty surprised about it. The thing is, cues are different, I think, depending on who raised you and where. It's especially true with cultural differences, but also for social status and surrounding, etc.
 

lily

Well-known member
#8
i don't think anyone expects anything from me when I'm in a friendship. I'm just being a friend. it goes two ways. i also think for you it comes down to confidence in yourself
 

onehandclapping

Well-known member
#9
Yes I can relate, it feels like people expect a lot of me, like for me to be a superhero who never had bad days, can deal with infinite amounts of pressure and to be at others beck and call all the time or be bending over backwards to please them. It gets to the point where I get annoyed because of the lack of respect or understanding, I think people just expect way too much, like I'm supposed to be sacrificing myself or something? And that I am made to feel bad If I am not spending all my free time in service to them or saying the right things. They expect me to know how to deal with awkwardness and that I should never put myself first.
It seems impossible to set boundaries with people because they expect me to not have any and lose interest in me if I try to establish them. It's frustrating as hell because often times I am made to feel like the bad person If I ever try to establish some self respect.
 

Miserum

Well-known member
#10
Yah, I feel this way often. I feel like something is always expected of me in social interactions, that I need to be a certain type of person.

I am beginning to think that overthinking is the root of most of my problems socially, actually.

Even just typing this response has me feeling like I need to say more in order to "appease" you, or that I need to more fully answer your question, but I'm probably just overthinking... so I'll leave it as is.
 

worrywort

Well-known member
#11
That's really insightful, I think there could be truth to that. I think a lot of the shame I feel comes from all the offence that I assume I've caused to other people by my anti-social and isolating behaviour, but a lot of it may well be imagined. Like when I don't stop and chat, but just say hi and keep walking. I feel like the other person must think I'm terribly rude, but maybe they don't mind. Or when a friend comes round to see my brother and I don't go down to say hi and have a chat with them, but instead stay in my room. I feel like this is rude and anti-social of me, but perhaps they don't care.
 
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