Thing is, like I've mentioned many times before, I've always been a bit of a loner on my own and I love my company and I think it's got to do with the fact that I was never part of the popular girls growing up. In fact, it's quite the opposite! I'm under the "social reject group" cos I grew up in a major elite school where you're either filthy rich or super smart to be there and yours truly was never in that 2 categories. In fact, I was a late developer who only got much better with my academic grades much much later in my life (it was quite a 180-degree turnaround that I still have no idea how that happened).
If you have watched Gossip Girl, you would remember that elite school where Blair Waldorf and the gang were from and mine was something like that, a bit milder though. You'll be socially acceptable if your mode of school transport is a Rolls Royce, Bentley or Big Mercedes Benz driver by a chauffeur , or if your grades are so freaking good that it's all "A"s in your report card. And me? I went to school in a crummy school bus and it was also not fun being the last few girls to receive her test papers when the teachers made it a point to give out test papers from the highest scores to the lowest. We called that walk to receive your test papers the "walk of shame" for the last few girls aka me. So yes, I was the social outcast and I was always hanging out with the social rejects while envying everyone else.
Growing up in that environment has somehow made me become a bit of a recluse and I developed other skills to make up for the social incompetence. I was told that I'm quite a funny person and I think the jokes I cracked got me mildly socially accepted and people did talk to me. Then I also developed my own sense of interests where I focused my energy in doing things I like, say reading (nerd...yawn, I know!), music and artsy stuff and I read up on lots of stuff that gives me a relatively good resource of common knowledge (which later saw me becoming a very hot property in Pub Quiz cos I know a lot of useless knowledge that often gets asked during pub quiz)....So in another word, I was totally not a confident person and I was even scared to talk to the cooler girls in school.
And when I just moved to Singapore in my teens, I was ostracized too because I speak with an American accent (from my previous school, and I was constantly taunted for that and even nicknamed "CNN" after the news channel) and also because I had different interests. I was the science student who got frowned upon cos I was in a class full of Chinese speaking nerds who got full-score in their physics and F maths and I was the only one who loved literature and hung out with mostly the arts peeps. Throughout my secondary and JC days, I was a bit of a recluse cos I was afraid of being judged
Then something kinda changed along the way as I grew older. Somehow I just naturally become more comfortable in my own skin and doesn't give a damn about what other people think of pleasing everyone. And one thing really makes me even more sure of myself. It all started with Friendster and Facebook cos somehow all the girls from school were finding each other back on the social media. They all migrated to everywhere around the world and we are now connected via the social media. So being the loser girl in class who's probably voted "The Least Likely To Succeed", I naturally go nose around to find out what's happening in their lives and well, surprise surprise! They're just normal and pretty much like me! And in fact, I think I've gotten a more interesting life than most! Of course, there're always a few super over-achievers who're unfairly pretty, rich and with great exciting job, but then most of them are just like me and many actually remember who I am! And I've always thought that nobody would know that I existed! And after pondering, I think that it's not that I was being judged (there wasn't any of those Mean Girls situation where I got bullied just so you know), it's because I was judging myself and being too worried about what people think of me.
That in itself, was a bit of a "light bulb" moment that gave me a boost in my confidence and from then on, I've become more self-assured and I get bolder and bolder and totally embrace being myself. Now when I look back, I'm glad that I stuck to myself and didn't give in to conformity and I'm thankful that I stayed true to who I am instead of following what everyone else is doing even when it's not what I wanted.
These days, I totally embrace my sense of identity and I make no apologies for my likes and dislikes. I've been frowned at for "trying too hard to be different" by judgmental people. For instance, I was reading National Geographic or a good classic novel during lunch time and there was once I was snubbed with the person saying "Eeee, why are you reading all these cultured stuff and being so anti-social???", completed with a bitchy face of disapproval no less. But seriously, I don't give a damn cos it's what I LIKE and LOVE to do. Too bad he's too unrefined and judgmental to realize that.
But of course, where are times when you kinda have to blend in too like when you're at work but here are some tips on how for those out there who aren't exactly sure how to deal with judgmental people:
- Stick to people who are more like yourself with similar interests....well at least you won't need to justify why you like certain things...
- If you find your interests too different from others, like your colleagues, then keep it to yourself and don't talk openly about it. And when people asked, just briefly mention it and don't elaborate unless the other person shows some kind of interest or people might think you're trying too hard to be different even when you are genuinely interested.
- The same goes when you actually have a rather interesting life with a lot of interesting stories to share. Just share a bit and not too much cos otherwise people think you're a show off or worse, make up stuff. Trust me, that has happened to me before....oh well, you have a life and some people don't right?
- At work, if you're unhappy with something or someone, never tell that to someone at work cos you never know who the information would end up with, tell your own friends outside of work and bitch and vent all you want.
- Try to join in some activities every now and then, you don't have to stick together like packs but every now and then, it's good to do something with them. Social obligation is still important to observe. Sometimes you just gotta "show face", doesn't mean you have to go for the entire thing.
- Cultivate real friendship with a selected few cos then you really just need that few friends who would stick with you through thick and thin and won't need to rely on other sources of friendship like say a bunch of shitty colleagues
- Beware of "Frenemies"...these are enemies disguised as friends. They might get along with you and even seem to care, and you might even go out or hang out with them BUT they actually don't have your best interest at heart and seem to be secretly happy when shit happens to you and sometimes relish on your misfortune and would keep making you talk about it so they can gloat secretly. Not to mention there's always the rivalry to outdo each other...trash them, you don't need that...
- If there's any gossip or bitching (in a work situation especially), never get yourself involved. In times like that, be like Switzerland. Neutral. Don't take sides. If someone comes to tell you about some bitching stuff, just listen and nod but never agree with things cos the person would say stuff like "Oh even Miss B agrees with me that
!"....trust me, happened to me as well...you wanna stay out of politics if you want peaceful human interaction that's drama and bloodshed free
- A little smile goes a long way and always be nice so people won't accuse you of having a "black face" or being stuck up or something even when you're just born with the freaking face you have...
- Be humble. Don't brag. Don't gloat cos most people wouldn't want to hear your happiness. Sad but true cos a lot of people aren't exactly happy. Do that with your true friends only. Those who'll truly be happy for you.
- And always remember that you're unique and embrace your individuality and don't change because of pressure. There'll always be people who appreciate your uniqueness.
P.S. Hey Tiffy, am I not efficient or what? xx