You look tired,” they say. Or, they are the first person to fix any hair out of place or tag sticking out of a clothing item. When you establish a boundary, they are quick to violate it then flip the script on you for being moody and unreasonable. They are a gas lighting, soul draining, vibe killing group of people and I don’t understand why their reputations are so protected and defended. To most people, these types are well-meaning and any feeling of disrespect on your end is a YOU problem. Me? Well, I just miss the days when I felt as if I were meeting and cultivating true friendships– not doling out the allotted attention that everyone seems to desperately feed on these days.
Respect the Introvert
Don’t get me wrong, I am a performer so I understand the whole “look at me, I need attention” factor. However, in friendships people are supposed to understand you a little bit more. Friends are people who actively choose to be in your life so they are responsible for maintaining a deeper level of respect. Because you care about your friends you don’t take your afraid of heights bff on a roller coaster or to climb the statue of liberty– just as you don’t try to seek unnecessary attention out of friends who are not interested in being your audience members.
Por ejemplo: I tell my work friends that I am not a morning person and I like my space. I am happy to do work and to answer work questions but I do not want anyone crowding into my cubicle asking about my weekend, attempting to pressure me into going to get coffee or chastising me for not eating the donuts that Harold brought in for everyone to share. When my five-year-old has a meltdown that derails my morning routine and I have to listen to the car radio on high volume–in hours of traffic–to drown out the sound of my squeaky brakes, I don’t want to TALK about it! I just want the time to switch gears from mom/road rage driver to co-worker/executive assistant. That’s right, I am an assistant so it is literally my job to pretend to care and fix problems all day. I am fine doing just that without feeling obligated to provide work banter/entertainment and dramatic reactions to the same work gossip we talk about all the time. I don’t want to do it anymore!
I have to find the energy to be the kind of person that engages on that level. Yes, it comes from weed (ha!) but mainly it comes from just being alone and staring at the wall or picking my nose or whatever. After separating from my husband (nearly ten years ago) all of the silence and alone time without him taught me that I don’t get bored easily and I enjoy my own company. If I am sitting alone or busy working on a project it makes me cringe when someone who knows me as a personal friend walks by and says “Aww, are you ok? I know you have a lot of work.” insert fake sympathetic face here. Before I really knew myself this kind of comment triggered my insecurities and I would find myself working extra hard to appear carefree and social—because these people are harmless and they only care about my wellbeing, right?
Generally Good People
…wrong! I had this conversation with my best friend not too long ago and we definitely had a difference of opinion on the topic. At the risk of sounding like a surly individual, I am of the belief that people are not “generally good’. Aside from it being biblical, I have seen it in action which is why we have phrases like “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Many of us would like to think that we are “good people” but most of us are selfish assholes. For me, the beauty of it all is that despite every single one of us being totally fucked up (consciously or unconsciously) we still want to be around each other. Human beings continually make the effort to see past another person’s ugly to get to all the beautiful stuff we like.
The ugly side of vibe killers is that they are selfish people—they want what they want when they want it and they don’t care how it affects the larger group. Sometimes it can be for the attention, controlling the topic of conversation, throwing shade at someone to make themselves feel better or doing the most out of a basic need/desire to be liked. The thing is, not everyone has to like you! (Personally, I think that realization is the key to self-actualization). If you are a high frequency/high maintenance person wanting to dwell in low frequency/low maintenance spaces the solution is simple: lower your frequency, homie. Simplify!
[I feel it’s important to admit here, that introversion has an ugly side and can also be rooted in selfishness. You can’t always expect others to adapt to your need to be left alone. If you made the decision to be out and about at the kind of event that calls for social interaction, the least you can do is not be an incorrigible asshole. Most are willing to make a comfortable space for quiet people and accommodations for shyness, but no one wants to tolerate meanness chalked up to “oh, he/she is just introverted”. That’s a copout!]
Who’s the Real Asshole?
Everyone! Ok, I am only kidding but in my opinion, the best way not to be an asshole is to realize that not everyone operates on the same frequency. I may sound like some kind of hippie astronomer but it’s simply a term I use to point out the fact that we all operate on different energy levels. Some have energy levels that function at a 10 (off the charts/life of the party/in your face) all of the time, while others function at about a 2 (why are people talking to me?/I could go for a nap/I would much rather be Netflixin’ and chillin, right now). If you are like me you can keep your level at about a 4 and pick it up to a 10 on special occasions or if the social setting calls for it. As a performer, I am ok boosting things up on stage then immediately dropping down to a 1 upon leaving the stage. As it turns out, this can make you seem like a murderer so I had to teach myself to keep my energy at an 8 until I am able to leave the event altogether. Whiskey the stage poet is probably a 15—she is ridiculous—while Naomi, (especially as I get older) is more like a 3 or 4.
As I have gone through the trial and error of trying to surround myself with good vibes I realized the simplicity of discovering your own frequency and choosing people that operate on those same levels. I am at my happiest engaged in witty back and forth banter, some kind of controlled or natural substance on deck and I am generally ok with long comfortable silences. I have since tried to gravitate toward other humans who enjoy the same things. This all sounds like a no-brainer but every day each of us meets people that we connect with and want to continue to build upon that connection. However, if you’re like me you get four hangouts in and realize that the person is a moody and unpredictable arsonist that kicks puppies in their spare time and has a raging cocaine habit.
I am a person with no discernment whatsoever, so I’ve had to teach myself to recognize the kind of person least likely to drain my energy. I pay attention to how people rate on my totally made up frequency chart, how people react to drama and gossip (which everybody likes to some extent, I get that) and how they regard me when I am not being my over-the-top stage persona.
The Power of Suggestion
I will add this last thought: the power of suggestion is real. As a creative that has to rely on networking and mixing with so many diverse personality types, it is not always practical for me to pick and choose people with similar vibes to hang out with exclusively. I often find myself thrown into social situations with people I would not normally choose to spend time with. I have had to learn to always speak affirmations in my head to constantly counteract negative speech and energy. There are plenty of well-meaning people on this Earth, but some just aren’t and are more likely to use their words to cast self-doubt inside of you and to feed on your insecurities.
“Wow, you look tired. Are you having a bad day?” they say–knowing that I have been experiencing a rough time and am actively working to overcome it.
“No, I actually feel GREAT!” I respond. Because I do– or at least I can if I meditate on that positivity. I struggle with mental health issues, so during my lowest points that kind of suggestive speech has had the power to damage me in the past. It’s the difference between being around those who want you to succeed and genuinely like you, versus those who benefit and/or are comfortable seeing you down. Negative speech isn’t always a result of malicious intent, it seems to all relate back to selfishness. When I am low, I am more likely to engage in gossip and to be sarcastic and cynical–sometimes that version of me is just more fun to certain types of people. I know of some who try to bring that out of me just for shits and giggles. However, when that person leaves it’s not fun for me to have to sit in that negativity. Lately, I have done my best to seek out mentally strong people who don’t let me dwell in those dark spaces.
Just the other day I was supposed to attend an event with a friend. I was flaking out on him because I’d had a rough day I called out of work and cried on my couch all day. I was on a downward spiral so intense that I didn’t even know how I was going to participate in my own open mic event that I had invested money and promotion into for months. I told him straight up that it was going to take me awhile to get into the head space to be social and make it out to events. His response was, “Take your time…but get there.”
I thought about that for a long time. Apparently, there are people that not only speak positivity into your life but also do not make time or room to enable your bullshit. There was no doubt in him that I could get there and his response let me know that there was empathy but also a desire to see me rise to the occasion. Surrounding myself with people who are of this mindset reinforces my self-esteem. High self-esteem makes me better equipped to protect my vibes when I am thrown into an environment of people who feed on negativity.
Lowkey, I feel as if this whole post is pretty stupid because most people know this stuff already! For me, this has been a journey and I have only recently been able to enjoy a lifestyle of positive self-worth because I realized that the kind of people you allow to take up space in your personal life can disrupt your inner peace. The more I take care of my introvert, form bonds with mentally strong people and reject negative speech, the stronger it makes me. Eventually, I hope to project good vibes wherever I go. If it comes from within me then I will never have to truly worry about someone “killing my vibe” because I will always be good with me.
In the meantime, I invite anyone reading this to remember to be purposeful in everything that you do. All of us should be mindful of the things we say to each other, the impressions we make and the reality that not everyone will like and appreciate all that you are. It is ok to let that shit go. While it is difficult to cultivate a peaceful vibe that fits all personality types, I definitely think there is a way to bring your own secure and positive vibes to the table and those that choose to eat, will.