I Just Got Called Out By Someone I’ve Never Met

Shyness: a double whammy

If you are socially anxious (otherwise known as shy), you likely fret that you don’t come off well. Unfortunately, you’re probably right. Shy people convey unflattering impressions of themselves, says DePaulo. But not for the reasons they think. People don’t see them as lacking in smarts, wit or attractiveness but as haughty and detached. When you’re anxious, you fail to ask others about themselves or put them at ease in any way, which can be seen as rude and self-centered.

In a way, many shy people are self-centered, points out Bernie Carducci, psychologist at Indiana University Southeast and author of Shyness: A Bold New Approach. They imagine that everyone is watching and evaluating their every move. They think they are the center of any social interaction, and because they can’t stand that, they shut down (unlike an exhibitionist, who would relish it). Socially anxious people are so busy tracking what others think that they can’t act spontaneously. Still, many people find them endearing, precisely because they don’t hog attention.

via Metaperceptions: How Do You See Yourself? | Psychology Today

Being self-centered isn’t just for extroverts anymore. (Not trying to be snarky – the statement in the above quote is true.) Preoccupation with your reputation is grounds for elimination from further consideration of your transformation from mere vacillation to emancipation.

In other words, if people find out how selfish you are, they will no longer hope for you to be free.

The irony is that “haughty and detached” is often the last things that a shy person wants to be. But then, “self-centered” is the worst. It’s a cause for guilt, and as you might imagine, a shy person gives in to guilt like a crater gives in to a meteor. The introspective personality catches on to this dynamic quickly, but knows not what to do with the realization. The reaction is emotional. Changing emotional states is easy for few, introvert or extrovert. Thus, the introvert feels stuck.

I “don’t come off well”, as I may have already admitted. I got over not being “the center of any social interaction”, but then again, I’m in my forties. Now I’m more of a social sniper: The well-timed comment or quip goes further than the speech, has more impact, and is easily more memorable. Let the blow-hards have their way, but the cunning will seize the day.

In cyberspace, no one can hear you laugh.

via Metaperceptions: How Do You See Yourself? | Psychology Today

I really enjoyed the article linked above. Truly fascinating, and it gives anyone plenty to talk about. Print it and bust this out at your next gathering. Guaranteed to weird some people out, bum out a few more, encourage accusations. People’s heads will hurt. There’s a chance you won’t be invited back. You should definitely do this.

from the article:

“…”metaperceptions” – the ideas we have about others’ ideas about us.”

I don’t know what you’ll think of me for saying this, but my unfortunate preoccupation is in trying to figure out what others think of me. I was always an individualist, always trying to be independent of the influence of others. I end up, against my will, falling into the typical Aries hypocrite. I’m eccentric in my own special way, and fiercely proud of it. I might as well be proud of it because I’m no good at putting on an act. Besides, acting all day long, every day in real life is self-torture. If everybody would just be their own weird selves, we’d all get used to it and no one would get to call anyone else weird without in turn also being called a hypocrite.

However, I do hide quite a bit of myself. I don’t do it for a conscious reason, and I wish that I didn’t.

Try as I have, I can’t shake the worry that I’ve misrepresented myself and caused a reaction in someone else that I didn’t want or intend. I’ve always been socially awkward, so I’ve been stung by this situation many times. People treating me in a manner befitting someone else’s personality, someone I don’t recognize…it’s troubling. And you don’t always get a decent chance to remedy a false impression.

“Your ideas about what others think of you hinge on your self-concept—your own beliefs about who you are. “You filter the cues that you get from others through your self-concept,” explains Mark Leary, professor of psychology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.”

This is one of the reasons why I learned to be funny in conversation: When people laugh at your witticism, they display (and announce) approval of you for having told the joke. And if they know I made it up myself, then that’s approval of me. My sense of humor is deeply personal. I get as much of a thrill out of a witty comment (pride, the good kind) as the person who laughed. I imagine some of their synapses firing, making a connection that wasn’t there before. With certain people, I imagine it as a spark in their mind, a case of me bringing light into an otherwise dark and dreary place.

Writing a blog is a different animal. If I make you laugh, I don’t get to hear it. I don’t get to see it. Unless you communicate to me in comments, I won’t know. My point is, at least at the moment it seems like I’m performing for the void, sending signals into space. I don’t know if there will be any feedback. There is no metaperception to be had. Just gotta have faith that my message in a bottle comes back with a new note inside.

In yesterday’s post, I introduced the concept of the Johari Window. This article has much to do with two panes of the window – the one known as the “Blind Spot”, and the other, (un)known as the “Unknown”. Check it out, yo!

Watch Yourself Through a Johari Window

via Johari Window – take the test online

Above is a link to a site by Kevan Davis that allows you and your chosen friends to participate in the creation of a Johari Window all about you. On the same site, here’s the link for the “Nohari Window” – even better!


A Johari Window is a model of the self that can help people take a step closer to self-awareness. It is food for thought, but powerful enough to be its own buffet – it has the potential to bring up a cornucopia of questions, but will leave you starving to know more about yourself.

The “Window” is simply four panes, drawn simply as a square cut into fourths. Even Americans can do that for themselves.

The upper left pane is the “Arena”: the you that you see in yourself, and that others can see as well. Show-off.

The lower left pane is the “Facade”: the you that you see in yourself, but that others cannot see. You big fraud.

The upper right pane is the “Blind Spot”: the you that you are in denial of or cannot see, but others see clearly. (I think this is the one that worries me the most.)

The lower right pane is the “Unknown”: neither you or anyone else can see this part of you. How exciting! The you we never knew.

I said in my last post that personality tests should aspire to more than being a reflection of your opinion of yourself. You and I both know too many people with a skewed impression of themselves to take any stock in that. You might want to know what Kanye West scored on his test, but it’s not like it will change your opinion of him. If there were a way to allow others who know you well to contribute, the tests can be much more meaningful. Anything to protect you from handing your money over to Tony Robbins.

Though technically you could simply ask loved ones to take a personality test with you in mind, with how they see you, it’s not clean and easy (even worse than your facade to them muddies the results). I haven’t been introduced to a test that is designed for the input of others, save the one linked at the top of the post. (I don’t know so much yet, so I’m hoping I get to edit this post when (if) I find one.) (I want you to pay for your crimes.)

Ye Olde Myers-Briggs

via MBTIonline.com | The Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Currently one of the most well-known personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. I’m not trying to disparage it by saying that the last time I took this test I came out a four-way tie. That’s not really their fault, that’s the story of my life. Allow me this aside:

My astrology chart is fairly well-balanced around the wheel, which for me means that I’m pulled in different directions at once. I’m some of this, but also that, and I land in an in-between place that is neither here nor there. I’d make a horrible Nazi. That’s part of why I’m attracted to the subject of personality: I appreciate the peculiar and often humorous traits of others, but I also need to – you guessed it – get a grip on myself. But a couple jots better than Britney Spears does.

If you hear anyone talk of being a personality type and rattling off four letters that are unpronounceable together, that person may have taken the Myers-Briggs (or another test based on the same/similar concept, such as 16 Personalities. Both were launched from the work of Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, who, in his 1921 book Psychological Types, laid the conceptual groundwork these tests stand upon).

16 Personalitites.com

I think of myself as an INTJ (Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging) type, or as 16 Personalities puts it, an “Architect”. Yet again, in their test, I came out nearly a 4-way tie (though technically a 2-way tie).

I think these tests are wonderful, and everyone should take them. Take all personality tests, for that matter. There is no real harm. But what does eat at me is that they are only asking me about me. My perception of myself, no matter how honest I think I’m being, is most likely skewed.

Were these tests handed to friends (let’s do it) and family (shudder), I expect the results would be different. I think me next post will be about the Johari window, and how best to clean it.


I know individuals who are “outspoken” by voicing opinions and displaying traits that go against the “regional” average personality, crossing the line of what’s socially acceptable where they live. Let’s say that one of these individuals lived in the same town his whole life, until he takes a very extensive trip around the world, lives in various place and gets to know people in a number of different cultures. Years later he returns to the town he originally lived. He now can see the difference between his hometown’s culture and other cultures. If most of the other cultures he exposed himself to tolerated his personality easily, does he readjust his perception of himself? Does he turn a critical eye toward his hometown? I sure hope so. I wonder what Dolly Parton’s take is on this.

The way you describe your personality traits is in relation to a perceived average, how you describe the “average person”. I only say this to acknowledge it, the subjectivity of it, or better yet the subjective idea of objectivity of it. Are you following me so far?

There’s a lot I’m not accounting for here, or at least haven’t addressed yet, such as the difference or relationship between behavior and the personality, or Woody Allen. Think of going out with your girlfriend when she feels like she’s got something to prove, and the disaster she half-calculated it would be.

In my hypothetical individual and his hypothetical trip abroad, he’s living in comfort, the places he lives are in stable condition without turmoil or desperation. The economy is good, it was before the 2016 election, there was a sense of relative stability. That’s not reality now, but I need something to hold still long enough for us to look at it under a magnifying glass.

So is there an objective human personality? Some standard we can compare ourselves against? George Clooney, even? I hope that in my research I find someone who can argue that there is or isn’t such a thing, one way or the other. I don’t mind being proven wrong, as long as it’s proven in the real world, not Fox News “proven”.


This blog is about the subject of personality of the individual person. It is not, however, as the character Abigail Williams in The Crucible put it, “a respecter of persons”. I have some awful things to say (and jokes to make) about certain personality traits and the people who currently possess them.

If I’m going to write under a nom de plume you can be sure I’m not going to hold back.

My goal is to bring a wide range of perspectives, insights, models and tests into one place where it is all easily accessible and useful to you. If I set the tags up right, it should work.

I have an education, but it’s not in a field related to this topic, and I’m not going to pretend to sound like it is. I don’t know the lingo. I would use the correct jargon if I knew it. I suppose I’ll pick it up as I go along. That doesn’t mean that I don’t take the subject seriously or lack respect for the ideas of professionals in the field. I’m learning as I go, and will try to step carefully. I may have to go the long way around an idea, in the absence of realizing the most concise expression.

This blog isn’t about me, but it is unavoidable that my personality will be on full display in much of what I write. If you wrote this blog, wouldn’t yours?

“Personality” may mean different things to different people. It shouldn’t. Our perception of the topic is an important place to start.

Merriam-Webster says:

Personality: “3 a :  the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual or a nation or group; especially :  the totality of an individual’s behavioral and emotional characteristics b :  a set of distinctive traits and characteristics of the city” source

Again, in this blog my concentration is on the individual, not a group or location or nation. The influence of an individual’s environment on his/her personality is a topic for other posts, and hopefully there’ll be many. There’s no denying its importance, but keeping in mind that the personality people present in their environment (emphasizing certain traits, downplaying others) is not their true personality. That’s just fakery. Or at the very least, they are trained to behave a certain way, and that’s what comes out.