How Do Other People See You?

You know yourself more than anyone.

You would know if you’re an asshole, a genius, or a violent sociopath, right?

Yeah, that’s right.

That’s the problem.

You know yourself for who you really are, but other people only see what you let them see. They see about 10% of who you actually are as person (if you’re super closed off like me, it’s probably more like 1.5%). That’s not a lot.

In fact, what most people think about you is only 20% what you’ve done and 80% assumptions they’ve made about you.

You make fun of a someone you’re friends with.

Assumption: You’re rude, unfriendly, and unapproachable.

You read books all the time.

Assumption: You’re shy, introverted, and very intelligent.

You make a few bad jokes.

Assumption: You’re annoying, cringey, and stupid.

It doesn’t matter who you really are as a person; it matters what you let people believe about you.

It may sound harsh, but it’s true. You could be hilarious, outgoing, and beautifully shrewd, but people may only see the bland walls you put up around yourself. It’s the same with a serial killer or child rapist. They could pretend to be sociable, kind, and charming while hiding their violent intentions somewhere inside themselves.

Realizing these things made me realize something about myself:

I’m an asshole.

At least, that’s how people see me. I never talk to anyone if my friends aren’t around. If they are around, I’m constantly shoving sarcastic remarks down their throats. When I’m doing something I know I’m good at, I smirk and pop my knuckles, knowing I’ll be in my element. If in a competition with other people, I aggressively fight for the prize–no matter who gets hurt. In soccer, I’ll ram straight into girls on accident because my eyes were locked on the ball. When I add all these things up and picture myself from someone else’s view, I realize the way I present myself.

An arrogant, egotistical, antisocial, sarcastic asshole of a human being.

Yep. That’s me.

Or that’s all I let them see. I have a vulnerable side (as we all do), a cold intellectual side, a friendly side, a shy side, an insane side, and a thoughtful, philosophical side that only comes out when I’m writing. We all have different sides that we keep hidden.

We are all 3-dimensional.

We just never remember that.

I’ve actually met someone who thought that I read books every waking hour of every day. Seriously? Who the hell has time for that?

But I can’t blame him. That’s all he ever saw me do. Sit in the corner, talk to no one, read. That was all I was to him. I didn’t let him see all the other sides of me.

I’ve never let anyone see more than 3 of my sides.

So think about yourself. What do you let other people see about you? What do you keep hidden?

There’s also the other way around. What assumptions have you made about people you barely know? Have you assumed someone’s an asshole and been proven wrong?

We all have. The next time someone hates you for no reason, or the next time you don’t like someone even though you don’t know them, just STOP. Think about it.

We are all 3-dimensional. Even those of us who only let you see 3 of our sides.

P.S. Yes, that’s my beautifully ugly face as the featured image.

I close the novel, “You’re . . . Luke’s mom?”

“You would be correct,” she smiles broadly. “He hasn’t given me many details, but I assume you two were in some sort of argument.”

Your son is a manwhore and tried to fuck me on the riverbank.

“Yes, we had a small disagreement,” I say politely.

-Penny and Mrs. Blu, Insert Name Here

Social Skills? What Social Skills?

I suck at talking to people.

(And I know all of you do, too.)

I can write a poem in under 30 seconds, write an +A research paper in one night (I’ve actually done this before, but that’s another story), and I’ll pen a kick-ass novel in the summer before my freshman year, but give me an opening for a conversion with a cool guy/girl, and I’ll run away screaming. (Side note: was that a run-on sentence? Seems like it. If it is, give me a break. It’s been a long day.)

Also, what’s up with my ears deciding to go deaf if important people start talking to me?

Cute Guy I’ve Been Staring At For 3 Months: Do you sdno fgh ajvncwh?

Hyperventilating-on-the-Inside, Shocked Me: What?

Patient, Wonderful Samaritan of a Boy: Do you have dah ajvncwh?

Struggling-to-not-be-Deaf-in-the-One-Moment-That-Matters-Dammit Me: (smiles awkwardly) What?

Guy Who’s Getting Tired of My Shit: Do you have the nousses?

Sad, Helpless Me: (nods and laughs, hoping this in some way tricks him into thinking I had the slightest clue about what he said)

Confused Boy Who Will Now Forever Avoid Speaking to Me: (awkwardly waits for some other response because my attempt obviously wasn’t enough)

Embarrassed, Flustered Me: (runs out of the classroom sobbing, buys a plane ticket to Canada, and changes my name to Seraphina Pyroclastic)

Disclaimer: The above situation may have been dramatized.

Look, just because my future career is completely built around the written English language, doesn’t mean I’ve mastered the spoken word. Plus, if you go down the path of writing and expect to become more socially skilled, I’d say your delusional.

Being an author isn’t exactly the most extroverted job.

We sit at home, write books, and send them to (if your lucky) a literary agent via email. There’s not a lot of going out and talking to people unless you dabble in writer’s conferences or have a big enough following to have book tours and signings.

“But, Sarah! Authors write amazing dialogue in their books! Doesn’t that help their conversational skills a lot?”

No, not at all. Here’s why.

When you write dialogue, not only do you

  • a. have time to think about what you say,

but you also

  • b. control BOTH sides of the conversation.

So, not only is it a lot like texting, which allows you time to think about what you say before you say it, but it also completely eliminates any fear that would be involved in a real conversation. You can’t be afraid of messing up, because you’re the one deciding whether or not something is embarrassing and if anyone will even say it in the first place. Dialogue in books is not like real-life conversations.

Dialogue is simply an author talking to themselves.

This is, ladies and gents, why you may love the dialogue someone writes, yet meet them in person and experience the most painfully awkward conversation in all of human history.

This is why writing speeches and giving speeches are two different skills.

This is why I suck at talking to people.

“Perhaps, the only one who really despises you is yourself.” –Penny Belle, Insert Name Here