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Help, I care too much what people think!

(24 Posts)
stickercharts Tue 02-Oct-12 19:54:58

I've got a problem that's becoming a bit self-fulfilling. I seem to really care what people think about me - ironically even people I don't respect that much. Please can anyone offer me any advice about how to thicken my skin and care a bit less?

lydiamama Tue 02-Oct-12 19:59:58

Why should you care about those who you do not respect that much?
Forget about those. You only should care about what your family and friends think about you, and the most important of all, about what you think of yourself.
I think in our mind we imagine what the others think, as we really do not know what it is going through their heads, it is more of judging ourselves. If you are happy with your person, that is it. If you want to improve something about yourself, then do it.
And no-one is perfect, so if someone pulls a face, remember, other person will be pulling a face to them in the future, and nobody like judgy individuals.

stickercharts Tue 02-Oct-12 20:05:24

Thank you so much lydia. It confuses me too why I care about people I don't respect very much! I think it's a set of people around here who seem to thrive on gossip. I saw one of them the other week and she said that a few of them had been debating whether I was pregnant again or not. I was shocked to hear they'd been discussing me and something so personal! I know, better to be talked about than not, but incidences like these are making me a bit paranoid about what else they're discussing.

helpyourself Tue 02-Oct-12 20:09:19

"What other people think about me is none of my business"
You need to do things because they're the right thing to do. Not because of what other people might or might not think about you.
You can't control what other people think, but you can control what gets through to you. Avoid gossipers and don't gossip yourself.

peterrabbitismyfriend Tue 02-Oct-12 20:15:42

I worry far too much about this kind of thing too. I'm trying some CBT based techniques to help me cope with it all. (that's cognitive based therapy)

It is helping. It's helping me frame things more positively in my mind so that I don't go round and round in an endless downward spiral of negativity.

I found this book which what's helping.

putthelimeinthecoconut Tue 02-Oct-12 20:16:26

Ug gossips, have no time for them. Just pity them that their lives are so boring or their thinking is so limited that they don't have the capacity to talk about anything other than other peoples lives and be thankful that your life is more interesting than theirs!
I work with a few people like that and all they do is talk about other people, what they do, what they wear etc...I know they must do it about me too, especially as I won't join in. I let it go over my head. It's not worth worrying about.

stickercharts Tue 02-Oct-12 20:18:21

Thank you everyone. I like that line helpyourself, and Peterrabbit thank you for the book link. I've heard about CBT. Any mantras that are helping?

stickercharts Tue 02-Oct-12 20:25:00

Putthelime - thank you. That's another thing that happens, every time I see these particular women (almost without fail), they'll say - 'I like your trousers/scarf/top, where is it from?' and I have no choice but to say where.

Makes me feel a bit rubbish, like I'm only good for what I'm wearing and so they can go off and get it too.

(I like to look nice, but I'm certainly not flash about it).

putthelimeinthecoconut Tue 02-Oct-12 20:31:09

I get that a lot, I usually tell them it's from primark (it usually is blush) but their faces are a picture grin

I think once you make it clear that their opinion isn't important to you they'll give up trying to get a reaction.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 03-Oct-12 10:10:51

First of all, give gossips a wide berth and trade platitudes only... NEVER give out any information no matter how trivial. Any conversational balls that get knocked your way, flick them wide of the off-stump.... "Where is the scarf from?"... "I really can't remember where I got it but DO tell me about your new earrings". They will subsequently talk behind your back and accuse you of being snooty or aloof. This is far better than the alternatives, however smile

How to stop caring? Literally tell yourself 'I don't care about this person's opinion'. Stay busy otherwise and don't try to imagine what they might be thinking or saying when you are not there. IME people with heads that empty are usually thinking about themselves anyway.

Bubblemoon Wed 03-Oct-12 10:24:38

God stickercharts, these people have nothing other than your scarf to talk about! The world is full of vacuous air heads who, educated on Heat magazine, are as shallow as puddles. They drive me blooming insane with their "What shoes will you be wearing to lunch in two Saturday's time?" I don't flipping know what I'm wearing, I'll want it to be something nice on the day, but until then I'm too busy with the things I find important to worry about it and I certainly don't want to work over the subject with you in the interim when I've got a job to do, a dog to walk and my old Dad's lawn to mow.

You'll never change these people, they're happy with heads full of fairy dust and bitter seeds. You know you're lovely, your family and mates do too, bugger off to them.

Doing some charity work if you've got a bit of time might help you. There's nothing like disabled children, lonely oldies or mistreated animals to make you realise what's important in life and it's not these numpties for sure.

stickercharts Wed 03-Oct-12 22:03:46

Thank you all.

Lime - I guess I've got to make it clear to myself first that their opinion isn't important. It really isn't. I must have some issue with needing to be liked, it's ridic.

Cogito - thanks for the tip on conversation diversion and to tell myself 'I don't care', I will really try that. I expect you're so right in your suggestion that they're probably thinking about themselves anyway.

Bubblemoon - Love your expressions and frankness. Shallow as puddles indeed. Fairy dust and bitter seeds. Charity work is such a great idea, and would definitely give me perspective. To be honest, I actually decided to get a job so I could remove myself from all this drivel, and it helps, it really does. It's a great job (part time too), but I have found myself thinking that they, not knowing much about it, probably think 'oh bless her, she's got a lovely little job, like a hobby'. Why do I think that?

Fed up that I keep putting myself down by imagining what they might think! I need to get a grip, I really bloody do.

Thank you all, muchly.

MaMaPo Wed 03-Oct-12 22:12:56

Good luck with it. I have some experience with CBT and I find a very useful concept is the idea of 'the exclusive brain'. Your brain, your mind and the thoughts you have, are really valuable. Don't let just any old shit in there. And like any exclusive restaurant or nightclub, you need a bouncer at the entrance, vetting the thoughts you have, and chucking out the rubbish ones.

Examples of thoughts which violate the dress code and will not be allowed in might be:
- 'Oh no, she thinks I dress horribly, and that's terrible'
- 'God, maybe I have offended her, that would be awful.'

Once these thoughts get 're-dressed', they might say:
- 'Huh, she's checking out what I'm wearing. It's pretty rude of her to be so blatant, but luckily I don't need her approval'
- 'She looks a bit annoyed - I wonder what happened? But I guess how she feels is her problem.'

These latter thoughts are much less unhelpful, and so they're 'allowed in'.

stickercharts Wed 03-Oct-12 22:17:02

MaMaPo - thank you! I love that concept. I'm employing a bouncer for my brain as of tonight! Thank you.

Mumsyblouse Wed 03-Oct-12 23:02:06

Wow, sometime when I meet people I say 'you look nice, where did you get that scarf/dress/those boots from?' I don't want to go out and buy them! I'n being polite and usually admiring something that is really nice. But I'm not invested in the conversation particularly, it's a change from the weather/what did you do last night/what are you up to now' type of initial pleasantry.

I think you are overthinking everyday general chit-chat and investing it in much more significance than it really has. If you work in any type of social group, people may talk about you. So what? You can't stop people from gossping, and perhaps you even do it yourself.

My tip would be a) don't care what others think too much and b) find one really nice colleague or friend and team up with them for lunch or for a coffee, that way you get to enjoy your social time at work without worrrying about being part of a possibly quite bitchy gang.

But really, the scarf remarks are not made to put you down, I think a little perspective is needed.

stickercharts Fri 05-Oct-12 11:36:34

Thank you Mumsy, of course you are right about the scarf and perspective. Incidentally, today's scarf was commented on and asked where from. I'm just laughing about it now.

SaraBellumHertz Fri 05-Oct-12 15:12:50

Totally with mumsy on this - a compliment on your scarf is just that: someone fleetingly admiring your scarf to be polite confused

People are being friendly.

stickercharts Fri 05-Oct-12 22:38:05

Yes, you're right, thank you! Perspective well and truly grasped now. As an aside though, when people compliment you on an item though, do they always ask you where it's from too? I find this a bit odd you see. Happens every time. Maybe it's just these particular people.

Walkacrossthesand Sat 06-Oct-12 07:49:25

If i say 'ooh, thats nice' , the 'wheres it from' is a kind of reinforcing statement ie its so nice i might want to get one for myself..-- I never do, of course, but as one who hates clothes shopping & is fairly uninterested in clothes, fashion etc, knowing where people who do choose clothes i like, have got them from, subliminally directs me next time i need something!--

Walkacrossthesand Sat 06-Oct-12 07:50:46

PS I tried to do the crossing-out thing there with the -- but it didn't work

SaraBellumHertz Sat 06-Oct-12 08:05:15

I think the asking where it is from is for two reasons, or at least it is when I do it.

Either I genuinely want to know because I want one/think it might make a good gift for my sister/am genuinely curious or it's just an extension of the polite conversation.

I'm not perfect but honestly I have never asked someone where an item of clothing is from with the intention of then being mean about it

Mumsyblouse Sat 06-Oct-12 08:28:34

Ok, the scarf thing was a bit of a red herring. If you don't want to say where your scarf is from, just say 'oh I can't remember'. But usually it is a compliment (I never ask where things are from, but I do admire things I think are pretty or unusual on a colleague).

It is also true that workplaces can be pretty gossipy, so if that is bothering you, keep away from the main offenders (be polite, don't seek them out so they think you love a gossip) and look a bit vague when they start up, just don't join in. And as I say, find one or two really nice colleagues and ask them for a coffee.

Your original question was about why you think so much of what others say, it's hard if you feel you are the object of discussion, but remember, it's likely to be very fleeting, you are interesting, but not THAT interesting to anyone else (who is thinking about themselves much more than about you). The tips on CBT will help enormously in putting these 'oh god, what are they saying about me' thoughts into perspective.

But you can't change other people's behaviour, especially gossiping in an office, just shield yourself from it and carry on your own far more interesting life.

FrustratedSycamorePants Sat 06-Oct-12 08:43:31

sticker I don't think that asking about clothes and where they are from is malicious, or at least I never take it as such
I usually reply with something like either
(Shop x) but I couldn't decide between this one and the blue one.
eBay, and it still had the tags on and such a bargain.

I ask people where they got items from, genuinely because I like the item, but I do then ask if there were other colours.

stickercharts Sat 06-Oct-12 13:53:34

Thanks everyone. I'm feeling a bit silly now about the whole scarf thing.

I suppose the crux of the matter is not the scarves, the compliments, nor the 'where froms?' but the group of women they come from. The women in question, are unfortunately rather superficial - clothes and material things are all they seem to want to talk about and matter to them. For example, one recently told me she was off to buy 'school dropping-off outfits'. Yes, really.

I have other friends who are not this way! So I'm just going to spend more time with them, and I'll feel better. I don't care what these, my true, good friends think, I don't have to, because they're my friends and I never feel judged by them, just valued and loved.

So there, I think I've found my answer.

Thank you all again!

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