Friday, February 13, 2009

I wonder what they're thinking about me...

"We probably wouldn't worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do."
~Olin Miller

This is a common worry. People want to impress those around us. The hard part is guessing when the other person is actually paying attention to what you do. So, you have to safeguard every movement, every clothing article, and act perfectly so no one can think bad of you. Want to know a secret? They probably aren't paying attention! They don't think about everything you do!

I struggle with keeping a level head in some situations. My car is a loud car. It rumbles and squeaks and generally makes noises. I'll drive down the road and see people turn their heads. "What is that hideous sound? Who would drive a car so loud?" At least, I think that's what they are thinking. One day I was driving one of my friends to an activity. We stopped at a light and the car next to me stopped as well. A girl in the passenger seat looked over at me, made eye contact, and turned away laughing. "She's laughing at my loud car!" I exclaimed. My friend looked at me in disbelief and asked if I actually thought she was laughing at me. In other words, they don't really care; it's not about you. I had to admit they were probably not even thinking about me or anything to do with me.

It may sound pathetic, but it is easy to confuse reality and paranoia. If you are sitting somewhere, and people look at you and laugh, its easy to think they are laughing at you. It may just have been a passing glance, or their companion said something funny. Chances are those people haven't thought or spoken about you at all.

As you've been writing your posts, you have deleted sentences and reworded thoughts because of the perception of the reader. How will they take that comment? Will they think I'm a shallow person? In all reality, I have no idea if anyone will read this post. So I will write what I think without the basis of peer criticism. My thoughts shouldn't be changed because of possible mockery or fear of upsetting people. Yes, the temptation is there, and I heed to it a lot. I can only work harder to not care about other people's thoughts.

Basically, we think people think about us all the time. In reality, we probably aren't in their thought process at all. We should live our lives without the thought of being under a microscope. There would probably be a difference in how we go through each day.


  1. So, I have to give you kudos. I think that this was a very good blog entry, becasue it relates to everyone; and to those who say they don't care what other people think and that they don't try to impress other people are lying. We all do it. I often wonder if people are talking about me or laughing at me, too. Thanks for putting this into perspective. Next time I believe someone is talking about me or something, I will try and remember this and realize that they most likely aren't talking about me.

  2. I agree with almost all of what you said. But I want to bring up another point. Would this world really be better if people always did what they wanted to do without considering other people? For instance, even a job interview would be so different. Neither of the people would dress nicely, they would be rude, and they wouldn't get the respect desired. So, I am saying that people need to give some of themselves in order to get what they might really want in the long term.

  3. I liked this observation a lot. It is very true. I find myself i a daze or just scanning a room and I will accidently make eye-contact with someone; its very awkward. It feels like you can see the wheels turning in the other persons' mind.

    You wonder what they took out of that contact and then you try to figure out why they looked at you. This process is way to complicated and meaningless. Most times people aren't thinking anything at all, and that is something helpful to remember.