T Nation

Developing Personality Tips?

DAN C: As far as “nice guy syndrome,” that’s what I’m trying to avoid. My personal take is that most nice guys are boring, and that they’re essentially boring because they SEE themselves as being “nice guys,” who will bend over backwards to accommodate a woman, rather than challenging her and making her work for it. The other thing a lot of “nice guys” tend to do is complain. Saying “oh, women don’t like me,” while secretly hoping that the woman they’re saying this to is going to give them validation and say “No, no, I like you.” I’ll probably never be a “novelty seeking” personality type, but I’d like to develop some of those traits and be able to communicate that to anyone, not just women.

Chris: I tend to agree with a lot of what Freud says (just finished a paper on terrorism, Kristeva’s concept of abjection, and the Oedipal conflict). I’m not looking to change my core personality, whatever that may be. I do, however, have difficulty assessing and responding to social cues, and I’d like to be a funnier person.

Boston Barrister: Yeah, I can definitely get into psychological and political discussions/arguments without a problem. I can actually discuss a wide range of topics, but I have difficulty just being a “fun guy.” Maybe I should go vice shopping. I’ve never really liked hanging around drunks, though…

jackzepplin: I wouldn’t say I’m afraid… I really don’t have problems saying just about anything to anyone. It’s more that I just don’t have anything to say. Like I said, getting into the details of Sartre and Freud’s views on group violence just doesn’t turn most people on :). I need to learn how to interact with people in non-academic ways!

call dr. phil

Chris Shugart
What is the Jungian take on that? I ask because someone recently recommended reading some Carl Jung to me.

Hrm, I think you definately need to be yourself and not try to change. The fact that you think you are boring probably comes off to other people. People can read these things subconsiously and will react to them, Probably by not talking to you.

I have a very good core group of friends, we all have different personalities and they compliment each other. If you are happy with who you are, then I think other people will suddenly begin to appreciate your lack of small talk and boring nature. I can picture you being the responsible father type, being the driver for your friends. In the beginning of the night you pretty much sit there and drink water in the corner by yourself. Then as the night goes on, maybe you start conversing more with your friends on larger picture type topics, like the meaning of life or how beer is made or something that their alchohol laden brains find fascinating. Then since you are the only sober one left, you get to boss them around and act like dad, which is pretty fun. The next day you can tell them about all the funny or stupid shit they did because they can’t remember.

Every good group of friends needs someone like you. Be proud of who you are. Plus that hot chick over in the other corner who is looking for a responsible take charge guy, is watching you all night and she likes what she sees!

peace!

Nephorm
You just sound like you are very introverted.
I agree most of the topics you would like to discuss are way above what most people can relate to. I have a cousin like that very intelligent but its like pulling teeth to get a word out of him, but if you give him a few beers he won’t shut up!

Nephorm - first of all stop complaining, nobody likes a whiner. I know this guy that is a chronic whiner, every time I talk to this guy he is complaining about something, needless to say I try to avoid him like the plague.

second, everybodys favorite subject is themselves, if you feel a loss for something to talk about, start asking questions about the person you are talking to, this way you can direct the whole conversation and they can do most of the talking. You might even learn that you have something in common, and commonality is the basis for all friendship!

Just relax and dont force it, and remember to smile, dammit!

nephorm:

Why can’t you meet an “academic-type” chick if you’re into that stuff. I think there are plenty of chicks who want to have good/deep conversations. Try coffee houses, bookstores, etc. Hey, accept who you are… as others here have alluded to.

Elkhntr1, Jung was the first person to identify introverted and extroverted personality types. He believed these were in-born traits that manifest in early childhood. In other words, nature, not nurture.

You said that you don’t really have anything to talk about once you are done complaining and I find that hard to believe, your answers here are always extremely intelligent and articulate.

I agree with those who have suggested that maybe you are not so much lacking personality, but a little introverted. You mentioned that all you do is complain and I think that people who complain all the time often use that as a defense mechanism, same as people who are “funny” all the time. It keeps people at a distance and makes it difficult for you to really connect with anybody which it sort of sound like you have a hard time doing.

Rather than a stand-up comedy class, I would recommend an improv class. It would be ideal if you could find someone who is Second City trained. Improv is not comedy, although it is really fun. For starters, it puts you with a very diverse group of people you would never otherwise meet. It takes you way out of your comfort zone and force to to interact with people in alot of different ways. Ultimately it is just about self awareness, it will teach you to be much more comfortable with yourself and with how you relate to other people. It teaches you how to really sincerely listen to people and if you can do that I think the rest will take care of itself. You have always struck me as being a bit on the serious and improv would definetely help you loosen up.

I respectfully disagree that you should start drinking. Despite joking about it on other threads I actually quit drinking about 6 years ago. Just got bored with it and got sick of hanging out with drunks. Plus, if you are already a complainer, you’ll just be a drunk complainer and nobody wants that ;).

Nep (I’ll try to get the name right this time), don’t let anyone discourage you. There are exceptions to every rule, so if you really want to change yourself in some way, you probably can.

Your personality is made up of lots of things, some that you don’t need to change or probably want to change, such as your beliefs and values. However, things like your confidence, your ability to be speak to people in a way they understand, your ability to track items of interest to the common person and so on are entirely under your control.

When I referred to making friends with someone who makes fun of you a lot, I wasn’t kidding. In high school days I was a mondo geek. I made friends with one of the cool outgoing people that everyone liked, and yeah, he made fun of me a lot. I learned to be mentally sharp on social topics because otherwise my buddy would catch me flat footed and make fun of me in a good sort of way.

Put the effort in to be good at something. If you are good at something people want to talk to you about it. This applies to just about anything – for example, in high school my buddy could impress the girls by blowing smoke rings or breathe smoke out his nose and in his mouth. It’s moronic, but didn’t it give the girls an excuse to go slobber on his knob.

So, I’m not suggesting you take up smoking, but find social things that people are doing and put in the effort to be good at something. Maybe frisbee, skateboarding or something. If you aren’t coordinated and are gifted mentally, then go hang with the smart kids at the chess club. There are lots of different social groups that will appreciate different things.

Also, I’m not trying to gear this to a young age, it is just the only time I’ve worried about this type of thing in the last 20 years. I’m sure you can apply this to workplace, career and hobby if you are a bit older. Given a will, consistent effort and plenty of time, you can make changes in areas that will make you happier, even if it is only developing more self-confidence in yourself.

Hmm, on another note, don’t feel you have to be nice all the time. One of the things I’ve slowly learned to appreciate is people that have an attitude. As long as they aren’t beating the stuffing out of me, I think they are interesting. This goes for men or women. Who wants a bf/gf who doesn’t have any opinions and never has any interesting ideas about anything?

Figure out your opinions on things and don’t be afraid to stand up for what you think is appropriate. Whatever your stance, there will be other people that will agree with you.

Shugart
Thank you for responding. I look forward to learning more about the Jungian perspective.

Sabrina
I love you! J/K, but I do have a high regard for your smarts and wisdom!

Neph…

Dude, I always thought you were a pretty fart smeller… I mean smart feller so it’s disheartening to see that you think you lack personality.

Two day old oatmeal is no way to be…

I don’t know how much you swear, my guess is that you don’t. Sometimes, in general conversation, dropping an F-bomb (strategically placed of course) gives you an edge, makes people thing you’re a little bit more of a “Roadhouse” guy rather than a straight laced, buttoned down no-personality shell of a man.

Just a quick thought…

Take care dude,
B.

Sabrina is right on target!