The more life I live, the less I let people into my heart. When I was younger, I often got taken advantage of. I was too nice; too welcoming; too naive. I was always told I need to “toughen up.” Well, I’ve toughened up now, whether it’s for the worse or better.
It used to be so easy for me to relate to people. I truly approached strangers in a way that was so positive. I thought everyone had good intentions. Conversation came easy; relating came easy; opening up came easy. Now that I’ve grown up and met a plethora of people and have been caught in situations I don’t want to be in, I’ve closed up a bit.
According to the Briggs Meyer Personality Test, I am an “INFJ.” In short, it claims I’m pretty much the most extroverted introvert of the bunch. I believe this to be true. When I need to, I can be social, but ultimately, it’s tiresome for me and I need to recharge with some alone time. It’s harder for me to make friends now than it was when I was younger. I have this little voice in my head that keeps me from truly opening up to people fully, even if they’ve given me no reason to hide. Even some people that I’ve known for years I still don’t feel totally comfortable with, even though they’ve been great, loyal friends to me. It’s hard because it makes me feel extremely isolated in a sense, even if I can say “I have X amount of friends.”
I think where this fear comes from is the scars from the times I’ve been burned by people. In my naivety, I’ve opened up to people who didn’t have my best interest at heart. They didn’t care about my problems; they cared about having something to gossip about. The second we got into a disagreement, they shed their friendly demeanors and revealed who they truly were. People who I felt I could really, truly trust. This has left me scarred in a sense that I now have a very hard time figuring out who I can trust; who truly cares about me as a person. Is me opening up just a juicy story for them? Are they using me for some sort of step in their climb to some place in society? Am I just merely a form of entertainment for people?
It seems to some, words are just words. They are empty, meaningless sounds you can echo to anyone for the sake of manipulating people. Do these people do this willingly? I don’t know. I’m not sure if they even realize what they’re doing. Maybe they truly mean what they’re saying at the moment, but have such turbulent emotions that it could flip in an instant. Maybe they are actually calculating every move they make, in order to gain some sort of power over you. I’m not 100% sure how to tell if someone is being their true, authentic selves or not. There’s a lot of snakes in this jungle of life. All you can really do is follow your gut. But if something feels off, if you catch them in lies, if they have an inflated view of themselves or you can’t have rational disagreements with them, don’t let them into your inner circle. You’ll get bitten.