"Now what did he mean when he said that?" Often, we don't realise they weren't thinking anything at all! Image courtesy of Master Major Images at freedigitalphotos.net
Being social creatures, it is naturally and absolutely normal to desire the approval of important others in our lives.
We worry about this to varying extents, depending on how confident we are in ourselves, our level of trait anxiety, and certain past environments that may have fostered self-doubt.
Now, I'm not saying that no-one talks about anyone else. We all know that's a fact. However, the good news is, we take up less than probably one percent of their thoughts. That's just an arbitrary figure. What I am trying to say is that most people are focussed on their own lives, with their own worries, and have better things to do than to talk about us! And if they are friends, it certainly would be unlikely to be malicious talk.
Certainly in certain circumstances if there has been conflict, or a loved family member is unwell, more thought will go toward them.
That's not to say people don't think of us, but if we get paranoid and think they're doing it all the time, with malicious intent, then perhaps
1. We need to check out the facts....we have to be careful here by not insulting the other person into thinking they, as a friend, would do that
2. Think about what could be going on in their lives. They have their own interests, jobs, family, other friends, health issues, perhaps financial issues.
3. If you have ever changed yourself to be more likeable to others (and I admit I have when I was younger) you are at risk of being inauthentic or even dishonest. Be who you are. Honesty is a very likeable trait, even though everything you do might not be approved of one hundred percent,
4, Being a person who does worry what others think, I believe I need to adopt the practice of asking about others, what's going on in their lives (to an appropriate degree depending on how well you know them)
5. However, know you're normal. I think it's part of the human condition to seek approbation and want to fit in. We'll never fit in with everyone. We're all different. None of us will have everyone like us all of the time, as the saying goes. And we can't expect it. So if anything at least limit yourself to close friends.
6. Practically it's a waste of time. I remember sitting for hours wondering "I wonder what they meant by that" and could interpret it a billion ways. I was a bit younger then, and it's embarrassing to admit, but I am surely not the only one.
Be the best version of you. You are unique.
Besides which you can't control what others think. You aren't nor should you wish to be privy to their thoughts. Everyone will and has the right to their own opinion. It might not be based on fact. However, I am no angel and probably jump to conclusions too.
However, forget about you. Focus on others. I am not saying other people do this that much. I am more saying it's what I need to do.
It's not selfishness, it's a normal desire to fit in.