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Feeling like an imposter

Discussion in 'General Support and Advice' started by Cashew, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. Cashew

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    I've started volunteering at a local LGBT group and I had a nice time but I can't help but feel really awkward and uncomfortable and like I don't belong. They have invited me to come back to another event this week and even though I know that I definitely should go, I am just so nervous about going back. I just feel like everyone is so much better than me and I can't stop feeling like a spare part. I don't know why this is such an issue as I'm normally pretty sociable.
    I wish I could stop feeling like this and just go along and relax and enjoy it and stop thinking about it so much.
     
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  2. LostInDaydreams

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    In what way do you feel that they are better than you? Is it because you’re relatively new? I’m sure you’ll pick it up with time and they’re invited you back. Go along a few more times, see if you can settle in a bit.
     
  3. BiGemini87

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    I'm definitely no expert, but I think it's important that you try to suss out where these feelings are stemming from. Chances are, no one else sees you as an imposter or thinks less of you and this is simply a case of adapting to a new situation. Have you ever done volunteer work like this before? If so, has it ever been in a capacity close to your heart (like the LGBT)?

    Give yourself time. I'm sure the more you participate, the more comfortable you'll become and the more you'll be able to contribute. :slight_smile:
     
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  4. Cashew

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    It sounds ridiculous writing this but I think because they seem like more experienced lgbt people... I keep worrying about saying the wrong thing or using the wrong pronoun. It’s pretty silly I know.
    I don’t have many lgbt+ friends so it just felt a bit overwhelming to be surrounded by lgbt+ people even though I am one of them too!
    I didn’t go to the event as I was too anxious but I definitely do want to go back again another time.
     
  5. Cashew

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    Thanks :slight_smile:
    This is the first time. I think maybe I was just overwhelmed. I have done loads of volunteering before but not around LGBT+ people. I don’t know why but I always feel nervous around LGBT+ people when I should feel at home with them. I just seem to totally calm up. I think it’s because I am relatively newly out and I’m worried people will judge me for this.
     
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  6. beenthrdonetht

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    That seems like a pretty good sign, I mean somebody had to want you back.

    Knowing the problem is half the solution! Of course you have found that trying not to think about something doesn't work. (Meditation may help.) Time is on your side here, as in it will get better, and you will get better at it.
     
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  7. Aussie792

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    Being of a sexual minority isn't a profession. There's no way to get it right and you should be relaxed about that to the extent that you can.

    You should also be careful to distinguish between whether you feel like an imposter because of internal insecurity, or because they're weird, cultish and react with unreasonable social exclusion for not fitting in.

    If it's the former, keep going, stay aware that there's no 'test' as to how much you belong and meet new friends. It'll improve over time. If it's the latter, consider whether they're the right crowd for you and whether continuing will make you more uncomfortable.
     
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  8. Cashew

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    Thanks, this is a very insightful comment. Actually I still went back and have gone a few times and I still feel uncomfortable. I think the issue is actually that that are quite cliquey and it has been difficult to move beyond surface level conversations with people....
    I’m toying with whether or not I should continue to go. I feel bad because I have committed to helping out but to be honest when I’m there I don’t actually feel very welcome. There is one person in particular who is quite powerful who I think has just taken a dislike to me and I can’t figure out why. I’m usually quite popular and likeable.
     
  9. IronGospel

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    Then don’t stay if you think there might be some signs of you not being welcome. Just because they are LGBT doesn’t necessarily make them nice, it’s a reality that sometimes those who have been discriminated against do so to others. It’s up to you but just know you aren’t obligated to stay.
     
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  10. Really

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    Hey. I think you should keep going. For a bit anyway. You never know who new might show up and be the one friendly person who breaks the ice properly. Either a regular who hasn’t been there so far or another newbie you could make friends with. :}
    If you just keep showing up and being your usual cool self, I’m sure the others will warm up. I know what that’s like. I go to a running group where some of the others where quite meh in the beginning but give me the biggest greeting now. People are hard. For everyone. :] I’m sure they’re not deciding to ignore you, they’re just bumbling their way through human interaction like the rest of us.

    Oh and nobody is going to think anything about your lgbt “status”. I’ve been to a few lesbian meetups and it’s never come up. Nobody assumes one way or the other and nobody specifically asks about anything that could be construed as needing “proof”. You’re fine.
     
    #10 Really, Dec 9, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
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  11. Cashew

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  12. Cashew

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    @IronGospel you’re right- you’d expect lgbt+ people to be more compassionate but not always the case unfortunately.
     
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  13. Cashew

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    Thanks for the positivity and optimism. You're totally right - everyone does have their own shit going on. I actually went again last week and had much better time. I think the ice is melting somewhat. I'm glad I went as I was so close to giving up but sometimes you just need to persevere!
     
  14. Really

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    I’m glad it got better. I’m sure it’ll be fine and even good ultimately. :]
    Have fun!
     
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  15. AutismCay

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    Oh don't worry just keep going and wait for it to feel normal. Some people are awkward around new people!
     
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  16. Cashew

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    Just to provide an update. I have ended up giving up on this group. I just felt like I put a lot of effort in and they just weren't that interested in me or very nice to me. It's meant to be a feminist space but they seemed to give priority mostly to males. I was the only lesbian and I hope that this was not the reason but I just didn't feel welcome at all. It was so cliquey and I honestly I don't know what I did or said but a few of them really just couldn't withhold their destain for me. A few times I met them out and about socially and I went up and said hello and they were so rude, barely even speaking to me and honestly just looked at me like I was a piece of shit. Its weird because I'm generally quite a sociable, friendly person so I honestly don't know what I did wrong. I have heard from others that the area I'm living in does have quite a cliquey LGBTQ+ scene so it maybe it just is that I wasn't in with the 'in crowd' and maybe I just needed to hang around and earn their favours but it just felt like it was a lot of effort and there wasn't anyone anyway I could really see myself being friends with.
    It's disappointing but hopefully this is just a bump in the road and there will be more groups out there more inclusive people to meet.

    Thanks for all your responses & support!
     
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  17. LostInDaydreams

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    I’m really sorry that you’ve had a poor experience, @Cashew, but it’s good that you’ve recognised the fault is with their attitude and it’s not put you off trying another group.

    Perhaps you could try setting up a meetup for everyone that’s not part of the in-crowd?
     
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  18. Cashew

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    Thanks @LostInDaydreams yes definitely something to think about!
     
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  19. silverhalo

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    I am going to bet that you did nothing wrong and its just that they arent a particularly nice group to hang out with. I can imagine it is really disappointing but I hope it wont put you off trying again. I am sure there are lots of people out there that would love to hang out with you.