Why do I come off as arrogant when I am actually shy/not outgoing?

Anonymous
I'm a pretty quiet guy and have been for as long as I can remember. I first realized this back in 8th grade when I moved to a new school and a lot of the popular girls had a crush on me. So after the second week I had "officially" joined the popular club. And I hated it. I know most people would love to be in that position but not guys like me who are shy/not as outgoing. It was all constant attention especially since I was the new kid...and the girls seemed to love making me blush, which was super easy to do and still is :| .

After about a month I realized that I didn't really have much in common with most of the other popular kids so I started distancing myself from them. I started talking to other people and found a few guys that I actually enjoyed being around. So one day at lunch I sat down with them instead of sitting with the popular kids.

A couple of the popular girls walked over to me and asked me why I wasn't sitting at the usual spot. I told them that I wanted to sit with a couple of new friends that I had just made and invited them to join us. One of the girls looked at the 2 guys I was sitting with, scoffed and said "No thanks" and they both walked away. My new friends looked at me as if I had just broken a world record or something. Then they asked me if I realized that I had just blown off 2 popular girls and then I looked over at the popular table and they were all looking at me in disapproval. That's when it hit me that I had just "officially" left the popular group. And I was okay with that so I just shrugged and started talking to the 2 people who would later become my best friends in high school. After that I still talked to a few of the popular kids from time to time but I was never "officially" in their group. I probably missed out on a lot but I don't really regret that day.

Omg wow that little story turned out to be longer than I thought it would be but I think it describes my personality pretty good.

I'm just not as outgoing as other people and I don't really see it as a problem but apparently other people do. I'm now 22 years old and am having a problem with coworkers thinking that I am arrogant. I work at an office with a lot of people and most of them seem to LOVE socializing with everyone and talking about everything. I focus on work mostly and socialize with only a few people that I am more comfortable with. I am very polite with everyone but I just don't go out of my way to talk to them about non-work related things. Its not because I don't like them its just ever since that day in 8th grade I've had a pretty small social circle and I spend a lot of time alone too. And I can see how that does seem arrogant but I would just feel so overwhelmed if I started making friends with a lot more people. Its just my shy personality that I really hate sometimes. Like I said though I am not rude, just not very outgoing and quiet most of the time.

Why do I keep coming off as arrogant?
Why do I come off as arrogant when I am actually shy/not outgoing?
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