What is it about being around other human beings that is so uncomfortable? You can’t just sit in silence and retreat into your own world of thoughts since the other presence acutely demands your attention and your presence outside of yourself. You’re suddenly forced to interact with the world either through real-time physical speech or physical presence. Unlike your thoughts which can occur in private, when around others you’re forced to focus your thoughts on the other person to an extent, and if you speak, it’s a very filtered version of your thinking. A very phony and cheap version since You can never truly say what you’re thinking. Suddenly your physical presence is under constant scrutiny. You can sit quietly and do nothing but if you do something it must be strictly orchestrated to fit within the realms of politeness and social convention. You can never truly do what you want to do. You’re constantly scrutinized and constantly scrutinizing. There could be no less free behavior imaginable.
We are mere approximations of our true selves when around others…the self filtered through social expectations. Some people are less conforming to these social conventions than others. It’s not a matter of if one conforms, it’s only a matter of degree.
Social interaction is characterized by constant awkwardness and tension and expectation. The moment you step into society by interaction with others, you’re immediately in competition with the world and suddenly the things you likes about yourself are held relative to others. You can imagine that you’re more beautiful and clever than everyone else, but the minute you step into society, you are actually are forced to see if that’s the case. The mere prospect of such a blow to self-esteem causes certain people to live in utter social isolation.
Being in the presence of another human being immediately and necessarily forces both parties to be reduced to mere phantoms of their inner selves and all the more so in such scenarios as dating, where making a ‘good impression’ is so critically important. What a good impression is, is giving the false impression that ones true self manifests in behavior which is in perfect conformity to what’s considered normal and moral behavior by society. The goal of this sort of grand deception such as we see in dating, is to feign that this behavior naturally follows our true self and is effortless. Getting to know someone is seeing what sorts of behavior their true self in fact does manifest in; in other words seeing their true behavior average.
Again, another persons’ actual self is of no consequence, as they are the only ones capable of experiencing themselves isolated from society. The rest of us interact with the manifestation of their true self through their behavior in society.