On a personal level, I've always been somewhat disconsolate. I go through phases where reaching out and being social comes more easily and I doubt most would perceive me as anti-social (as I am as good a pretender as the next). It is however in this 'pretending' that I hide a good portion of the 'me' people think they know. In my mind I'm always outside the circle of mainstream. This is not a burden to me, inside would be much more difficult I assure you!
Does that make me manipulative and fake and inauthentic? Yes, sometimes. No, sometimes. But more in a self-preservation type of way. It is more likely that I will study my surroundings, take the temperature of the encompassing personalities and start formulating who is trustable and who is most likely to share my own interests and ideals. It is with these feelers that I actively assess the dangerous people and intuitively slide away from them without so much as a ripple above the water.
For as long as I can remember, I have had this gift. I say gift, because as an observer of daily social interactions amongst 8 year olds, it is not something I see in plenitude. Although it is there, and sometimes I want to tell those kids to hone that talent as it will serve them well throughout their life. Trying to explain the concept of observing and evaluating without disturbing the currents of life in the fray, seems beyond challenging for the mere reason that it takes a high degree of self-esteem/worth to be able to step back from the madding crowd.
One thing I have noticed is that like does attract like.