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Old 08-28-2006, 05:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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No place for me?

Hi,

I need some feedback on what i'm about to post, or i might need to go see a shrink. No jokes please.

Okay, i moved to this new country for studies. And i am now living in the dorm, where the dining ( for all meals really ) area is where ppl group up and 'socialise'. The thing is, i don't really feel like talking much, and everyone seems to know each other already, so i usually find a relatively empty table to sit at. Well, the place is kinda full, so i end up sitting at a full table anyway. So the chatter begins. But i find the stuff that ppl talk about r so boring and pointless. Stuff like 'why is there onion in my soup?' or 'i like urban dictionary, it has cheesy in it' or 'hmm, this doesnt taste like chicken, haha'. the conversation goes no where, and the topics are usually stuff u dont even talk about. its like they all have 'low latent inhibition' or whatever and start talking about the very crumb on the table. its like this everyday for lunch and dinner, and i tend to just stay quiet and smile when they make some lame jokes and talk about something 'new' they discovered.

So then i've been thinking, or noticing, the ppl i usually sit with must think im an oddball. or at least i feel like one. i dont even always say 'bye' when i leave the table anymore. im starting to avoid them, and they wouldnt sit with me if they had a choice. and its this feeling that hurts. i dont care if i dont have anyone to talk, im fine with that. but i kind of mind what others think of me. and now im stuck in between. is it my fault? im already planning to take late dinners just so i dont have to feel the same way at the table again. i made acquaintances, but not friends. i just dont feel like talking, especially when the subject is so boring. maybe its just that i find things boring and unstimulating? i dont really wanna go on like this for the remaining months here, its torturing. im not sure if u understand what i mean. i was always the quieter type, tho not like now, cuz i had the same bunch of frens in the same school all the way to college. but im usually alone at home and stuff, so i end up the quieter one in a group. im fine with that, but how do people perceive me? its not funny when u spend everyday of the year alone. its depressing, especially when ppl give u that look like they're saying 'its him again'.

Its kind of like that one guy who said ' Even in a crowd, i feel lonely.'

thanks for reading.
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Old 08-28-2006, 06:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I used to have the same problem. This is what I did:

I am a lot smarter than a lot of my friends. Instead of ignoring this fact, I had it in my mind at all times. When a friend of mine would say something stupid, I would remind myself that I'm smarter than he or she. Here's the thing: it doesn't really matter how smart you are, and I was using that as an excuse to distance myself from people. I realized at some point that it was a combination of my intellectual vanity and my serious antisocial problems that were the cause. Once I has dioscovered that, I tried to stop. After a while, I simply had conversations with people without comparing our IQs. It's quite refreshing, and people are more friendly to me now (little did I know that I was acting cocky and condescending the whole time).

I don't know if that's something that might help. I just thought I'd share.
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Old 08-28-2006, 06:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I understand that it is difficult to be in an environment that is different from what you are used to. You have to gain some confidence in yourself and just put yourself out there. Being quiet is fine. But it gets kind of lonely, as you are experiencing. Bear in mind that the dorms are typically full of first year students, who are generally in the 17-19 year old age group. Their life experiences and maturity levels might be a little different from yours at this point in time. There are probably also some cultural differences as well. This is a good thing. It can give you something to talk about. While the dining centers are often a place to socialize, they are not always the best place to find intelligent, stimulating conversation. My friends and I had lots of conversations about nothing, because we had been studying and going to class for a large part of the day (most of the time...LOL) and just needed to goof off.

Pretty much every college has a lot of different activities and clubs that cover an extremely wide range of interests. Find something you like, and join up! The big thing is, you're going to have to put yourself out there. I'm sure the people you eat with don't dislike you. If anything, they probably don't really know what to say or do around you. They probably don't know why you sit by them if you aren't going to talk to them. If you want to make friends, you have to talk to people. To do this, you have to have confidence. Bottom line: It really doesn't matter what they think about you. There are a lot of people out there who will if they get the chance to get to know you. The ones who don't? It's their loss.

Things probably aren't just going to happen on their own. Learn to have fun. Find things that interest you and do them. Leave the house, put the books down every once in a while, and don't feel guilty about having a good time. You want things to change? Make them change. Feeling sorry for yourself will only make things worse.
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Old 08-28-2006, 06:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Man, I totally know what this feeling is like- I had it all the time freshman year in the dorms. I came from a boarding school for really smart kids, and in college I felt like EVERYONE was a grade A retard. It's hard to realize there actually are other smart, mature people in college besides you... because usually they're not eating in the cafeteria . My suggestion is check out the clubs on campus, start hanging out in the library or cafe (if your school has one) more, and in general just start talking to people. If you want to meet people who are more like you, you gotta start thinking where they'd be- where would you hang out in a normal day? In your room? In the library? Somewhere random? Sometimes, when I'd be lonely, I'd just wander around the dorms looking for open doors and popping my head in to say "hi." It sounds wierd to say it, but it's a great way to meet people.

College is about socalizing, and it can be hard at first to find people that you really "mesh" with. Don't get discouraged, however. Start talking to people in your classes too- I've met some of my best college friends that way. Chances are, people who are taking the same classes you are are probably going to have some of the same interests you do. Start chatting up people that you notice saying smart things in class- sit beside them every day, start saying "hi" whenever you see them. Everyone in college is trying to make friends, just like you, so if you reach out and make the first connection by saying "hi" whenever you see someone, they'll usually take the bait and start actually talking

Good luck!
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Old 08-28-2006, 06:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It's amazing how similar your story is to my own. I came into the same situation this year. All of my good friends at the school I'm currently attending, were seniors last year. Without friends, or good teachers, it feels like I was left behind down in a hole somewhere. Very depressing indeed. I can sympathize with you in that respect.
As for the normal "table talk", talking and goofing around like that are just ways of having fun, relaxing, blowing off some steam, whatever way you want to look at it. Not every conversation has to be intellectual. I seldom have any serious conversations at school, and if I do it's almost always with a teacher.
What willravel said is right, yet again.
Quote:
it doesn't really matter how smart you are, and I was using that as an excuse to distance myself from people.
...or Al Pacino...
Quote:
Vanity! He...he...he...hehhh...
Just relax, and throw yourself into the loop. If you honestly don't fit then try joining a sport you like. Martial arts is a great way to engage socially, for instance.
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Old 08-28-2006, 07:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i just dont have anything to talk about. its not that i think im smarter, in fact one of the dude at the table has a phD in math and is pursuing phD in physics right now. its that i feel like im supposed to talk more, but i cant find anything that is worth talking about. its like im not doing what im supposed to. i used to talk about the most useless shit with my old buddies and i would laugh till my belly hurt. but ive become a boring person who doesnt find anything interesting. its like ive lost everything, and dont feel like making an effort. like u know how u get bored, but am too lazy to do anything? i had flatmates who started a band, but i dont play any musical instruments, and i dont drink so i cant rly click with them. used to have a roomate who plays pool everyday, but im not interested either. i dont even have much of a preference for food, i just eat! the only real thing that interests me now are video games, but i get bored of them easily too.

i do talk to em, but only a few lines and thats it. but i'll sort it out eventually. im even more worried about my studies, the load is a bit overwhelming for my memory. i just need to find somewhere i belong, i guess. that'll take time, but it should go alright. usually i just push this outta my mind and it becomes alright, but i cant run away from facts.

thanks for replying people. anyone else having/had the same situation as me, feel free to post here. i guess 'talking' about it helps. sigh.
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Old 08-28-2006, 08:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
i used to talk about the most useless shit with my old buddies and i would laugh till my belly hurt. but ive become a boring person who doesnt find anything interesting. its like ive lost everything, and dont feel like making an effort. like u know how u get bored, but am too lazy to do anything?
I went through the same exact thing. Seriously, word for word.

I think you need to just keep hanging around the people you do right now. After awhile you'll feel more comfortable, and know what to joke about. The rest sounds like depression. I've been struggling with that until a few weeks ago, over my vacation. I honestly can't explain how I got out of it, I just did it was strange. Alot of things seemed to be going my way, and then one day it just hit me. I think you really need to think hard about something you would enjoy doing in the area of sports, or some sort of activity with other people you like. Try learning a new instrument so you can get in on your friends' band. I still struggle with it from time to time, but martial arts is what really fuels me right now.

You'll always have a place here on TFP

Last edited by Ch'i; 08-28-2006 at 08:21 PM..
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Old 08-28-2006, 08:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This sort of thing isn't restricted to school environments, although the feeling is certainly heightened by them. You're still figuring out what to do with your life, having to prove yourself constantly and all without the comfort of your childhood friends and structures.

I've been feeling kind of isolated at work lately. I'm the only one in my department, with no direct supervisor and almost zero feedback on my work. Our office is open concept, so I overhear everyone else's successes, failures, and teamwork swirling around me. Yet I have nothing to contribute or take back from this. So I sit and plug away at my tasks and struggle against the fact that it's easier to shut out the rest of the employees than engage them. Easier but ultimately stifling.

I also see though, that the reponsibility to reach out is mine alone. It's up to me to ask to join others for lunch or take an interest in the projects I overhear. Why would someone else reach out to me if they couldn't see me?

My advice would be to focus on action more than conversation. You have to share some activities before you have anything to talk about. And if you're truly feeling too unmotivated and lazy to take part in a club or volunteer, try attending passive events like public lectures or walking tours in the area. Play tourist, discover the place you're at and you'll start to feel at home.
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Old 08-28-2006, 09:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I can relate as well. I lived off campus, but I ate breakfast or lunch between classes. I was so deadly serious about my studies that I simply couldn't relate to those who seemed to be just going along for the shits and giggles.

As others have already said, I recommend finding like minded people in your classes or in clubs where you may have an interest. I am terribly shy, and I suspect you may be as well, so it was really necessary for me to reach out to be "found" by people that would engage me in return.

Bottom line though, is that I ate off campus so that I could keep up with my studies without unwanted chitchat. There is a balance that may have been different for me, than it is for you.
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Take one harsh look at yourself. Are you boring? My biggest stumbling block in this arena was because I was, indeed, boring.

There are 6.5 BILLION people on this earth. What makes you unique?

If we hypothetically believe that someone's goal is to meet as many "interesting" people as they can in a day, what's going to make you worth talking to over the next guy?

I used to be really into MMORPGS. Really.. Really.. into them. When you're spending 18 of 24 hours playing video games that no one else plays, you're not going to have much to talk about with people that don't. Talking about the 6 hour raid or the l33t new sword I got didn't mean much to my friends who were studying, partying, and watching TV.

So I either had to find people who also played video games that much (unlikely, because they'd be just as reclusive) or I have to develop interests and knowledge relevant to the people I like to associate with. To me, it was reading the newspaper - being current on events and politics. Something to mention or joke about. Reading Slashdot and Digg to keep up on tech news - something to talk to with my more geeky friends. Hell, even keeping up with pop culture just so I'd have something to talk about with the silly celebrity-worshipping crowd.

To me, its all about being interesting to the people you yourself are interested in. And knowing something about your common interests is a great way to start.

Oh -- and one thing that helps immensely.

People are FAR more interested in telling you about themselves then hearing about you. Ask people questions about themselves and there will be a never-ending stream of discussion. I think it's human nature to be proud of what we do and who we are, and we love to talk about. Even the most shy people I know will engage and talk about themselves and their goals in a meaningful manner if you ask serious and genuinely interested questions.

EDIT: I went to bed and got back up just to add more to this post. There's really a lot to be said here, and I think its one of the most important skills humans can possess. We're talking about interpersonal skills.

Think about everyone within 10 feet of you at the table. Do you know their names? Their goal in life? Why they're in college? Their plans for the future? Their age? Where they're living? What their major is? If they have a boyfriend/girlfriend? Do they work?

If you don't know any of that, you CANNOT expect that they'll be interested in getting to know these things about you. But it is these little details, these connections with names and desires, that help us bond to people. Maybe they're curious about you too, but they don't want to broach the question. If you're uncomfortable in your place and you want to be an active participant in the conversation, then you have to do it yourself. It's very unlikely that you'll meet an outgoing person willing to drag you into the conversation each time.

Does Mr. PH.D 1.5 like to talk about Physics and Math? Is there any part of Physics or Math that you like? Don't like? Would like to talk about? Any current events in that field that he might have heard of?

And don't be embarassed to ask for a name multiple times. One of my first days of school I had to learn 35+ names because I'm responsible for tutoring each one of the students. Its important that I know their names because it makes the tutoring that much more personal and ultimately effective. And I forgot a few student's names 3 or 4 times. It'll be awkward for about 15 seconds when you have to ask "I'm sorry, I totally forgot your name" but it'll be much more effective than trying to work around ever saying their name.

And if you really need help at the table, you could say something like "You know, I've sat with you guys a couple times but I don't think I've ever gotten your names. I'm (your name here). *extend hand*"

Work on it, becuase making bonds like this is the most important skill you'll gain in college and in life. Who knows when you'll be stuck in Physics and Math and will need Mr. 1.5 PHD to help you for a second. People are just potential friends and potential benefits waiting to be talked to.
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Last edited by Jinn; 08-28-2006 at 10:39 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 08-29-2006, 07:17 AM   #11 (permalink)
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JinnKai is awesome. He totally nailed it in his advice.

I think everyone has these feelings when they're in a new place with new people. The trick is not to get apathetic about things- that's how you end up playing video games all the time and failing out of school. It's OK to feel bored, and it's OK to feel boring. The trick is, whenever you feel that way, GO DO SOMETHING. Take a walk, go to the library, hell, just walk down to the soda machine. Make an effort, when you're off doing something, to make eye contact with one person and possibly say "Hello"- make that little interpersonal connection.

My husband did his own personal social psychology expierement when he was at college (before we started dating). He made an effort to make eye contact with everyone. Not smile or anything like that, just make simple eye contact when walking by, or in line, or whatever. He found that just by making eye contact people IMMEDIATELY opened up to him, smiling, saying "hello", sparking conversation, whatever. So put that in your back pocket- whenever you feel down, just make some eye contact. You'll be amazed at who you meet... it also is a great way to look more confident, a big plus with the ladies (or men if you prefer)
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Old 08-29-2006, 07:44 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I like all the above views on this.

Only other thing I can add is that for me its all about adaptation. Historically, I was unchanging and would only socialize with my core group of friends because that was my comfort zone, they defined me as I knew me and that worked well.

However, once college hit, those friends were absent, I was thrown into the social pool anew. At first I went through a period of mild depression and feeling sorry for myself and outcast by others. Constantly questioning why I couldn't enjoy myself, but at the same time not wanting to stoop to what I saw as a lower level of intellectual behavior or childishness.

Then one day that questioning really hit me. Why couldn't I enjoy myself? Did partaking in seemingly meaninless conversations and interactions really 'dumb me down'? Were these people really that different from me in acuality?

So I adapted. When I hung out with my friends who liked sports, I would listen and try and see what they enjoyed about it. I still may not say much, but I enrolled myself into their worlds, a spectator at first, a participant later. Now I still don't enjoy sports all that much, BUT I am now comfortable being around such talk, I can add tidbits here and there, and I feel included. I used this approach for all the different groups I interacted with.

Am I saying you should change or compromise what makes you YOU, or that you should force yourself to be someone you are not? Absolutely not. All I am saying is be open, be non-judgemental, be understanding and willing to branch out. Things may still not turn out to be your cup of tea, but at least you gave it a whirl, you opened yourself up to a new experience and that is what matters. People are attracted to that.

Best of luck, bud.
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Old 08-29-2006, 05:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks guys. I'm okay coz i always greet everyone i see, its just that i dont have anything to chat about, nor the interest to. I even talked for 5 minutes with my new flatmate who moved in yesterday. But beyond the introductory talk, i cant find anything to say. I'm thinking of just blending in, and maybe eventually find more people i have more in common with. Or finding a common interest among the people around me. That will be a bit difficult as my interests arent very clear to myself either. But thats another story.

I guess im in a new environment and should just expose myself to every single thing that comes my way, maybe pick up a new field of interest, do things i never thought i'd enjoy doing.

It's good to know that there are people who can relate to my situation. My friend told me about this forum few months back, she said i wouldnt be dissapointed with it, she must have a 6th sense! Thanks for your views, they helped a lot. Not just for me im sure, there r some who didnt post here, but have a similar problem. :P
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Old 09-03-2006, 05:03 AM   #14 (permalink)
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You have a lot in common with these people. You are all students for instance, so you all have classes, exams, papers and stuff. Those are nice conversation topics. Even if your dorm mates don't take the same classes as you do, it can be interesting to know what their studies are like. Do they have a big workload? (Beware of pissing contests here. ) Are the teachers any good? (It's fun to trade horror stories about weird teachers.) Why did they pick that line of studies? What do they want to do in the future? What are their coursemates like?
Give them a chance to vent. Vent a bit yourself. Exchange info about good study spots or less nasty campus toilets or whatever. Since you are new in the country there must be a lot of things you can ask the locals, like where to shop for clothes or school supplies. They might be curious about your country or what it's like to be an exchange student. I usually find it interesting and enlightening to ask exchange students about their school system from Kindergarten and up, it can be very different.
Good luck, and I've been there too. Still risk ending up there everyday unless I make an effort myself to be pleasant and sociable.
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Old 09-03-2006, 08:33 AM   #15 (permalink)
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It does take effort to be social and meet new people. But that effort is usually worth it. At the very least, you can post about the drama that has happened in your life instead of the lack of it. I think you are distancing yourself so you can't get hurt, and you are going to miss out on sooo much if you let yourself cop out like that.
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Old 09-03-2006, 11:04 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Try arranging dinners with people you are more likely to have common interests or experiences to start with - perhaps people you've spoken to in your classes? Ask them if they'd like to meet for dinner. Also, try finding other arenas for socialization - join an on-campus organization, for example - so your only entree into the social world isn't a bunch of random people who sit near you at dinner.

And it probably wouldn't hurt to see campus counseling services to address the issue of stress and lack of social motivation - they'll be able to give you some advice and determine if this is clinical or not.

Best of luck!
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Old 09-04-2006, 03:38 PM   #17 (permalink)
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When I first started college, I was terrified of having to eat alone when my friends were working or otherwise busy! But I determined that I wouldn't give in and eat in my dorm room...instead, I'd find someone else who was sitting alone, and ask them if I could join them. I met lots of interesting people this way- people I normally wouldn't have met. Some of them became really good friends, too. And when you're sitting with a total stranger, you have a whole plethora of potential conversation material :-) Worse-case scenario is that you'll endure an awkward 20 minutes of near-silence as you finish your meal.
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Old 10-03-2006, 07:32 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xCss
Hi,

I need some feedback on what i'm about to post, or i might need to go see a shrink. No jokes please.

Okay, i moved to this new country for studies. And i am now living in the dorm, where the dining ( for all meals really ) area is where ppl group up and 'socialise'. The thing is, i don't really feel like talking much, and everyone seems to know each other already, so i usually find a relatively empty table to sit at. Well, the place is kinda full, so i end up sitting at a full table anyway. So the chatter begins. But i find the stuff that ppl talk about r so boring and pointless. Stuff like 'why is there onion in my soup?' or 'i like urban dictionary, it has cheesy in it' or 'hmm, this doesnt taste like chicken, haha'. the conversation goes no where, and the topics are usually stuff u dont even talk about. its like they all have 'low latent inhibition' or whatever and start talking about the very crumb on the table. its like this everyday for lunch and dinner, and i tend to just stay quiet and smile when they make some lame jokes and talk about something 'new' they discovered.

So then i've been thinking, or noticing, the ppl i usually sit with must think im an oddball. or at least i feel like one. i dont even always say 'bye' when i leave the table anymore. im starting to avoid them, and they wouldnt sit with me if they had a choice. and its this feeling that hurts. i dont care if i dont have anyone to talk, im fine with that. but i kind of mind what others think of me. and now im stuck in between. is it my fault? im already planning to take late dinners just so i dont have to feel the same way at the table again. i made acquaintances, but not friends. i just dont feel like talking, especially when the subject is so boring. maybe its just that i find things boring and unstimulating? i dont really wanna go on like this for the remaining months here, its torturing. im not sure if u understand what i mean. i was always the quieter type, tho not like now, cuz i had the same bunch of frens in the same school all the way to college. but im usually alone at home and stuff, so i end up the quieter one in a group. im fine with that, but how do people perceive me? its not funny when u spend everyday of the year alone. its depressing, especially when ppl give u that look like they're saying 'its him again'.

Its kind of like that one guy who said ' Even in a crowd, i feel lonely.'

thanks for reading.
Hmm, sounds like you might have a major case of the "I am betters then you" syndrome.

Look, if you dno't want to fit in, people will see this right away, and make sure you don't. Not only that, they will make you feel as out of place as you make them feel.

Yes, I said make them feel. People are rather self concious when you get right down to it,nd also see more then you think. If you think what they talk about is boring and somehow beneath you, they will see that. Oh you may not be thinking "This is beneath me" but they will think that. People hate nothing more then someone in their midst who is withdrawn. It makes them think you feel your better then they are, else why are you not talking to them.
The bottom line is yes, you are 100% percent responsible. For one, not having the foresight to know or care about your classmates needs. So, you find what they talk about boring, so what? You have to conform to a certain point if you want to fit in. It sounds like you want the fitting in part without actually having to do the work to get it. Sorry Charlie, it doesn't work that way. Fitting in is not easy for some people, that's why you have to make that extra effort.

Yeah, you should be able to do your own thing, and not be snubbed, made to feel out of place. However from these other peoples perspective, isn't that what youre doing to them, making them feel out of place. Sorry, but I think I would snub you to, and if you think your thughts and feelings about them and what they talk and how they talk are not apparent to them, your dead wrong. That you don't realize tihs fact shows just how little respect you have for their intelligence, it's certanly apparent to me, and I am not even there, imagine how well they must seeit, and how it makes them feel.

Give them more credit for one, and stop ebing such a dillituant. Communicate with them on their level, and then maybe they will feel inclined to communicate with you on yours, which is not as high as you may think. Certainly not as high as you belive it to be, not if you could not figure this out for yourself. I am not trying to be mean, but you really do need some realism injected into your life, and your opinion of yourself. Only then will you grow and become the person you wish to be.

Get off of your high horse, or throne, ivory tower, whatever euphimism suits you most, and lower yourself to talking with them about the most boring of things. Once your able to get past your obvious cynicism and scorn, you may find you enjoy it. It has been my experience that the kind of superior intellectual detachment with which you are viewing them and their words is often just a mask for ones own insecurity, and tends to be a defense mechanism to keep others from getting to close. I think you need to ask yourself some hard questions, because no, the problem is not them.
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Old 10-03-2006, 08:07 AM   #19 (permalink)
Tone.
 
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xCss. you're at a college man! there's a club/organization for just about EVERYthing that might interest someone. Go join one and you'll find yourself with lots of like-minded people. that'll help you start getting over what is really at its core shyness and insecurity. You're in a strange environment, outside of your comfort level, and you're withdrawing into somewhat of a shell. Totally normal, and it takes effort to come out.

You say one guy at your table has a PhD -- - maybe that indicates you're eating with a bunch of upperclassmen who've known each other for 3+ years - - it can be kinda hard to break into a group like that.

College can be a tough experience, especially if you happen to be mature, because most of the people around you are not (this is why couches get thrown off the roofs of dorms from time to time )

Just relax and you'll find your niche.
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Old 10-03-2006, 10:55 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Location: Ontario, Canada
For a different approach...

People are a game.

The first rule of the game is learn to "rub blue mud in your bellybutton".

The second rule of the game is "don't do anything you want to not do".

The third rule of the game is "collect all 6.5 billion".

The forth rule of the game is "it is about high score, not broad score".

Ok, let's back up.

Rule #1: Blue mud.

Most of human social interaction isn't extremely profound. It is people sharing simple rituals, demonstrating that they both know the social rules, and spending time with each other. The goal of this interaction is "getting to know other people" -- not as a list of facts, but at the gut-level understanding you can get from spending time with people.

"Blue mud in the belly button" refers to any arbitrary act of expected social behaviour. You do it because by doing it you demonstrate you are part of that social group, or at least you understand the rules.

Understanding the rules is important -- because people are dangerous and unpredictable. People who are following the rules are much safer. This demonstration of rule following is important, not something trivial to be ignored.

Rule #2: Don't do anything you want to not do.

Lot's of nots there, eh? You could be tempted to remove them -- then you end up with "do what you want to do". But that isn't what this rule is saying.

If there is something you actively do not want to do -- hurt other people, cheat, steal, eat peanut butter -- don't do it. Even if it is part of the blue mud of your social group -- don't replace your own identity and morals with that of the group.

At the same time, if it is just something that isn't what you want to do -- go ahead, it is a way to spend time and bond. Playing pool? You may not want to play pool, but do you want to not play pool? They are very different things.

Rule #3: Collect all 6.5 billion.

Be friendly with everyone. There really isn't much benefit in being surley -- keep your options open. Have a broad pool of aquantances you interact positively with, and when interacting with strangers be polite, friendly, and open.

If you have a broad pool of friends, then misplacing some (or having to drop some because they become gits) is not all that painful.

Rule #4: High score, not broad score

Do attempt to ladder your friendship with some people upwards. The traditional way to ladder friendships upwards is known as "reciprocal revelation" -- one of you signals a wish to bump the friendship upwards with a bit of "intimacy", and the other responds. Keep your eyes open for these openings, and occasionally offer openings to other people.

If your offer of laddering up the friendship is ignored, then don't repeat yourself immediately -- wait a period of time, try offering other people openings, and (if you want to repeat it) only after a reasonably long period of time repeat the offer. Your goal here is to form "good friends" with someone.

Keep in mind that refusal of "openings" given by other people will tend to generate the same response -- if you refuse friendship laddering up from someone repeatedly, they will stop trying to ladder up the friendship.

Rule #5: There are no rules

The above "rules" are just reminders of what kind of actions you need to engage in to form a social group. The point of the rules is practice -- your goal isn't to cold-bloodedly follow some automatic script, but rather to practice the kinds of behaviours that make things come naturally.

If rules could be made for social interaction, we'd have robots passing the Turing Test. But by having rules and things to keep in mind, you give your brain a framework to work in, and give yourself a chance to practice your ability in making new friends, strengthening friendships, keeping your own identity strong, and in general getting rid of the entire "I'm boooored" problem.
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Last edited by JHVH : 10-29-4004 BC at 09:00 PM. Reason: Time for a rest.
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