#1 Posted by CookieMonster (2423 posts) -

This is something I've thought about a lot recently, particularly as I'm finding my social life a bit lacking for quite a while (I had a small rant about this a while ago in another thread in regards to my uni life).

Before uni, I never really made a ton of effort with people. My group of friends always invited me to stuff and they always made the effort with me. I never really thought about it, and it sounds like I'm a really lazy person and rubbish friend, but thats what came natural to me and to them.

Naturally when you start anywhere new, you try to make an effort with people, especially conversation-wise. Make small talk about relatively mundane things. Its not something that comes natural to me, and I'm sure to a lot of people it doesn't, but its a way of trying force the conversation onto something me and the other person want to talk about. I tend to start the conversations and ask the questions because I assume most people like to talk about themselves and typically 'act' like I'm interested in them (obviously, I'm not so self centred that I act all the time, but everybody does it when it comes to small talk sometimes)

I've been at university for about a year and a half now, and for the majority of my time I've been trying to make an effort with people, particularly conversation-wise. And to be quite honest, it hasn't really come off for me. I've made a few acquaintances here and there, but the main people I hang round with are my flatmates and one of my best mates from home who also goes to this uni. There are very few people outside of this small group that I hang out with, and have made barely any friends on my course.

Some of the time, I found myself asking all the questions. It was me always starting the new conversation branch. I've started to adopt a thing where if I've asked started the conversation 3 or 4 times, I just stop and let them do it. And funnily enough I get silence from them quite a bit of the time. Why keep forcing a conversation that isn't there? Why keep making an effort with someone that doesn't want to make an effort with you?

And I often find when going to lectures now that I just can't be bothered with making small talk, even to an extent where I'm like 'I'm not going to make the conversation if they aren't going to with me'. If its something thats not natural to me at the time, is it stubborn of me to sit there and be determined to not make the conversation? Its not like forcing the conversation has gotten me anywhere (most of the time) over the past year and half or so.

Do I do what I want with regards to people naturally or keep trying to make an effort?

On a side note, with regards to the social situation, yeah I have had a look at a lot of clubs and societies, and there are very few that interest me. I'm considering joining the computer games society, but they mainly play pc games (dat ain't ma shit) and only meet up every two weeks on a tuesday for console gaming. But still its an option. I'm even considering putting posters up around the uni to see if anyone is interested in joining a band with me, despite me being incredibly poor guitarist and having slightly eccletic tastes (well, apparently nobody at uni likes post punk and 90s alt rock stuff, everybody is either into all about that wank EDM/pop shit or are mad house/techno fans (not that I'm saying house/tech is bad, I like a lot of that stuff)).

TL;DR See thread title.

#2 Posted by doobie (605 posts) -

well, if 'yourself' is stubborn an you be 'yourself' then you are going to be stubborn.

#3 Posted by CookieMonster (2423 posts) -

@doobie: I think what I'm trying to say is, people always encourage you to "be yourself", but is it stubborn of you to stay like that? I tried to change and make more of an effort with people. Would it be stubborn of me to go back to my old ways of making an effort and stay like that?

#4 Posted by gaminghooligan (1465 posts) -

I've always found the best way to go about it is to be yourself, but also remember that not every aspect of yourself is shared with friends. For example, of my core friend group, I'm the only person who plays more than one or two new video games a year. They don't follow games at all and don't care to, but since it's something I'm passionate about I will occasionally drop a little info that interests both parties. Sometimes you can surrender some of your interests and allow new people to introduce you to theirs. I never went hiking or climbing for fun before meeting my new friends. Just remember that Uni is a time to make new friends, but it's not easy, the best thing you can do is be open to new peoples and things. Also as far as looking for a band goes it never hurts to put those posters up, it's how a lot of great bands got together in the first place.

#5 Posted by believer258 (11991 posts) -

I've never been a loquacious person at all. Maybe that's why I don't have a ton of friends and don't really hang out with the ones that I do have, but I find that I'd rather do something than talk about something.

#6 Posted by Giantstalker (1688 posts) -

This same concept comes up a lot for newer guys in the Army.

It sometimes becomes difficult to teach that they can be whoever they want on their own time, and that conversely they have to be someone else while on duty.

This sounds like basic professionalism, but invariably personalities and habits bleed over, especially during long periods of time (like a tour for example).

I don't know if it's natural or just stubbornness, but the "resting point" between doing what you want and doing what's expected is definitely at different places for different people.

#7 Posted by Ares42 (2729 posts) -

I'm not really seeing the correlation between the title and the content of the post, but I think you're being reasonable with your "if they don't care, why should I?" conclusion. Just don't make it an assumption.

As far as the title, there's a difference between not doing what everyone else wants from you and not doing things that make you feel uncomfortable. "Being yourself" tends to focus on the latter.

#8 Posted by CookieMonster (2423 posts) -

Thanks for the responses and support people, its much appreciated. Theres definitely something in that idea of a "resting point".

@Ares42: And yeah, I made the title first before I wrote the thread out, and then started diverging from the original point. I was looking back and was like 'yeeeaaaaah I'm confusing points a little bit here'.

#9 Posted by TruthTellah (9318 posts) -

Be yourself, but choose wisely in who you will be.

Online
#10 Posted by YOUNGLINK (552 posts) -

Be what you want to be because that's who you are. Stubborn or whatever trait.

#11 Posted by TheMatrixOnline (64 posts) -

This thread speaks to me bro. I'm in exactly the same boat as you. When I meet new people I tend to ask them a bunch of questions, which keeps conversation going. The problem is, that doesn't last long term so I have trouble making any real friends.

I think the reason I do this is because I hate awkward silences, and because I'm pretty self conscious, I get this feeling like the other person is blaming me for the fact that we don't have a ton to say to each other. Which is why I try to keep conversation going by asking questions.

But I think real friendships may need those awkward silences at the beginning.

Also real conversation isn't just asking each other questions about your lives. It's talking about something that happened to you or something that you care about, and then someone responding because they are interested in that topic. Look at the bombcast. That's what real conversations are, talking about exactly what you want to talk about, and other people riffing off of it.

#12 Posted by mosespippy (4285 posts) -

Stubbornness isn't necessarily a bad thing.

#13 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (844 posts) -

Choices. Actions and consequences.

#14 Edited by JacDG (2127 posts) -

In my humble opinion, you should never say "I won't change, if people don't like me the way I am, fuck em", to me that is a stupid way of living and hinders self improvement, which every single person on this planet could use, even the ones who seem perfect. I just started at Uni this summer, and it was the first time in my life I started at a place/in a class where I didn't know a single person, and to someone who is painfully shy when meeting new people, it was quite tough in the beginning, but I went to every social arrangement, hung out after class, drank a lot of beers and I've slowly but steadily built a nice little group of friends. Sure, I still encounter a lot of those awkward silences and I hate them since I am a terrible conversation starter, and as @TheMatrixOnline: said, I'm really self conscious so that makes it worse, but we generally mesh well together when we are in a group and life is pretty great right now. The again, we are a small class of 25-30 students who have tutorials (only us) and lectures (everybody who studies Language and Communication) together constantly, so it's basically like a normal class from the public schools where I live (Denmark), so it's easier to get to know someone because you see them several times during the week.

But in regards to your problem, I do understand what you are saying, and I can relate to some of it, but it seems as tough you have made an effort to become friends, and if stuff isn't becoming better, maybe you and your fellow students just aren't "meant to be friends", there is nothing wrong with that. I'm never ever going to be friends, or maybe even talk to half of the people I study with, probably more, and I'm fine with that. And on a brighter note, you are at least capable of keeping your old friends in a capacity that I am not, I really wish I talked more with some of the people whom I know and study at the same Uni, but I'm not.

TL:DR - "Being yourself" should not be stopping you from improving yourself, a little change is good for the right reasons, but don't change completely... I guess that's what I'm trying to say.

#15 Posted by Neonie (438 posts) -

Some people are introverts and some people are extroverts. Not everyone is supposed to be extroverted just because society says that's the case, society's voice on social issues has just become incredibly warped over time.

#16 Edited by Wrighteous86 (3819 posts) -

@CookieMonster: There's a difference between initiating a conversation and forcing one. If it comes naturally and the person you're speaking to seems to enjoy it and is also contributing, then it doesn't matter who initiates. If every time you try to talk to someone they are "distracted" or just responding with affirmatives or negatives, or they constantly cut the conversation short, that's a problem.

When people say be yourself, it's more about not trying to pretend or fake or lie your way through interactions. Don't follow a list of things to do or not to do. The way it should be advised is, "Be your best self." You don't have to change who you are, but you can always improve upon yourself. If you like something, dive headfirst into it. If you have weaknesses that you recognize, actively work to to turn them around. Focusing on improving yourself, and others will likely be drawn to you.

It's not stubborn to be yourself, but if NOBODY is really interested in you as a person, it probably has to do with some flaw or failing on your part, and not on theirs. Either you're focusing on people you can't relate to, or you have some sort of issue that is keeping people away that you need to work on.

#17 Posted by UlquioKani (1125 posts) -

You need to be yourself but when attempting to start conversations, it's a good idea to not to ask a bunch of closed questions(questions with a binary answer) but rather go for more open questions so that a conversation can flourish. Otherwise, it starts to feel like an interrogation and people get uncomfortable. Also, you don't need to make loads and loads of friends. Some people are happy with a smaller group of close friends.

Just be willing to adapt to other situations when you need to. You may not have been a big PC gamer now but you can start. Although considering you're a student, you may not have the money. Perhaps join a club about something you have never done before.

I don't want to assume anything but you seem like an introvert. I recommend checking this video out.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/7-tips-not-screwing-up-college/ - I think #5 and #4 apply to you.

Qualifier - Take everything I say with a grain of salt. I am only about to start college this year and I'm not a professional. I'm just trying to help.

#18 Posted by benspyda (2038 posts) -

If being yourself involves harming or leeching off others that's a bad thing, otherwise its up to you and how you want to live your life.

@Neonie said:

Some people are introverts and some people are extroverts. Not everyone is supposed to be extroverted just because society says that's the case, society's voice on social issues has just become incredibly warped over time.

I think 'society' is trying to combat the rise of "home entertainment choices" that encourages more and more people to stay indoors rather than going out and spending way too much money while your out. Remember everything in this world operates on money and egos.

I'm very much an introvert and tend do something social about once a month to catch up with friends (Which can still involve playing video games). I love just playing video games and watching movies on my weekends and don't give a shit that I'm not going out drinking every weekend.

#19 Posted by StarvingGamer (8376 posts) -

Only if yourself = stubborn

#20 Posted by Aetheldod (3628 posts) -

@Neonie said:

Some people are introverts and some people are extroverts. Not everyone is supposed to be extroverted just because society says that's the case, society's voice on social issues has just become incredibly warped over time.

This is what I was going to say. Its not like you are trying to push them away ... on the contrary you did the effort , the fact that it didnt worked out has nothing to do with being stubborn or not. Also introverts as us have it hard on an extroverted human world :/

#21 Posted by Junkerman (271 posts) -

@CookieMonster: You can be the largest social butterfly in the world but to find people you ~really~ connect with is a rare thing; rarer then most people think.

Being sociable and making friends are very different concepts. "Fitting In" or being a people person or working well with groups is a learned skill that comes easier to some humans then others. However It is a very important skill to learn as we are social creatures and teamwork and working with each other is something we'll all need to do at one point or another in our lives.

If you're just unsatisfied with not being able to forge any interesting friendships with these people you are encountering I'd worry less about that. I moved a lot as a kid and do a lot of traveling with my job and out of the hundreds of people I've encountered and gotten to know to more intimate levels I'd only count maybe less then a dozen of them as being my actual "friend".

My advice: Meeting a "friend" is a strong mixture of luck and making a good first impression. Open yourself up to new groups of people on a constant basis; there are billions of us out there, its rather short sighted that we only tend to look to our immediate surroundings. Something I've started to have fun with as I get older is simply talking to strangers I see in my travels; you'd be amazed how many people respond positively to some genuinely friendly conversation out of the blue.

#22 Posted by benspyda (2038 posts) -

@UlquioKani said:

You need to be yourself but when attempting to start conversations, it's a good idea to not to ask a bunch of closed questions(questions with a binary answer) but rather go for more open questions so that a conversation can flourish. Otherwise, it starts to feel like an interrogation and people get uncomfortable. Also, you don't need to make loads and loads of friends. Some people are happy with a smaller group of close friends.

Just be willing to adapt to other situations when you need to. You may not have been a big PC gamer now but you can start. Although considering you're a student, you may not have the money. Perhaps join a club about something you have never done before.

I don't want to assume anything but you seem like an introvert. I recommend checking this video out.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/7-tips-not-screwing-up-college/ - I think #5 and #4 apply to you.

Qualifier - Take everything I say with a grain of salt. I am only about to start college this year and I'm not a professional. I'm just trying to help.

That's a great video!

#23 Posted by hawkinson76 (374 posts) -

Friends are over rated. In any given time and place (school, work, family) there are people who are worth your time and poeple who aren't, you don't have to go out of your way for them.

I am not saying people aren't deserving of loyalty (which includes a willingness to compromise), I am married, and most of the GB crew left Jobs to work with Jeff, but that is beyond a purely social relationship.

#24 Posted by Slag (4615 posts) -

@CookieMonster said:

I think what I'm trying to say is, people always encourage you to "be yourself", but is it stubborn of you to stay like that? I tried to change and make more of an effort with people. Would it be stubborn of me to go back to my old ways of making an effort and stay like that?

What they mean by "being yourself" is to be genuine. People hate phonies and can tell when you are being one.

If you are making an effort to do be social, but if your heart isn't in it, people will know and you'll get the result you got. People are generally attracted to positivity and happiness.

The way to go into socializing is to go to in with no expectations other than trying to have a good time with hopefully good people. If you have goals like to have X number of friends by Y date it won't work too well. So try to find a social activity you enjoy doing and hopefully you'll meet people who share that same feeling, which can lead to friendship.

I do suggest you keep at it if you do want a social life. If you think making friends is hard now in Uni, it's only going to get harder once you are graduated.

#25 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”

Take note from Mr. Lee.

#26 Posted by Trainer_Red (314 posts) -

I am a lot like you. Also... I see the words "introverts and extroverts" waaaay too many times on this site.