SRS need tips on beginning a new social life v. grad student

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by chickentendah, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. chickentendah

    chickentendah New Member

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    sorry, REAaalllly long post...but if u have the time, i appreciate it! i'm sure some of you can relate to my post....


    Background:

    here's the deal. i've never had a real social life for pretty much all of my life. sure, there were times when acquaintences popped into my life....but nothing serious ever came out of it.........if my shitty social skills and awkward mannerisms didn't kill the relationships, having nothing in common with these people did...

    what's my defn. of a real social life? a modest one. all i need to be happy is just a FEW close friends that are geographically accessible, and a generous grip of acquaintences that I could call out for some networking opportunities. i understand finding people with whom to connect with is not an easy task, and finding people with whom to have things in common with is even harder.

    sooo, i figured wat the hey, i wanna hear it from you guys.

    things have changed drastically over the years. This was the old me:

    1) excessively shy
    2) zero confidence
    3) socially awkward in all sorts of common/typical functions
    3) very little experience interacting with people on my own

    well, im happy to report that i've worked on all those things, and i sometimes find myself interacting in "advanced" situations-----though the awkward kinks from the past like to reappear from time to time....no big deal

    golden advice that has changed me:

    "don't try so hard."
    "act like you don't give a fuck."
    "don't be so needy."
    "focus on being natural for the given situation."
    "they already have friends, so you're going to have to be the one to take the intiative----cuz they won't."
    "if you don't reach out, they won't."


    The Problem:

    i'm an engineering grad student, and i currently have no social life at school.

    1) I already gave my immediately accesible social environment several chances. It shows no promise, trust me on this one. Just picture socially-inexperienced and awkward engineers who have nothing to talk about except their research. Attempts to induce meaningful conversation from small talk is a helpless cause. Just talking to these people is a painful reminder of why my social life never took off in the past. Sooooo, no. I cannot make any close friends from my major classes.

    2) I can go out of my way to take undergraduate non-major courses, however, the age gap sticks out like a sore thumb. The people are generally 3-5 years younger than I am. I mean cmon, how much do I have in common with freshmen who only care about smoking out and getting wasted?

    3) I was never into the Greek scene, so that's not a option. Furthermore, they're extremely exclusive at my school.

    4) I just can't randomly meet people at random places e.g. supermarkets and what have you.....it's not like a pickup game u'd see at a night club......i'm talking about finding friendship from "normal" circumstances

    5) I've never really figured out how to meet people at the gym. I mean most people are there to do their business and not socialize. Is asking for a spot all it really takes? Something's missing from the equation....

    6) I can't infiltrate house parties yet....because I have nobody to go with!

    It's like they say: "It takes friends to make friends." So how the hell do I get into the closed cycle???

    I realize I'm going to have to really get out of my way start spinning the wheels, so what practical advice can you guys give me???? Help me get out of this damn cage!

    :nickos:

    Thanks!!
     
  2. Darketernal

    Darketernal Watch: Aria The Origination =)

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    Location:
    Care,for all is like a bonsai tree
    You have to step towards the people.
    No action = No reaction.
    Act normal ,then you already act crazy enough

    I could give you probably a bunch of more punching lines. But the real problem is yourself. The solution? You can always start a convo by asking a question, if a convo tends to die out, you ask another question to re-lit it.

    SO start with a question, of course you have no-body, and no ways to infiltrate, you don't know anyone, your like a farmer that stands looking at a field and says ' there is nothing '

    Of course not, you have to seed before you can harvest, it will take a lot of hard work , its a continues investment, humor is a great way to make contact, just listen to 'comedy' central on your winamp player for an hour a day, it makes you laugh and it gives you social skills, its all about making other people happy. No one wants to be with a person that doesn't benefit them in any way. In return you will get social contact. That will be your benefit.
     
  3. jsiu

    jsiu New Member

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    Hey! I'm also an engineering grad student (1st year Masters student). What school do you go to and what area of engineering are you studying? Going for the Masters or Ph.D?

    Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Though I've never really had too many problems meeting new people and making new friends, here's a few tips I can give you:

    What are your hobbies? There's bound to be a club or student group for it at your school. Go to their next meeting or event. Don't think about going, just go. In most cases, everyone's welcome to join (even grad students!). In fact, I'm one of the few grad students at a student group at my school and just because of that, people remember who I am, thus giving me the opportunity to meet new people. The point is, you have to be the one to find friends. You have to take the initiative.

    Another way to meet people is to find a recreation class (i.e. martial arts, some sport, etc.) that interests you. Right then and there, you already have something in common with the other students in the class. You also have a topic to discuss with them (i.e. "how'd you become interested in the class?"). Again, you have to be the one to initiate things. If you act like an outcast, that's how you'll be treated.

    Those are only a few of the many opportunities you have to meet new people at school. You just need to get the ball rolling. As you make new friends, you'll be invited to hang out, go to parties, etc. Hope this helps!
     
  4. Toasty

    Toasty Naked people have little or no influence on societ

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    Go to a park and observe the kids for a second. Watch how it takes kids maybe about 5 minutes to make new friends without even knowing their names. Remember when we were like that?

    What changed from back in those days when all it took was a "Hello" or a smile to initiate a new relationship with someone? It's because you grew up conditioning yourself with all these layers of criteria for which you judge whether someone new you meet is just a person you KNOW vrs someone you'd like to have as a friend.

    But think about it, that's our problem, not theirs. You have to adjust YOUR way of thinking to break down all that criteria and just looking at the people who surround you. You'd may be surprised how many of these "socially-inexperienced" engineer types are not all they seem. Trust me, I worked for years along with IT people and thought the same things you did....then one day I looked at them with new eyes and discovered their lives are very rich after all. I just had to alter my own way of thinking.

    If you want to experience another social circle though, you need to put yourself in awkward situations. But you can still tailor it to suit your comfort level. Instead of going to big parties or clubs, perhaps join a night-time cooking class, or maybe a social networking club. These are intimate settings where you're bound to rub up against new people just as you did when you were once just a little kid sitting in a sand box. Eventually, SOMEone is going to say "Hello" and offer you a smile. :wiggle:
     
  5. chickentendah

    chickentendah New Member

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    Thank you all for taking the time to read about my problems and reply. :)

    You have all hit on a very specific and perhaps ethical issue of socializing that I can't seem to figure out:

    When can beggars be choosers?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but anybody can establish rapport with anyone else if they simply tweak their conversations to match the other person's interests...

    I currently have no problem establishing meaningful conversation with random people. (I usually just start off from small talk.....find out what they're interested in....and make them talk about it.) It's just that it gives me no authentic satisfaction to talk about something that only the other person is interested in. Of course, they'll walk away from the conversation feeling like they've connected....but the truth is, I didn't connect one little bit, and it was all just a show. What usually results from these "fake" conversations is that I make new acquaintences with who I have no desire to keep in touch with.

    Why do the popular people e.g. worshipped sorority queens get to choose who they get to hang out with? Just look them up on facebook/myspace. They mostly hang out with a select clique of people of similar interests (shallow ones perhaps...but that's irrelevant). Yet----------they still have an entire entourage of people who would do anything just to hang out with them. Yes they're no beggars.

    Is the solution to simply keep "faking" rapport with new people, and then use them as ladders to meet the people who I can truly connect with? Is it wrong to use people in such a manner?

    I need to...."harvest"...."get the ball rolling"....and "experience another social circle"......I want to CHOOSE who I would like to hang out with.....am I asking for too much to be just myself and to be true to my interests? i don't want to be fake...


    jsiu: electrical, ucsb, both ms-phd two for one deal
     
  6. jsiu

    jsiu New Member

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    Hey, you're just a little north of me! :bigthumb: UCLA, aerospace engineering, 1st year in M.S. program.

    You can most definitely choose who you want to hang out with. You mentioned that when you strike conversations with other people, you end up talking only about their interests. You're not selfish for wanting to talk about yourself and your interests! Try to work a little conversation about yourself into these situations and gauge their responses. If they're not interested in you at all, they're not worth being friends with. When you're meeting these new people, you should also be asking yourself "are they worthy enough to be my friend?"

    No one wants a one-sided relationship. In my opinion, that's worse than having no friends because in the end, you feel as if you've been used to entertain someone else. A friendship is a mutual relationship. As I mentioned earlier, a good place to start finding people where you know they at least have one common interest with you is by joining a group/club that matches your hobbies or checking out a recreation class that interests you. Here you'll be able to have conversations that satisfy both parties. Other than that, it's pretty much hit-or-miss when it comes to meeting random people.
     
  7. edwin23

    edwin23 New Member

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    just have a little patience.. i bet 80% of the people you meet will have at least 1 thing in common you can ahve a convo about.. keep at it if you have someone open up even a little to you.. and like osmeone said earlier you could always just join a club or a sports team.. the latter will guarantee you a bunch
     

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