Anyone For An INTJ? - 10.13.97

When I first went off to college, I was a bit scared that I wouldn't be able to meet anyone. During my four years of high-school I basically only hung out with two different people, and I wasn't a hugely outgoing type. Upon moving into my room at college, though, I heard someone pumping their stereo across the hallway. If any one thing has ever been a conversation starter for me, it's been music. I walked right into their room and started talking to them. We ended up becoming great friends. Throughout the year, I met even more people through organizations, classes, and through a campus job. Basically, there was never really a lack of places to meet people.

Now that I'm out of that loop, I'm finding that the whole social situation is a lot different for me. I don't find myself able to just walk down the hall of my apartment building, knock on a door, and start talking. The world outside of college just isn't structured nearly the same. People close themselves off more from the outside world, partially due to the fact that you're can't be sure of everyone. In college, you can walk down the hall of a dorm and usually come by several doors that are open. The inhabitants are playing video games, card games, or just chatting and it doesn't matter to them that you walk by and look in. This happens because people know that for the most part, everyone else in the dorm is in almost the same situation as them. They're living in close confines with one or more people, eating almost the same food, and taking classes just like everyone else.

It's a little harder to gain that kind of trust outside of a college environment. If you live somewhere where you get to know your neighbors, you might feel a little more at ease, but you'd probably still never leave your door wide open if you were just inside reading or something.

Now I've gone and gotten off track again. The point I'm still trying to make is that college life is structured around meeting other people like you. Once you get out of that structure, it becomes much harder (especially if you're introverted) to go out and meet other people with similar interests.If you're lucky, you'll end up working with a group of people that are relatively the same age and have some of the same interests. If you manage to fall in somewhere that you don't match up as well, you have to go other places.

I personally have the predicament of not really being into the bar scene while living in a city that thrives on it. I'll admit that I've had some fun conversations and times at bars, but it's really hard to get into it as much when the hardest mix drink you order is two parts H and one part O. If I look at it logically, I probably shouldn't even be going to bars if I'm trying to meet people with the same interests (because I really don't like bars in the first place).

Because the bar scene isn't my deal, I've tried a couple other places, but they both kind of ended the same way (probably due to the same problem). I've gone to a coffee house a couple times and just sat with a journal and a book, jotting ideas down as they came to me. I looked around hoping that I would see someone the same, but unfortunately people looked too much the same. Everyone looked so intent either in thinking, reading or writing that I didn't even want to bother anyone with a question. I went to a big bookstore and it was the same way, although I did strike up a very small chat with someone at the magazine rack (they told me I had a good issue and we discussed why it was). Again, I think my timidness (or perhaps I just didn't want to bother anyone) stopped me from doing anything.

One place I've tried to frequent (due to my above liking of music) is dance clubs. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit of a musical snob, so I can't just go to a club that is playing the Top 40 hits and try to dance. I have found a few places that I can stand to shake my groove thing at, though, but I still end up going in by myself and leaving the same way. Every once in awhile, I end up talking to people, but they're usually the ones that start up the conversation.

After months of going through some of the same routines, it's basically come down to a few things. One of these is the fact that I'm being too picky with who I hang out with. After looking at this item, though, I don't feel like that's such a problem. If I don't feel comfortable talking to someone, then I probably shouldn't try to keep it up. Chances are, they're probably just as bored as I am. The second thing I've figured out is that I'm also far too damn introverted. People have come up to me and started conversation, so I must not be totally un-approachable (either that, or they felt sorry for me). Changing this side of my personality might take a little more work, but I think it's something that's manageable. It's not like I want to become the person that goes up and start grinding on people when the music starts thumping, but I would like to be able to feel like I can go up and talk to someone if they look interesting. I guess I'll see what happens.