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  1. #11
    The Destroyer Colors's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor
    Ever since I have been a little boy, I would bowl up to groups and just start interacting without first seeing what they were doing and saying.

    Naturally the group would reject me for not paying them enough respect.

    And even today I find I do the same thing.
    Have you tried the same thing, except with the "first seeing what they were doing and saying" bit? I mean, half of communication is listening, right?

  2. #12
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    In real life:
    First observe the group for some time (before rushing in) to see if the group is willing to "take" you as their member and who would be the most easy to approach in the group.

  3. #13
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    This makes me think of a thread here maybe two or three months ago, after I just joined, about how the different types approach going to a party. I seem to remember a lot of us (myself included) saying that we usually go in, find a safe spot, and analyze people and conversations before interjecting ourselves into them.

    This might be just an 'I' thing, but I think the same philosophy can hold true with small groups not associated with a party. Feel them out a bit first, and I think it is less intrusive, and also seemingly more respectful.

  4. #14
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    I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about what it means to "fit in". Somehow the phrase has come to mean "becoming like everyone else." It saddens me to see people accepting this false dichotomy between being yourself and being socially appropriate. There's no good reason for anyone not to fit socially into the average small group. You don't have to become best friends with everyone in the group; small group dynamics usually depend more on social skills than on denying yourself and becoming a copycat. A department business meeting, a small classroom, a dinner party, a family reunion--all of these events require small group skills, but none of them would demand that you reinvent yourself in order to be accepted.

    A couple of people have pointed out the importance of taking time to observe what's going on. I think that introverts sometimes overcompensate for their introversion. In an effort not to seem stand-offish, they sometimes jump in without taking time to survey the terrain. Don't be afraid to watch for 5 or 10 minutes when you're new to a group. Take it slowly when you begin to interract. If you're not sure what to say, it's okay to wait until someone speaks to you first. There's nothing wrong with being new to a group, nothing wrong with acknowledging that you're an outsider and you don't know all the inside jokes and phrases. They really don't expect you to.

    I remember an old Andy Griffith episode about a new guy who came to Mayberry and freaked everyone out because he knew everything about them. He knew their names, where they worked, who their spouses were, when and where the last social event was, etc. He jumped in just like he was one of them. Naturally, people found him creepy and began to avoid him. In the end, it turned out that he was from a big city and just wanted a hometown of his own. He subscribed to the Mayberry paper and studied it for months to learn all about everyone so he could fit in seamlessly when he came--but he forgot to allow time for everyone to get to know him.

    The same holds true for any other small group. Give yourself time to figure out what's going on and what is acceptable behavior, and give everyone else time to warm up to you. Offer some information about yourself, as seems appropriate, and show an equal interest in them. Don't flood them with personal stories or lectures about your pet project--save those for close friends. It's generally safe to talk about whatever has brought you together: lightweight business at a business meeting, kinship at a family reunion, subject matter in a classroom. Either way, respect the group and let it lead you.

    Ironically, one of the things that often makes it difficult for people to fit into a group is their overwhelming desire to fit in. They become anxious and unnatural, and this feeling is unintentionally but unmistakably communicated to everyone else. It becomes a bit self-fulfilling. The advice to "be yourself" is less about clinging to any tactless idiosyncrasies and more about being calm and comfortable in your own skin.

  5. #15
    Wild Card Atomic Fiend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faith View Post
    Ironically, one of the things that often makes it difficult for people to fit into a group is their overwhelming desire to fit in. They become anxious and unnatural, and this feeling is unintentionally but unmistakably communicated to everyone else. It becomes a bit self-fulfilling. The advice to "be yourself" is less about clinging to any tactless idiosyncrasies and more about being calm and comfortable in your own skin.
    This is true, I never had closer friends than when I didn't even care for having them anymore. It's actually quite funny.


  6. #16
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Accomodate others. Dissappear into the crowds. Frequent the drawing rooms of the bourgeoisie. Talk about nothing.

    Do not give a hint of who you are.
    Pracitise in front of the mirror. Ape the body language of your local goebbels and his magda.

    Be calm and comfortable in their skin.

  7. #17
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    wildcat's method would work if you're trying to just blend in, vs find acceptance, Victor.

    It depends on what you want.

    If acceptance and support is what you're looking for. Perhaps don't bound up to every group and expect that acceptance straightaway. More, study what they are like. We do become like our friends.

    Are they who you think could be with you for the longer term. Or do they take you further from who you want to be.

    Even as an E, I tend to do more listening vs talking at the start. I do chat, but it is surface level things. To tease out reactions, actions, figure out thoughts, motivations. I was watching this forum for a month or so before I joined for e.g.

    Understanding others helps them accept you. If you want to fit into a group, determine what role it is you want to play in it, what would you give up to fit in that role, how would that role help you. Is that what you truly want.

    I don't see it as a sacrificing of personal values to fit in... it is not an all or nothing... it is more, an allowing in of external influences, which could help you grow, which could kill some parts of you... but overall, it should be positive?

    So.. make that choice carefully.

  8. #18
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    Good post there faith!

    Quote Originally Posted by faith View Post
    I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about what it means to "fit in". Somehow the phrase has come to mean "becoming like everyone else."
    In my opinion joining a group means that I bring myself to the group as addition to what there was before. I bring my personality and hopefully it something positive and something that will make the group even more versatile. I never want to adjust groups so that my own personality disappears and with my personality I don't think it's possible that I disappear anywhere.

    A couple of people have pointed out the importance of taking time to observe what's going on. I think that introverts sometimes overcompensate for their introversion. In an effort not to seem stand-offish, they sometimes jump in without taking time to survey the terrain. Don't be afraid to watch for 5 or 10 minutes when you're new to a group. Take it slowly when you begin to interract. If you're not sure what to say, it's okay to wait until someone speaks to you first. There's nothing wrong with being new to a group, nothing wrong with acknowledging that you're an outsider and you don't know all the inside jokes and phrases. They really don't expect you to.
    This is exactly what I mean. Observe before rushing in. I do it too even if I'm very very strong extrovert. People might not even notice the first time they meet me how strong extrovert I am. I'm pretty quiet and observing when meeting most of people but of course that depends on situation. Especially when facing a big group by myself, I'm very observing. There is not point in rushing in straight away because people think you are obnoxious and they think you might be a threat to the groups harmony and cooperation.

    Before joining any group, observe the social interaction inside the group. Observe the social unspeakable rules. Observe the used language. Observe the limits for their taste of humor. Observe the situation. Observe the interrelations between the group members. Observe who would be approachable person in the group. Observe if the group is willing to take new members. Then when you have observed enough, try to think something reasonable to say to the most approachable member of the group and wait for the right moment to step in and say it. Wait for the answer, read the signals you get and try to figure out if your first move towards the group was the right one. I do all I described there intuitively without rationally or consciously thinking about it so it doesn't has to be real hard thinking process.

    It will take time to become a member of the group and sometimes it will never succeed, depending on the group. Don't change anything when joining a group, be who you are and be honest about yourself.

    I think the whole thing is harder online (at least for me) because I'm used to read people in real life and in online world I miss the actual facial expressions and the "feeling" people intuitively. It is very hard for me to make my impression of people online only based on their writing but I'm getting there. It takes much more time but I think I have some people figured out (in a good way I mean ).

  9. #19
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    wildcat's method would work if you're trying to just blend in, vs find acceptance, Victor.

    It depends on what you want.

    If acceptance and support is what you're looking for. Perhaps don't bound up to every group and expect that acceptance straightaway. More, study what they are like. We do become like our friends.

    Are they who you think could be with you for the longer term. Or do they take you further from who you want to be.

    Even as an E, I tend to do more listening vs talking at the start. I do chat, but it is surface level things. To tease out reactions, actions, figure out thoughts, motivations. I was watching this forum for a month or so before I joined for e.g.

    Understanding others helps them accept you. If you want to fit into a group, determine what role it is you want to play in it, what would you give up to fit in that role, how would that role help you. Is that what you truly want.

    I don't see it as a sacrificing of personal values to fit in... it is not an all or nothing... it is more, an allowing in of external influences, which could help you grow, which could kill some parts of you... but overall, it should be positive?

    So.. make that choice carefully.
    This is a lovely post - in a warm and friendly tone - and giving good advice - but let me ask for a little more.

    Something that is indelibly part of me is that I am highly excitable - I get very quickly excited by good ideas, or music or good company.

    It is as though I burst out at the beginning - I take no time at all to warm up - with something I like or someone I like I am instantly excited - unfortunately this is sometimes, too often, met by instant dislike.

    I have wondered about this for a very long time and found that High Excitability, or sometimes called Over Excitability (OE), is a defining personal characteristic of the gifted.

    So I have joined two gifted groups and found people just like myself in relation to Over Excitability. I have had my IQ measured independently and found it is in the gifted range.

    So Over Excitability is quite indelibly part of me. It works really well when I am doing something I really want to do or someone I really like, but tends to work against me in situations I don't like.

    And the thing is, I really like small groups - I like to understand them - I like to be part of the group - and I like the social interaction - and I like to be stretched in small groups. Hey, I discover myself in small groups and you.

    But I bounce in like an over active labrador - and then it is, "Down boy, down boy, down".

    Actually I want to enjoy my excitement and find appropriate people and places to be excited.

    Capeesh?

    Victor.

  10. #20
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    Heh. That post, Victor, reminds me of my high school students who try to convince me that I should let them to burst out talking in the middle of class because, "This is just how I am--I can't help it. I can't change. This is the real me."

    Your enthusiams sounds delightful. But most delightful things do need to be curbed now and then. Once the small group gets to know you, they'll probably appreciate your enthusiasm.

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