Because it sounds like what your fellow students are doing is very basic so they get a social/mental picture of who the people are and how they fit in the 'universe' of the school. And a lot of seeming introductory small talk is just a honing tool to tap into deeper conversation later. It's hard to get to the deeper stuff without doing the initial stuff first.
Well...technically you are alienating yourself because you are opting out of the conversation and the dynamic. It is possible to feel comfortable as an observer but it seems you're not even interested enough about the topic to be a true observer.If I...
a) don't do and don't say anything without pretending to care while the group is still in the discussion, I feel alienated almost instantly, which is a serious handicap in most cases;
This implies to me that you want to feel connected or a part of the group regardless of the uninteresting conversation, so that you do want to connect with fellow students and are trying to figure out how?
There's a way to do this that doesn't seem rude or awkward. And in fact seems smooth. Good conversationalists know how to segue into other topics and stories and keep things fresh. It's also easy to learn if it is not natural.b) try to change the subject, somehow I'm either perceived as impolite or strange -> awkward situations.
If you try to change the subject too abruptly or too obviously that you are merely railroading someone else in conversation, no, it's not received well. I remember I had a friend do this to me by turning up her car stereo to the point it was drowning me out. I thought it was not only rude but it was really odd. She was a highschool friend I was reconecting with in college but after that I lost interest as it seems we just went really different ways.
If you want to make avenues in conversation something as simple as "Wow really? [insert polite question here] You know, what that reminds me of? [Insert new line of conversation here]"
If you don't like the how a conversation is going and you can't change it, your two options are to 1) leave it or 2) join in.
So are you assuming that people who engage in small talk like in your descriptions automatically are people who aren't interesting and that you have nothing in common with?I think I just don't care about people I don't find interesting enough.
But how will you ever know if there is something about them that is interesting to you if you never engage them or bother getting to know them?
It may seem superficial and unnecessary or boring, but a lot of that initial superficial searching and small talk is a way for people to hone in on other people to make a deeper connection with.
Hmm...I think if you answered the above questions ^^ I've sprinkled in this response it would help craft some advice.Do you think I should keep trying, is it worth it? Know any techniques to keep up with the discussion? Did you ever have such problems? Is this an MBTI-related issue?
I hope I made myself clear enough (ugh, english...). Comments are welcome.
But right now, I'm not quite sure what you are asking or saying.
Are you trying to find another way to find and connect with fellow students? Are you writing them off because they socialize and like to do things that you don't? Are you trying to think of ways to find new students that you haven't met to connect with?
I kinda have my own take on 'clicking' with people or not but I don't want to encourage bad habits () so I'll let you answer first.
Congrats on the new semester!