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  1. #1
    Member shimsham's Avatar
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    Default The snowball effect of social awkwardness

    A year ago I moved to a new city, leaving my amazing group of friends and family behind. As an introvert who happens to also suffer from occasional wallflower syndrome around new groups of people, I've had a rough time rediscovering my social niche, and am still in the process of finding like-minded people who "get" me.

    As a very sensitive INFJ, I find that when I feel misunderstood or don't share a connection with those around me, I will quite often retreat from social gatherings, doing the opposite of what I really should. As someone who has moved around a lot in my life, I know that things will get better, but that reassurance provides little comfort for me now.

    How have other INFJs, and INFs, dealt with the stresses of moving? When you find yourself reeling from a lack of a stable group of like-minded friends, how do you get back up and try again? What tricks have you learned to get yourself out of a socially awkward funk?

  2. #2
    Patron Saint Of Smileys Gloriana's Avatar
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    Hola Shimsham!

    I haven't physically moved anywhere recently, but I've had to deal with a divorce. He left in September 2008 and I found myself suddenly single again with literally no local social circle (I have my core group of close friends but they are spread out everywhere, not local to me anymore). I sort of knew instinctively that I had to get my butt out there and make some friends, but the task intimidated me too.

    I joined this site, Do something, Learn something, Share something, Change something - Meetup.com, and just started hunting for groups in my local area by my common interest. I'm a writer/performer and I found a local network for creative people that also held regular meets. In addition to going out for meets, I'm joining online groups (similar to this site) and just throwing myself out there at all angles.

    Now, I admit that I'm always looking for people that I really 'click' with, but over the years I've had to tweak this tendency. Meaning, when I was younger I would literally just give up on a person and withdraw if I didn't feel that connection and that kismet sort of thing. I was very alone and isolated as a teenager because of this. I still hope to find more friends that I can really 'click' with, I'll never give up on that, but I've learned to appreciate certain friends for the positives they DO have rather than fixating on all the things they DON'T have.

    For instance, I have a few friends now that I could never talk deeply with about movies, music, the world, dreams, ideas, etc. but they are animated, fun, upbeat and just genuinely kind people. They have interesting stories, they are warm and welcoming, and I try to go out with them and appreciate who they are rather than who they're not, if that makes sense.

    I have just forced myself to jump in and swim out there. When I go out to a meet or a party, I still hope to meet someone I click with but I just don't hang all my hopes on that. I'm careful about not doing too many meets at once, I allow myself my needs for quiet and recharging.

    I'm still learning and navigating it all. I definitely have a propensity to withdraw because I genuinely don't get the energy and rewards of small talk or socializing in large groups the way most others do. Some parties can definitely zap my energy and I'll feel that need to 'cry out the over-stimulation' sometimes even if I had a great time. I just keep getting up and doing it though, because my rationale says that the 'kindred spirit' types aren't going to show up at my door, that the less I go out there the less the chance is that I will run into someone I really get along with.

    When I do have my 'retreat' periods, I just try hard not to convince myself it's 'impossible' to find people I click with. It can be hard, I do relate to how damned impossible it can really feel sometimes. I might have a day or two where I let it all out with my "I hate most people!" moments, just let myself have my frustration and indulge myself in comforting solitary activities until I can get my determination back up to the forefront of my consciousness.

    I just try and remind myself that I can find rewards in friendships with people that I don't feel that 'click' with if I stop focusing on the stuff they 'lack', and that if I try hard enough I will find more people that I really click with. I have my core group of close friends and I managed to meet them, I try to remind myself that where there is one, there are more, it just might be a bit harder to find. I also make efforts not to blame myself and do that "I'm just a weirdo" thing. I try to remember that there are most likely people out there just like me that are wishing to meet someone like me too.

    I went on long here, but I hope perhaps some of this was helpful!

  3. #3
    Member shimsham's Avatar
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    Hi Gloriana! Thanks for the feedback. I've been considering Meetup.com. It seems like an excellent option for newcomers to a city and people going through a similar experience to yours.

    I'm totally going through that "I'm just a weirdo" phase right now. I suppose that's why I'm really finding that need to surround myself with people who "get" me, so I can get back on more of an even keel emotionally. Once I'm on that even keel, I don't feel the need to hole myself up and recharge for long periods of time.

    And I totally agree with you that not all friends need to connect with me on that deep level. I believe in having a diverse social network too, it makes life so much more interesting to hang out with people who have different perspectives on the world. But it's at times like now, when I'm feeling a little out of sorts, that I really turn into an extreme INFJ: reserved, brooding, only wanting to talk about abstractions, feelings, etc, and it just turns into this self-perpetuating cycle because that's not the right kind of behavior to show when you're meeting new people!

    Maybe a good craft group that I find through Meetup.com is my ticket out of this funk!

  4. #4
    Patron Saint Of Smileys Gloriana's Avatar
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    I relate very much! I get those times where I'm the 'extreme INFJ' too, and I've ignored my better judgment and made myself go out anyway. It was such a bad idea, I was basically stuck inside my own head and I would either wind up babbling uncontrollably about abstract subjects or I would completely miss what someone said to me because I was too busy listening to my own racing thoughts, lol. I'll walk back to my car at the end of the night like "Yeah, damn, I shouldn't be around new people right now", hehehe.

    I know what you mean about the even keel as well. If I'm around people I can't have the deeper conversations with for an extended period of time, I tend to get wonky in the head. In these states I'll even neglect to call the friends that I'm actually really close with, then I finally do and feel so much better, I tell myself to remember that but then I forget how good that feels all over again! I always have to drag myself to the phone repeating the mantra "You will feel better damn it, just dial", hehe.

    I'm stumbling along finding the right formula for keeping things even, but I'm getting there too

    Meetup has worked out good for me, some groups that were duds but a lot I've found interesting and it gives me activities and new adventures. There's a group for like EVERYTHING on there, I hope it works out!

  5. #5
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    Default

    i can't offer much by way of advice, but i can totally sympathize! you're not alone!
    "Develop interest in life as you see it...the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself." -- H. Miller
    -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
    Johari the good..
    Nohari.. the bad, and the ugly

    I'm a FiNe SiTe to see!

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