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August 7th, 2003


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02:21 am - Belonging
I've noticed trait that I, Aaron, Dawn, and imester all share that is fairly uncommon. None of us are "joiners". I noticed, both in childhood and as an adult that most people bond fairly well with their colleagues and co-workers, become friends with them, and often spend much of free time with these people. I don't do this and in fact am rather baffled by the desire to do this. I've seen this in public school, college, various work places, and in covens and magical working groups.

In any of these settings, when I need to work with others to accomplish some goal, be it writing a paper, participating in study group to prepare for a difficult test, or working together to plan a ritual or write a RPG book, I am eager, helpful, and very much of a team player. In fact, in such situations, if the activity is well-defined and one that I am at all familiar with and enjoy, then my shyness temporarily vanishes and I am quite effective at working with others. However, none of this means that I necessarily become any closer to the people I'm working with. I might, if I am lucky enough to discover someone who I feel a significant connection to, this is an excellent way to become friends. However, this happens rarely and most often I am far more focused on the project than on the other people.

However, I have noticed and imester (who is an unusually keen observer of people) has confirmed my observations - most people are not like this. As imester put it, most people become friends with the people who are around and that being good at this is the definition of being social, popular, and well-regarded.

I simply do not find most people to be particularly interesting and even among interesting people, I need a certain level of shared interests and compatible personality traits for me to become close to someone. Beyond that, some people strike me as someone I wish to become friends with (occasionally at first meeting) while most do not. My most vivid recent experiences with this were in my coven in LA and in the magickal study group I joined here. In both cases, I watched many (likely most) of the other people become good friends and start to see each other during their free time. I didn't and I didn't feel left out, because I saw these people as colleagues and fellow magicians, not as friends. I liked most of them and found several of them quite interesting, but I never felt any significant connection with any of them. This same pattern was even more obvious in both of the grad schools that I attended, where most of the other students spent a geat deal of time together, while I had perhaps one or two people who I considered friends in the department.


I'm quite puzzled as to why most other people react so differently to similar situations. I do not know if I am simply far pickier about my friends than most people (which is certainly possible, everyone I become at all close to shares quite a number of traits in common) or if most people simply have far more in common with others. Oddly, it's not even a question of common interests (although that is usually exceedingly necessary), in addition to those, there are some people that I feel quite close to after spending only a short time in their presence or after exchanging a few emails with them, while most other people who I have equally much in common with may seem nice and pleasant, but I lack the strong need to seeking them out. In part, I think this is because I vastly prefer having a few people (which can grow to as many as 12-15 in the right circumstances) who I am extremely close to instead of a huge circle of friends and acquaintances.

I often enjoy medium-sized parties (as long as most everyone there has moderate amount in common with me - gaming convention parties are ideal for this purpose), but for me such occasions are not about large-scale socialization, they involve a combination of hanging out with people I know and like and looking carefully for new people who I might become good friends with and making an effort to single them out and spend as much time as possible with them, talking only with them. I'm curious, is this how more social people regard parties?
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
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[User Picture]
From:autodidactic
Date:August 7th, 2003 10:03 am (UTC)

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The phrase "joiner" has some of the earmarkings of "follower", which, at least in me, prickles the skin ever so slightly. Almost as if what you're doing (and, logically, I know this isn't what you're doing) is suggesting that sociable people are not as bright and/or innovative as misanthropic people.

The question then ends up sounding like something similar to the "What's the big deal with all these idiotic people who like people and want friends?" You'll have to forgive me for the thought. I'm around a lot of nasty people on a regular basis who consider sociability to be a gigantic pain in the ass.

It's possible that you're picky. Or shy. Or that you're surrounded in general by people who don't give the best first impressions. Or that your tastes are that esoteric. Or that maybe you've got the slightest bit of contempt (like everybody seems to these days) about all the people around you. Or maybe you're just not into big groups of people.

I don't think "most" people socialize in any particular way. Especially on a planet full of metropolises (metropolii?). Especially on a planet with cheap means of communication over vast miles and the ability to travel those miles if so inclined.

Bah. I don't know what I'm saying here. Only that maybe you're normal and there's no big secret as to why you are the way you are.

A.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:August 7th, 2003 11:55 am (UTC)
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The phrase "joiner" has some of the earmarkings of "follower", which, at least in me, prickles the skin ever so slightly. Almost as if what you're doing (and, logically, I know this isn't what you're doing) is suggesting that sociable people are not as bright and/or innovative as misanthropic people.

Not at all, it's just that I've noticed a significant different in behavior between myself and the significant majority of people. I'm definitely an elitist, but this is actually something where I place no value judgments on how someone is.
[User Picture]
From:moominmuppet
Date:August 7th, 2003 11:13 am (UTC)
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I'm curious, is this how more social people regard parties?

With the caveats: when I'm in the mood for a party and when I generally like the social scene represented, not really.

I often get a lot out of interactions with people with whom I don't have enough in common to be close friends. In those cases, I like having them as part of my community, I like what their energy adds. I miss them when they leave.

Parties, done well, are an encapsulation of that feeling. I like the group energy, and the fluidity of interactions, and the overall feel of it.

The way you describe how you deal with parties is a reasonably good description of how I do when I'm really not in the mood to be at one.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:August 7th, 2003 12:09 pm (UTC)
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The way you describe how you deal with parties is a reasonably good description of how I do when I'm really not in the mood to be at one.

Odd, assuming there is such a person at the party, I have a great time.
[User Picture]
From:moominmuppet
Date:August 7th, 2003 12:13 pm (UTC)
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I often have a perfectly good time in those situations, but I'd be happier being out to coffee with just that person or people, rather than at a party with them. The party tends to distract from one-on-one time in that regard, for me.
[User Picture]
From:xuenay
Date:May 8th, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
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Whoa. Thank you for this post, I recognize myself exactly from your description. I've never really grown close to - or even befriended very well - people from school or such, either. Previously I thought that I was just not putting enough effort into being social, but reading this is making me re-evaluate that notion.

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