For the college introvert

The fundamental problem is that hanging out with other people begets more hanging out with other people (arranging to play frisbee/drink/study in an hour, etc), and the converse is also true: being alone begets more being alone. As an introvert, you will want to have time to yourself: if you're in a double this means lots of hanging out in the library, if you're in a single, in your room. When I was at Penn I got really angry one time and decided to disappear for a few days and see how long it would be before anyone noticed. I didn't prove anything and I didn't really have a plan for what I'd do if someone actually did text/call me. This is a pretty flawed view of the world. When you are in college you use an availability heuristic to figure out who to hang out with - you see who's around and plan to hang out with those people. If people don't call you to hang out they aren't evil, they probably just assumed you had other plans. If you don't have other plans, you have to find ways around this without sending bad signals. One of the keys is to make plans at meals. Groups are great because then you can make plans together and no one has to act like they are really looking hard for people to hang out with. The key ones to target are lunches and dinners Thursday through Saturday. Try not to ever eat by yourself, it's a bad signal. If you have to eat alone put lots of work in front of you, if people come up to you complain about how your teacher is totally railing you with work, it's entirely unfair, and you can't wait to get out and party in X number of days, oh and by the way what are your plans? Or, go eat alone at the nicest restaurant in town, order wine, tip generously and act like it's totally normal. Working in the computer lab is helpful too. Don't expect to get work done there but you can talk to people, complain about all the work you have to do and sometimes even have intellectual conversations. Set up weekly social events like hookah in the quad or cooking on Fridays or philosophy at the Press. This way you don't have to arrange anything, you'll be comfortable with the people you're hanging out with, and you can be doing whatever the whole day before you're supposed to meet. My favorite parts of the week are rock climbing on Mondays and bowling on Wednesdays. Take chances to give in-class presentations or speak in public when they are offered. With practice these are easy opportunities to excel. Take every opportunity to meet people through classes.

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One thought on “For the college introvert

  1. Cheryl

    Got here via your Angry Nerds Hacker News post. Hope you’re well.

    You rock climb? I just started this year — we now have a group at Atlassian that goes most Tuesday and Thursday lunches.


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