For a while, I thought I was an extrovert. Then I got to college and it was like NOPE. I’m hiding in my dorm room with headphones even as I write this. I’m putting off lunch because I’ll have to wade through a crowded cafeteria and I really, really don’t want to. Everyone is so friendly and talkative for the most part and I just…can’t.
Oddly enough, I like people. I really do. They fascinate and intrigue me and I enjoy learning about them. But it’s all so mechanical. What’s your major? Where are you from? What’s your ideal career? Do you play any sports? Those four same questions have been lobbed at and by me so many times these past two weeks I might scream. You ask about professors, classes. Then there’s…nothing. Especially at social mixers, the next person comes in the queue and moves along the conveyor belt of social interaction.
Others all around me are reducing themselves to a few stats and purposes as if we were cars or new smart phones. When you ask a people deeper questions—about themselves, their thoughts, and their feelings—most the time they can’t answer because they’ve never considered the question. They’re so indoctrinated to think of themselves as the things they put down on paperwork that they can’t get past it to something deeper.
I know this problem isn’t exclusive to college. I’ve encountered it in other places, just never with such overwhelming duration. I’ve been through day after day after day of trying to introduce myself and getting the same spiel.
Meeting people has been the single most exhausting thing thus far. I know I like people. But the truth is, I don’t like meeting people. What I want so badly is to connect with people, to understand them on some level. With the exception of one or two professors, I don’t feel that’s happened.
I find it’s easier with smaller circles. I’ve started playing Pathfinder with some guys at the dorm and I’ve felt more connected to those stupid nerds than people who are supposed to share my interests. Some feel they do connect during brief interactions and that may be true for them, but for me I don’t see how it’s possible.
When it comes to people, I far prefer quality over quantity. It’s why books speak to me as they do. We get to know the characters on a profound, intimate level. I’d rather have a few close knit relationships than any number of casual acquaintances. That more than anything is why I so despise “meeting” people.