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finding a place for oneself

ruminator

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I find that in situations where one belongs to a non-mainstream subculture, it is difficult to find a group of friends who shares one's interests. Please see the spoiler for my definition of subculture.

When I say "subculture", I am referring to common interests that are non-mainstream, and are more than just hobbies. They transcend to attitudes, personality, mood, lifestyle, values, vibe, atmosphere, energy, emotions, interpersonal relations, style, etc.

Examples: hip-hop culture, electronic/rave culture, punk, metalheads, goth culture, Anime culture, hippie culture, spiritualism and religion-based lifestyles, etc.

With a hobby (like "oh I like art"), it isn't a huge deal if you don't have friends to share it with. But with subcultures that transcend to more of a vibe, energy, way of life, it makes a big difference. You can still be friends with people outside your culture, but you won't feel completely happy, will feel out of place, something will be missing from your life until you find "your place", your people, a community that fits you.

To illustrate what I mean, I will use hip-hop culture as an example. This is not my personal situation, I just think it is an easy example. I don't want to get into what my subculture is because it will detract from the point of the post.

For many years, I have had a strong non-mainstream passion that literally none of my friends were into. In fact, my friends were all into the opposing , mainstream culture. When I would hang out with friends, it was never really my vibe. I didn't fully enjoy the atmosphere, I just tolerated it.

example: imagine someone who identifies with hip-hop culture, growing up in Nashville, constantly surrounded by country music fanatics. every party they go to, and just every time they hang out with people, it is based on the country music vibe/energy, style, attitude, etc.

I felt a bit empty because not only did I not vibe with the people I was always around, but I really really wanted friends to connect with on my level, my vibe, and share my passion with, instead of just experiencing it alone all the time. I wanted someone to share it with so badly.

I recently went to another place, where my culture is more widespread, and it was a strange, bittersweet feeling. I felt amazed at how wonderful it feels to have people around you share and relate to your interests. But it felt kind of like when someone rubs what you lost in your face. Every moment, I was witnessing how it would have been to grow up in that atmosphere, and was feeling terrible that I missed out on that.

example: the hip hop person going on a trip to NYC, and being around other people who were into hip hop culture for the first time in his life, seeing the lifestyle, people who grew up in that culture

I don't really know if I was just stuck with a crappy situation, and it would have been the same for anyone in my position.......or if I just failed at dealing with it properly.

When I talk to people who were lucky enough to find their place, it is really unsatisfying. I tell them my struggle, and they respond with "oh, yeah it wasn't like that for me, I always had friends who were into the scene." Like um...okay? Super unhelpful. If someone talks about a life struggle, like living in poverty, it would be messed up to say "oh I was always well off". It would be nice if they at least tried to empathize "wow that sucks, that's a difficult situation to be in." That would at least make me feel like it wasn't my fault and it really was a tough situation, and would have been that way for anyone, not just me.

But on the other hand, someone said to me the other day that if you are in such a situation, you've got to FIND the scene, and become part of it. The hip hop person in Nashville should have FOUND the hip hop scene, no matter how small it may be, it will be there. But I don't get how that works, because after you find it....then what? Sure, he can find small hip hop concerts, but once again he would just be going alone. How would he actually meet people and become part of the community?

So I really don't know. I feel two things: A) I feel like I was just unlucky, which makes me feel victimized, B) But I sometimes also think maybe there was something I could have done differently, and blame myself.

It's weird to feel both. Usually I feel one or the other. Either you feel like things were unfair, or you feel like it was your fault. Never both.

If someone were to tell me "Your situation wasn't any worse than anyone else's. Other people also have such difficulties, but they were able to handle it better." I would feel a little better, because at least it wouldn't feel so unfair. Or, if someone were to say "There was nothing you could have done, it was a bad situation, and most people in your situation would have fared the same." I would feel a bit better because at least I wouldn't blame myself.

But as of now, I'm feeling both (that it was unfair/bad luck AND I am to blame)...so it feels worse.

It would be nice to hear from other people who experienced such difficulties and how they dealt with it, whether they were struggling, like me... or if they found ways to get around it, and I just failed at that.
 

elliptoid

the void is a lie
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Hello

So your feelings are very common but that shouldn't be taken to minimize your experience. It's probably a bit painful. I like the way you used general terms to avoid specifying and getting lost in the details.

Anyway, let me just tell you that maybe somewhere around half of people who have similar feelings simply resign to a life of loneliness. This obviously doesn't work for everyone but at least it's authentic. Loneliness of course means different things to different people as I would argue that Pablo Picasso for example was intensely lonely his entire life even though he was constantly surrounded by friends and women and fame.

Others are leaders. They use charisma and novelty to gain a following and produce the results they need for the moment. They too, can be drifters, and unwilling to relinquish ownership over their creations. Artists just the same.

Then there's the people who do compromise a little to get along and go along, and then later feel guilty, shorted, or otherwise resentful when the experience falls short. This might be the category you're in. Hopefully you're young enough to keep trying. You have to just keep trying anyway.

Too late to ruminate.

Edit 1 - I just have to add that I'm sorry this is causing you to suffer right now and yeah a bitter mix of "bad luck + I'm to blame" isn't like brown sugar in your afternoon tea that's for sure.
 

Serac

A menacing post slithers
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I don't see the problem with that situation at all. And perhaps the people who are not as sympathetic to your experience as you hope for are neither. When you are in this subculture coming from a different background, you can use that to synthesize your own style. No one is on a perfect path to anything, and that's how interesting results are born. For example that hip-hop individual could incorporate country music into the prevailing hip-hop genre and create a new flavor of it.

I have a similar feeling towards mathematics sometimes, as it's my main vocation. I wish I was tutored by some math master from when I was 3 years old so that I could have been a math superstar at this point. But then I realise that I have a bunch of other experiences that I wouldn't have if that happened, and I use them and combine them into my own unique shit.
 

Ex-User (8886)

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I have similar situation, I was raised in SF family, where everyone is religious and I wasted most of my life on learning how to be a good person.

And I watch all these friends who had parents teaching them from childhood.

Answering OP:
I like to think that it isn't my, out yours fault, I believe everyone do always his best, we are just biologically programmed machines, we are thus limited and can't be too hard on ourselves.
 

elliptoid

the void is a lie
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I like to think that it isn't my, out yours fault, I believe everyone do always his best, we are just biologically programmed machines, we are thus limited and can't be too hard on ourselves.
Not trying to pick a fight with you sir but I do wonder if this is has slipped past the conscious threshold,

you mentioned a religious upbringing and I think this is where your mistaken belief comes from.

In all likelihood, any given mood or emotional state or perceived failure or let-down in life could absolutely be the given individual's fault, and a susceptibility to dismiss these faults as natural is the stuff happy and carefree people are made of, at the cost of ignorance and lack of rigor. :evil:
 

Fulgor

Redshirt
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Warning about my written english, its not refined.
Felt something very similar, actually my environment remains almost the same, so far and close at the same time.
I can't change the past, it made what i am, i just can decide what to do now.
The negative part of losing time of not using all the potential i could have with another influences its also balanced by a wider and richer perspective of my own existence, isolation, feeling of failure and pain resulting of that gave me a lot of insight.
At the end we are going to die anyways.
 

Yellow

for the glory of satan
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My opinions, and even my preferred way of life, differs significantly from the beliefs of my entire peer network, IRL. But the few times I've sought the present company of "kindred", I've found them equally unpleasant.

The truth is my "differences" are a convenient scapegoat for the fact that I just don't connect with people outside the artificial environments imposed by professional decorum or text-based interface.
 

cheese

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Yellow said:
My opinions, and even my preferred way of life, differs significantly from the beliefs of my entire peer network, IRL. But the few times I've sought the present company of "kindred", I've found them equally unpleasant.

The truth is my "differences" are a convenient scapegoat for the fact that I just don't connect with people outside the artificial environments imposed by professional decorum or text-based interface.
I've started wondering something similar for myself. If people who are ostensibly like me are just as insufferable as everyone else, maybe I'm just an asshole who hates people.

Or in more general terms: If a change to a supposedly ideal environment doesn't entirely fix your problem, maybe the environment wasn't the root cause.

(Also I left some laundry at your place - hope you don't mind. I just can't deal with a washing machine's fucking bullshit in person.)
 

Yellow

for the glory of satan
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I'm sorry Cheese, I exchanged your laundry for a really cool salt shaker. I figured you'd understand.
 

loveofreason

echoes through time
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Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese! :hearts:

The truth is my "differences" are a convenient scapegoat for the fact that I just don't connect with people outside the artificial environments imposed by professional decorum or text-based interface.
This.... as far as a place to belong, this forum has been the heights of 'belongingness'. Not because I find all other people intolerable, but because I don't know how to express myself, or what I need to do in social contexts in 'reality' in order to connect.

There is also a fear that real life friendships require more than I can give - that I can't invest enough to create something of value to another person (making me a parasite) and conversely that I can't shut them off when I need to in order to preserve my well-being, (feeling vampirised; depleted). Boundary issues much? :confused:
 

Minuend

pat pat
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So I really don't know. I feel two things: A) I feel like I was just unlucky, which makes me feel victimized, B) But I sometimes also think maybe there was something I could have done differently, and blame myself.

It's weird to feel both. Usually I feel one or the other. Either you feel like things were unfair, or you feel like it was your fault. Never both.
Like a few people already have mentioned, the experiences we have are part of what shapes us. You probably have a lot of specific perspectives, experiences and insight due to the things you've been through. So it's not all for nothing, as it gives you an advantage in certain types of perspectives. (Oh missus, my English has really become pretty bad).

If I were to straight up label my history, I could probably pretty comfortably call it a failure in many respects, but dwelling on it or thinking I should've done differently wont alter the past, so the only thing to do is learn from it and maybe try changing things for the better now and in the future. I think I kinda consider what I did in the past more or less inevitable given who I was and how I reasoned. And I will probably think of the bad choices I do today the same way in 10 years.

Other than that, making friends when you are adulting and can't force your friendship on classmates can be a bit tricky, especially if you have niche interests or tend to be attracted to people who spend most of their time home alone where you never really meet. I'm in a similar situation. I don't have friends and don't have a good way to go about getting some.

A few people mention how they didn't really benefit that much from kindred spirits, I'd say I have most fun and feel less alone in the world when I "hang out" with similar people. Though, I guess it depends on what aspects of yourself you're refering to when saying "similar". I certainly have intolerable personality traits I wouldn't enjoy in others, but being around people with a similar humour, perspectives and laidbacksy is nice. Whether they are similar to me in personality is less important than stuff like that
 

Polaris

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I’m not that bad at finding friends, or rather, they usually find me. I kind of admire people who can be bothered to break through all the aloofness. I’m not particularly friendly. There are people at my work I still only say good morning and good bye to...even after two years. I don’t use gentle language, I goof around and swear a fair bit, so maybe that puts certain people off. I’ve never been that good at doing the girly thing. It takes me a long time to warm up to people, which means I can go from extremely aloof to complete wacko over a few months, and then some people seem a bit shocked to find a foul-mouthed cynic under the blank facade. My colleagues think I’m only capable of having one mood, apparently. I don’t smile or laugh much.

The problem is the maintenance. I spend too much energy trying to force myself through a normal week, which means I have very little energy left for friends. I don’t contact people unless I have to. People at my work have tried unsuccessfully to get me involved in their going out nights. I just feel like I’m over all that, I’m twice the age of most of them...it’s just too weird. The academic environment has been somewhat of a refuge. Here I can nerd out as much as I want to, and people just appreciate it. My academic friends are many years my senior, and extremely accomplished - they challenge me to excel, which is what I need.

But I am quite isolated because I have moved around most of my life and feel somewhat burnt out in terms of friendships and relationships. I’m not comfortable when people get too close, but at the same time, I miss companionship.

Which sounds exactly like my father, who just pushed people away with his aloof-but-paradoxically-needing-company-thing. I completely understand why people give up on me - it’s difficult to relate to someone like that.
 

Serac

A menacing post slithers
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I’ve never been that good at doing the girly thing.
So you're a female? I've always been convinced you are a dude.

Unless you mean you're a dude who sometimes does the girly thing – I ain't judging
 

Polaris

Radioactive vision
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So you're a female? I've always been convinced you are a dude.

Unless you mean you're a dude who sometimes does the girly thing – I ain't judging
Not a dude in physique, but apparently in mind :pigs:
I think I’ve just spent too much time in my own head...
 

cheese

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Yellow said:
I'm sorry Cheese, I exchanged your laundry for a really cool salt shaker. I figured you'd understand.
Huh, so salt *does* get rid of stains.

Lor, such a pleasure to see you around again! :D:D:D
 

loveofreason

echoes through time
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I missed you! I tried to find a place... but it just led me back here, to my old familiar cheese....
 
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