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My experience: 21 years old, college student. How can I be happy?

RedsFan2000

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I'll try to make this brief, but I will probably fail.

Edit: I failed

I am a 21 year old college student, junior. I have always been socially, intellectually, and emotionally advanced than 95% of people my age. I taught myself to read at age 4 without my parents' help. I memorized the top 10 tallest buildings in the world at age 6 and the longest rivers in the US at 7. I am very intelligent, but my grades could be much better since I find it a waste of time to put effort into certain assignments when I could be learning a subject that is much more worth my time. I'm actually typing this during my computer science class.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm an INTP.

I often feel overwhelmed by being around immature college students who have lousy senses of humor, poor social skills, and uber-emotional tendencies. I thought people would grow up when they got to college, and I honestly think they have gotten more immature now that the parents are gone. I hate big crowds as the conversations become more immature and "small-talky" as more people show up. Especially with college kids.

I know I sound like an arrogant douchebag already, but I am actually a very humble individual. I am very accepting and willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. I never go out of my way to brag. I treat people who respect me with uber kindness.

You would think maturity and humility would be attractive traits that would draw a lot of people my age to respect me and look up to me. Spoiler alert: it's not.

Most people my age have not been good to me. A lot of people in the past have had a problem with me for seemingly no reason. I have been picked on for my entire life, partially because I'm small, but partially because I think I highlight the insecurities of most other people my age, and even some people older than me.

A lot of my classmates are not happy enough with themselves to give me the respect I deserve. Instead of looking at me and saying, "you know, that kid is awesome" they look and think to themselves (probably subconsciously), "this kid makes me feel bad about myself. I need to bring him down to my level to feel better about myself."

Textbook insecurity. I've put up with it my entire life and it is so unbelievably frustrating. I've gotten this from roommates, co-workers, flight instructors, friends, and so many others. Normally the people who pick on me are within a ~5 year age range of me, usually people that are still trying to figure themselves out.

I want to be socially accepted, but that would require me to be a different person so I don't inadvertently make anyone feel bad about themselves. Not gonna happen. I am already experiencing this a bit with my current roommates, and I am just so tired of it. I can tell some of them are a bit insecure (one in particular) and I can see some conflict on the horizon.

SO...

For those of you who have made it all the way down here after that fucking mouthful...

I am on a quest to be happy. I want to just live my life and be myself, but it is very hard when being myself results in so people having a problem with me. I am very self-conscious. I have a feeling other people on this forum have a similar experience to me, so feel free to leave your input. Thanks.

ok, BYE!
 

ameliajane

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I'm a 20 year old college kid (also an INTP). To be more specific, I'm in my second year of law school.
To say my university experience/experiences in general mirrors yours is an understatement.
For example, I have a quiz that'll make up 10% of my overall grade for the course 'Trial Practice & Criminal Procedure' in an hour but here I am typing this. I didn't even study at all up until now.

I just wanted to let you know that I totally relate. I literally face everything you listed every single fucking day and I'm fucking tired.
All I want is to be HAPPY. Is that too much to ask?
 

BurnedOut

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Don't worry. Been there, done that. Counselling helped immensely. I was lucky to get the right one at the right time when my life was completely in shambles.

Your thought process is quite similar to mine, however, I learned in terrible and absolutely miserable ways what it leads to. If you analyse your own claims about the world around you, you will one day certainly realize that they just get you more fucked in the arse. Don't call yourself humble just yet. Such disdain is unavoidable when you process more than the others but don't forget that if somebody is happier than you, they are doing something right and you're not.

You'd be surprised how much normal people can teach you important things - most importantly - pragmatism. Pragmatism eludes intelligence all the time. Life is rather easy to live because there are very definite rules to live it. There are definite rules to think about it. Overintellectualize and you lose touch with reality. Life is difficult when you see a lot of nuances but becomes easier when you are able to choose and accept that choosing is more important than dithering. Ultimately, you are human and not god. You will realize in time that hindsight is not 20/20 and hence being intelligent is not automatically going to make you a good decision-maker.

My problem was with overstimulation and lots of boredom and, of course, insecurity piled up over years and years of fuckups. I'm in a much better place. My remedy was cutting off toxic relationships, start my life over again and engage myself and make friends and socialize a lot often. Socializing helps me a lot in calming me down and making me feel reassured. As weird as it sounds, I am not a social person but I choose to be when I need to fulfil my dopamine, oxytocin and seratonin quota which happens to run low quite often due to lack of friends and past decisions.

Do the right thing - seek help when you need it.
 

Puffy

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I agree with BurnedOut and think there's a lot of wisdom to glean from his experience.

Personally, I think this might be a part of a phase that people who resonate with this forum go through around this age of early adulthood. In the early days of this forum, a lot of the main posters here were of that age. It felt like as a group culture that we were processing a similar form of crises of how we fit in with the rest of society: taking up the INTP label as a means of distinguishing ourselves and justifying our "difference" as misunderstood intellectuals from all the ESFJ muggle normies. I feel that's why this community was so intimate at first as a lot of people were feeling a kind of relief in "finding their tribe."

I can only speak for myself, but for me personally I've come to terms with it as an excuse that I was making to avoid facing my own social problems.

In my experience, the more I've embraced this internal judgement (and it is an internal one) of difference, the unhappier I've been. There is a form of a lack of humility in that judgement, as in order to believe in it I have to confer some kind of special status on myself that sets me apart from others. This belief goes on to create my own suffering by leading me to reinforce behaviours that make me lonely, alienated, isolated, etc. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy and a delusional belief that for me at least was based upon early experiences of being rejected by others which in turn caused my identity to evolve in an anti-social way.

Once I recognised that this was just a belief I held on account of a history of difficult experiences, I was able to take the positive actions needed to start changing it. By improving my social skills, making friends in different social circles, trying things I wouldn't normally try. Gradually I discovered that I'm a different person than who I thought I was when I was 21, that I have a lot of gifts and traits that others value, and that deep down I really like people in all the different forms they come and enjoy connecting with them.

We all have our own stories and this is just a reflection of how mine has evolved from a similar point as the OP's when I was 21. Like BurnedOut I found therapy helpful so I'd say get whatever help you need. You're young so time is very much on your side with this one, the sooner you start the longer you'll be able to reap the benefits.
 

Minuend

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So I do not have the experience (sorry my apostrophe button is broken) of being better off intellectually or emotionally from a young age. But I do have the experience of feeling different and feeling like I will "never" find a place to belong.

I find that if you can not find your needs being met by others, perhaps you can meet the needs of others. I mean, there are people like you, who are less perceptive, less capable who feels the same. Who do not feel understood or feel they have anyone to rely on. Then, why not be that person for others? People always need the "wise older". If there is no such person, why not be that yourself? Instead of looking for that person in others, perhaps you can find some meaning in being that for others?
 

Puffy

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So I do not have the experience (sorry my apostrophe button is broken) of being better off intellectually or emotionally from a young age. But I do have the experience of feeling different and feeling like I will "never" find a place to belong.

I find that if you can not find your needs being met by others, perhaps you can meet the needs of others. I mean, there are people like you, who are less perceptive, less capable who feels the same. Who do not feel understood or feel they have anyone to rely on. Then, why not be that person for others? People always need the "wise older". If there is no such person, why not be that yourself? Instead of looking for that person in others, perhaps you can find some meaning in being that for others?
You’ve always come across as intelligent and perceptive to me, minu. I feel like sometimes modern culture encourages too narrow a definition of intelligence. Like, I have a few dyslexic friends who did badly at school and think they’re unintelligent as a result. They’re not, it’s just that society has taken a square block and tried to force it through a triangle hole. I feel like some people just haven’t discovered or been shown the environment they need to thrive in yet.
 

LOGICZOMBIE

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I want to be socially accepted, but that would require me to be a different person so I don't inadvertently make anyone feel bad about themselves.

Humans aren't really that difficult to figure out.

Even a police interrogator knows how to get people to "open up".

It's as simple as showing some interest in them and then giving them some space to talk without interruption.

 

Puffy

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I've come to terms with it as an excuse that I was making to avoid facing my own social problems.

Do you still consider yourself INTP ?
I considered myself INTP in my early days here. INFJ was a label I identified with more. I haven’t paid much thought to MBTI for a few years now though.
 

BurnedOut

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Resentment is one of the biggest causes of misery. Nietzsche can explain that better to you than anybody else.
 

scorpiomover

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I'll try to make this brief, but I will probably fail.

Edit: I failed

I am a 21 year old college student, junior. I have always been socially, intellectually, and emotionally advanced than 95% of people my age. I taught myself to read at age 4 without my parents' help. I memorized the top 10 tallest buildings in the world at age 6 and the longest rivers in the US at 7. I am very intelligent, but my grades could be much better since I find it a waste of time to put effort into certain assignments when I could be learning a subject that is much more worth my time. I'm actually typing this during my computer science class.
Why mention that your grades could be better? If it doesn't make sense to get a better grade, then that's the grade you should get.

You're hinting that deep down, you know that just because something is less than 100% optimal, doesn't make it worthless.

You're on a CS course because you think it's worth learning the material or getting a qualification. If you can learn the material better, or get a better grade, you're achieving more of what you want from the same course, and so being efficient and making that course as optimal as it can be, and thus being 100% optimal.

I often feel overwhelmed by being around immature college students who have lousy senses of humor, poor social skills, and uber-emotional tendencies. I thought people would grow up when they got to college, and I honestly think they have gotten more immature now that the parents are gone.
If thinking of these college students as immature and stupid does not make sense, then why not think of them as super-advanced carbon-fibre AIs?

If you want to date lots of girls at ANY point in your life, that's the time when it will be easiest and most accepted by society, without interfering with the rest of your life.

If you want to experiment with social skills and dating skills to better develop your skills and figure out what you want, university is the time when there's lots of opportunity to do that, and when people won't mind too much if you make a mistake here and there.

If you want to meet, date, fall in love with and marry a college grad, then you'll probably be most likely to meet someone like that in college.

You can get some of that IRL, but not nearly as much.

I hate big crowds as the conversations become more immature and "small-talky" as more people show up.
When Richard Feynman would hang out with his friends in the pub after work, spies might be listening. So the bigger the crowd, the more spies could be there, and the more the smart people have to censor their conversation and remove the important stuff that pertains to national security.

Likewise, if a woman is having treatment for cancer, she cannot openly discuss the most important matter in her life right now, because to do so would mean that her children will hear that she has cancer and will become very upset, when she might live and so they would have suffered for nothing.

So basically, "small talk" is about communication without content.

It's not the content that is important in small talk, but the context, which is all about semiotics, and how to transmit the meta-data that tells us what the content means and what we should do with it.

There's a whole other layer in communication that you're supposed to be listening to.

Especially with college kids.
College kids are pushing their brains as much as they can with their studying. They want to give their minds a rest after work, at least, from the content.

You are not maxing out your brain's capabilities. So you've not been mentally tired after studying.

I know I sound like an arrogant douchebag already, but I am actually a very humble individual. I am very accepting and willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. I never go out of my way to brag. I treat people who respect me with uber kindness.
I'm sure you are. But you've just said that you sound like an arrogant douchebag because you said that most people are immature, and that you're willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.

If you're willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, then why not give them the benefit of the doubt that they're being rational, but you are misunderstanding them because you're assuming they are idiots when they are not?

You would think maturity and humility would be attractive traits that would draw a lot of people my age to respect me and look up to me. Spoiler alert: it's not.
True. But if you are misunderstanding them, it's like you speak a different language. What you think is a compliment, may sound like an insult in Klingon.

You can only make that judgement, once you understand how college kids perceive maturity and humility and what college kids think maturity and humility look like, and then consistently act like that, and then you can see the results.

So first learn what college kids think maturity and humility look like. Then and only then can you show maturity and humility to college kids.

Most people my age have not been good to me. A lot of people in the past have had a problem with me for seemingly no reason. I have been picked on for my entire life, partially because I'm small, but partially because I think I highlight the insecurities of most other people my age, and even some people older than me.

A lot of my classmates are not happy enough with themselves to give me the respect I deserve. Instead of looking at me and saying, "you know, that kid is awesome" they look and think to themselves (probably subconsciously), "this kid makes me feel bad about myself. I need to bring him down to my level to feel better about myself."

Textbook insecurity. I've put up with it my entire life and it is so unbelievably frustrating. I've gotten this from roommates, co-workers, flight instructors, friends, and so many others. Normally the people who pick on me are within a ~5 year age range of me, usually people that are still trying to figure themselves out.
You say you understand the motivations of the people who interact with you. But you only get as far as "textbook insecurity". Discovering that your program has an textbook division by zero, isn't any good until you come up with a way that it's not a problem.

You need to look at "textbook insecurity" as information and information is power. If you understand how they work, you can use their insecurity like a lever to get them eating out of your hand.

I want to be socially accepted, but that would require me to be a different person so I don't inadvertently make anyone feel bad about themselves.
You are perceiving reality as if there are only 2 extremes of either being aggressive and criticising people without consideration of their feelings at all, or being passive-aggressive and saying only those things that you think everyone will accept.

You can be assertive and state your views on different issues, without critiquing the intelligence of other people.

Not gonna happen. I am already experiencing this a bit with my current roommates, and I am just so tired of it. I can tell some of them are a bit insecure (one in particular) and I can see some conflict on the horizon.
If you're living in close quarters with someone else, you'll have to make adjustments for each other. You need to learn to be able to communicate with each other. You need to give a bit, and they need to give a bit.

It's a set of skills that you need whenever you're living with others.

SO...

For those of you who have made it all the way down here after that fucking mouthful...

I am on a quest to be happy. I want to just live my life and be myself, but it is very hard when being myself results in so people having a problem with me. I am very self-conscious. I have a feeling other people on this forum have a similar experience to me, so feel free to leave your input. Thanks.
You don't understand people, and need to understand people, to get on with them.

The beauty of people, is that they really do work as super-functional AIs, once you start to try to understand what they do from that perspective.

It makes sense as well, because humans are carbon-fibre AIs that were increasingly improved in a planet-sized evolution machine for a billion years. All humans. It's in the hardware.

Then life gets a LOT easier, and a lot more interesting.
 
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