Remember to be yourself. Just maybe not all at once.
Life shuffles up the people in my life fairly regularly. Each new job or new class starts over the process of meeting people, forming opinions about them, and deciding how much time and attention I’m going to give them. On my end, I make things easy for people. As long as you’re no one’s bully I’m your new best friend.
For other people they each have their own way of handling new social situations. Many people like to critique everyone they meet. They label each person in a group and that label influences the group to treat any one individual with a set amount of respect. What would you do if everyone told you to stay away from the one guy who sits alone because they say he has problems? Would you defy the group to reach out to the one?
This is unfortunate because most people I meet are terrible judges of people. The ones doing the labeling never take time to get to know the person. And their labels are usually based on quick impressions they made by scanning a few tiny details. Most of these people don’t even feel a need to talk to someone before passing final judgement on them.
What is my defense against being labeled? It would be nice to enter new social settings without being pigeonholed for once. Nearly every setting I’ve been in has contained at least one person who would have some instant dislike for me. And I have never had anyone defend my good name against my attackers.
My only defense has been to lay low. I’ll enter a new area and limit my interactions with people down to the necessities. I won’t share my world views with them so they won’t have any group to relegate me to. I’ll keep details of my personal life to myself so their preconceived notions won’t kick in. This strategy won’t make me look impressive to anyone, but I’d rather be an extra in the background than be criticized for not meeting people’s arbitrary standards.
I want to walk into new situations and just be accepted. No hoops to jump through. No having to prove myself to anyone. Just meet people and then work together. No need to overthink it. The best I can do is not make it hard for people to join whatever group I find myself in. Sociality shouldn’t be a challenge. The only requirement for it should be showing up.