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Hey guys,

I'm a 21 year old ENFP and i have an 18 year old INTJ brother. We get on quite well and share a lot of the same interests (comedians, video games, movies etc). But my brother is VERY isolated. I know this is common for you guys, but it kind of feels like it's to the extreme with him. He wants to get into medicine (i will explain this later). He is currently redoing his final year of school at community college because he failed last year, and since then has really changed his studying and life habits. So far he has been doing amazingly this year (he is always in the top 2 students in every class, and the top student in a couple).

This is his daily routine.

5.00am Wake up

5.10am - 6.00am Go for a run

6.00am - 7.00am Go to the gym

7.00am - 7.20am Eat

8.00am - 3.00pm Go to school

3.00pm - 7.00pm Study

7.00pm-7.30pm Eat

7.30pm - 9.30pm Study

9.30pm - 5.00am Sleep


And then the cycle repeats itself. I'm sure he does other stuff in there too, like shower and plot for world domination. On the weekends It is just purely study and exercise.

He has literally no friends. He talks to absolutely no-one at school (he told me), he doesn't have any old school friends he talks to, and he really only talks to the family at dinner. He is really awkward and uncomfortable in social situations and seems to have little to no social skills with strangers at all. He has always been more introverted, but even a few years ago he had friends and did things with them from time to time. He also seemed to be less serious and more relaxed.

I try to invite him to things, but he always declines and says that he needs to study. He says that he doesn't have any desire for friends, and doesn't agree with the importance that I place on having social interaction. Now I understand that i'm and ENFP and he's an INTJ, so naturally we are going to differ in this area, but even so it seems a bit extreme.

I've explained to him that if he wants to study medicine then he needs to pass the "Med Interview", and currently he would not pass it with his social skills. He agrees with me and agrees that he needs to fix it. But he has a "i'll deal with it later" mentality. That's fine with me, and i don't want to stop him from achieving his academic goals, but it just seems like the longer he goes without fixing it, the harder it will be to fix.

So here are my questions:

1) Is this okay?
2) Is it healthy for an INTJ to have no friends or social contact whatsoever outside of their family?
3) Did you ever experience a period where you were extremely socially isolated while focusing on your goals?
4) How do I help my brother with socializing when he is finally ready to do it (what would make you feel more comfortable while learning to socialize)?



Sorry for the wall of text here, please accept this photo of Nicholas Cage as an apology. Thanks!

cage5.jpg
 

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Well whether he has a serious problem or not, he's really lucky to have a brother who's so considerate, caring and level-headed about all this. Many people would assume it's abnormal and respond negatively; you seem to really take a level perspective. That said, I'm not sure I can offer much advice, not to mention I'm an INTP.

So here are my questions:

1) Is this okay?
In itself I think it can be. The problem is, I think, that generally when someone becomes very withdrawn and experiences severe social anxiety (or any kind of sever anxiety) then something isn't okay. Any psychological problem stems from something. Not being a psychologist, I don't really have much else to offer. Hopefully some actual INTJs can offer up something better.
One thing I might suggest, if you feel he trusts you and feels he can be really open, is to maybe try and understand what else might be bothering him– perhaps at a much deeper level.
If this doesn't seem too wierd, you could suggest that he just writes about what might be bothering him. I say that because, generally, introverts find it easier to express themselves in writing but more importantly because people with sever social anxiety may have a hard time thinking clearly when talking face to face with someone– even who someone they're generally comfortable with. Just a suggestion...
2) Is it healthy for an INTJ to have no friends or social contact whatsoever outside of their family?
Personally, I think it ultimately depends on whether or not the person is happy and comfortable with this. I mean to include that if someone has no friends or social contacts, it would be healthy if it is a choice. Having social anxiety is never enjoyable and is widely considered to be unhealthy, and being withdrawn because of it is probably closer to avoidance than choice.
3) Did you ever experience a period where you were extremely socially isolated while focusing on your goals?
I'm not an INTJ, but I have had problems with social isolation before and am also prone to anxiety. About the goals thing though: I have read that intellectual competence is extremely important to NT types and feelings of incompetence might lead to unhealthy life patterns. I generally don't like such MBTI focused views on these kinds of things though, but I thought it might be worth mentioning. I barely remember any of the specifics but I'm sure I could find something about this if you want.

But some people, myself included, sometimes get into a cycle where they feel they're not ready to meet people and instead dedicate themselves to self-improvement. They might feel that before anyone can like them, they need to be better, so they completely devote themselves to self-improvement but it doesn't really help because it's so artificial– it's like deciding you're not ready to drive and responding by playing driving video games excessively. The mind-set is somewhat like eating disorders– they always need to improve. I have fallen into this in the past but unfortunately have little advice to offer.. I don't think I ever worked up a solution so much as it gradually waned with time. But if your brother is obsessed with working out and studying and tends to avoid socializing then it sounds like he might be having a similar problem. It could be, for example, that he wants to be valued as intellectually competent but doesn't feel like others will see him that way, so he is studying so much and trying to be academically perfect so that he can reach his ideal. Perhaps this partly owes to how he failed a year of school, which maybe hurt his confidence (though I doubt that could be all) Has he always been so withdrawn, or did it start recently?
4) How do I help my brother with socializing when he is finally ready to do it (what would make you feel more comfortable while learning to socialize)?
Hm, I'm trying to think about this and it's difficult to say. For one, feeling like a third wheel or a 54th wheel is never comfortable– by 54th I mean being at a party where you don't feel like you belong or something. I have an ENFP brother and he often invites me or drags me along to all sorts of things but often times I just feel really out of place. I think it helps to have a personal reason for being somewhere– such as seeing your friends or the potential to make new ones. Related to this is that I think attitude and expectations is big. When I expect not to be able to relate to anyone or that the whole experience is just going to be uncomfortable and awkward then it usually is. If I hold out for an enjoyable experience then that tends to be more of what I get, even if I'm uncomfortable. If you're brother doesn't have any desire (or tells himself he doesn't) to make friends or if he just expects that people won't like him (this is commonly a fundamental part of social anxiety) then the chances are he will only have bad experiences. The perspective of cognitive psychology would say that he first needs to change his way of thinking and the behavior will follow– speaking of which, if you (/he) think its warranted, cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most effective method for treating social anxiety (it combines cognitive therapy, where the person is helped to recognize faulty, irrational and unproductive ways of thinking and to develop new effective ones, with behavioral therapy, which often involves exposure (in this case, gradually forcing oneself to be more social). I do not recommend taking anti-anxiety medication though. I think its a flawed way to avoid the problem and Xanax and its cousins are notorious for ruining lives.

I might come back with something here if I think of anything else.
Sorry for the wall of text here, please accept this photo of Nicholas Cage as an apology. Thanks!

View attachment 71621
Good god I am stealing this apology technique. Hilarious!

IMG_0017.jpg

Hopefully there was something in my wall of text that is useful, but even more so I'm sure others will have something useful to say–
Best!
 

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My final year of high school involved neglecting as much friends and social life as I could manage.

During exam period I would try the routine of working three hours, sleeping one hour, working three hours, sleeping one hour, and repeating this for a few days...

It was like driving myself into insanity through sheer willpower. But it was temporary.

When I got into uni I was so use to working hard that it came easily, and I had time for friends again! Yay.

There are some years that working hard pays off the most.

After he finishes studying perhaps point out to him that charisma + leadership skills developed + polished appearances = far less effort needed for dealing people = greater success more easily, just through prep time and self improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@ManWithoutHats

Holy mother of fuck! Thank you so much for putting so much effort into that post. I'm actually shocked lol (in a good way)

One thing I might suggest, if you feel he trusts you and feels he can be really open, is to maybe try and understand what else might be bothering him– perhaps at a much deeper level.
I have tried to do this, but he swears that there is nothing wrong with him. He says also that he never really experiences social anxiety, he calls it "Social Inability" lol. He says that he isn't nervous about what people think of him, but he just has no idea how to connect with them, so he withdraws. I'm not sure if this is a way of just covering up what is actually social anxiety, but he is pretty honest about himself so I don't know why he would lie.


I have read that intellectual competence is extremely important to NT types and feelings of incompetence might lead to unhealthy life patterns.
This is very true for him. When he started failing last year is when he started becoming more introverted and withdrawn.

If I hold out for an enjoyable experience then that tends to be more of what I get, even if I'm uncomfortable.
I was thinking of taking him to a night out to watch some standup comedy with my two INFJ friends. It doesn't require a lot of talking, and when it's over there is plenty to talk about ("how awesome was that guy!" "how bad did that joke bomb" etc etc).

Once again, thanks for that amazing post.

Good god I am stealing this apology technique. Hilarious!
Take it! Nicholas Cage makes everything better
 

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1) Is this okay?
I understand that as an ENFP you're worried and all, but everybody has defects in one way or another and what you're telling me reminds me of a INTJ friend of mine, when he was younger, crucially enough. I believe the best thing you can do is to see the positive as often as possible, his studies and strict personal schedule for example and maybe even smile and laugh at him because he's cute doing his thing or whatever, tease him a little. It don't think it's good if he notices that you're troubled with his behaviour. It's never easy changing an INTJ (and maybe one shouldn't try to) since they are often very independent and locked in themselves in a way (this is not always a bad thing of course, but sometimes.) He simply does not have the need or will to emotionally and socially connect with other people, yet. Give him a few more years, it is no rush, he's still very young. Just try to keep yourself happy and healthy, I believe that might be the best thing you can do for him at this moment.

2) Is it healthy for an INTJ to have no friends or social contact whatsoever outside of their family?
Some INTJ's just work this way and as I just said, he's still young, only 18. He will find a friend or two eventually and they will probably become close friends who stick no matter what.

3) Did you ever experience a period where you were extremely socially isolated while focusing on your goals?
Yes.

4) How do I help my brother with socializing when he is finally ready to do it...
In the end, you shouldn't help him, he should help himself. Just be a presence I guess. I dont know, just act chill like nothing is wrong if he acts strange or if he seems nervous or whatever.

(what would make you feel more comfortable while learning to socialize)?
I don't know about your stance on illegal drugs but for me, a little bit of ecstasy, definately. This is absolutely not necessary but if you ask me, it's like therapy for people who don't use Feelings that much or isolate themselves, or develop social phobia. I've tried it two or three times over the past years (though I was more of an INTP back then) and it sky-rocketed my social skills (not just under the high but afterwards aswell, I learned alot), my "relaxedness" and understandings about connecting emotionally which is something that's just supposed to "happen", in a flow-like manner, which is something many logical persons (maybe especially INTP's and INTJ's) may have huge difficulties with. But save that for later when he's like 25 or something if you like/understand the idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@default settings

Thanks for the post i like this idea:

point out to him that charisma + leadership skills developed + polished appearances = far less effort needed for dealing people = greater success more easily, just through prep time and self improvement.

@Eustache

Thanks for your post too, i really appreciate the effort :)

In the end, you shouldn't help him, he should help himself. Just be a presence I guess. I dont know, just act chill like nothing is wrong if he acts strange or if he seems nervous or whatever
By 'help' i mean invite him to things or take him places and I would only do this if he wanted me to though. I agree with just acting like nothing is wrong if he is acting nervous or strange, otherwise it just brings attention to the problem.
 

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He has always been more introverted, but even a few years ago he had friends and did things with them from time to time. He also seemed to be less serious and more relaxed.
Drug dealer? Just kidding... I guess.

I try to invite him to things, but he always declines and says that he needs to study.
Don't invite him to things, invite things to him.

Now I understand that i'm and ENFP and he's an INTJ, so naturally we are going to differ in this area, but even so it seems a bit extreme.
Don't take it personally but we hate extroverts... I mean it.

But he has a "i'll deal with it later" mentality. That's fine with me, and i don't want to stop him from achieving his academic goals, but it just seems like the longer he goes without fixing it, the harder it will be to fix.
Trust him. INTJs and their awkward sense of priorities. We never achieve anything just because you said we should. He will surprize you when he start to feel personally obsessed with mingling.

1) Is this okay?
Yep.

2) Is it healthy for an INTJ to have no friends or social contact whatsoever outside of their family?
Not healthy yet normal.

3) Did you ever experience a period where you were extremely socially isolated while focusing on your goals?
Always.

4) How do I help my brother with socializing when he is finally ready to do it (what would make you feel more comfortable while learning to socialize)?
You are already doing it right. Just be sure that you are not "invasive" with your "happy-happy-joy-joy" ENFP crap. Believe me, you have no idea about his inner universe. It may be unimaginably fragile or ridiculously solid beyond your current understanding. If it's working, don't fix it. Just a little maintenance and it will be perfect.

Sorry for the wall of text here, please accept this photo of Nicholas Cage as an apology. Thanks!

View attachment 71621
One of the most prolific actors of our times.

 

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1) Is this okay?
2) Is it healthy for an INTJ to have no friends or social contact whatsoever outside of their family?
3) Did you ever experience a period where you were extremely socially isolated while focusing on your goals?
4) How do I help my brother with socializing when he is finally ready to do it (what would make you feel more comfortable while learning to socialize)?
1) It's normal, so don't worry about that.
2) Well, it's not healthy, but that's a common thing if he is focused on his goals. I personally don't have too much friends either, and I don't see my family frequently because I feel drained after being with too much people, so I understand that your brother isn't fond of having friends.
3) Yes, specially when I have to study for the finals I prefer to be left alone. Any distraction at that moment annoys me to no end.
4) Don't press him too much for being sociable, probably that will backfire if you bring him to places where he doesn't like to go. Besides introverts tend to feel overwhelmed by extroverts, so it's better if you help him, but being careful of not driving him nuts in the process.
 

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1) Is this okay?
- I'd say so. My ESFP mum thinks I'm isolated and worries about me going to Japan on my own next year, but I'm generally fine with just focusing on my work. I think some people are just happier with either a few close friends, or just family.

2) Is it healthy for an INTJ to have no friends or social contact whatsoever outside of their family?
- Healthy isn't really the right word. You should be looking at whether or not your brother is happy, or just content, with how things are. If he doesn't feel any strong need to change anything, there's probably no problem. I personally find family to be some of my best friends, better than a whole lot of people I've met.

3) Did you ever experience a period where you were extremely socially isolated while focusing on your goals?
- Still am, relatively. I meet with friends over the holidays, but during the semester I only talk to people in classes. It's easier for some people to balance that kind of thing, but it can be really draining and, again in my personal experience, I find it easier just to focus on one thing at a time and then I do much better.

4) How do I help my brother with socializing when he is finally ready to do it (what would make you feel more comfortable while learning to socialize)?
- If you invite some people over to your house when your brother's not busy (and by people, I mean close friends of yours you know he'll get on with), then just invite him to sit with you guys. I don't know how you socialise, but when my sister's around her friends and I happen to be there, I talk with them.

Overall though, I know you're worried, but his behaviour is fine as long as he's happy that way. And if he's not, who's to say he won't change it by himself? I'd stop worrying about him and see how it goes.
 
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Along with everyone else, I really thought this was a nice post - although personally Nicholas Cage gives me the creeps. With that warning in place about my own obviously-skewed social life . . .

I think a critical factor is whether your brother's imposing this regime on himself, or it is (somewhat) imposed by the fact that he wants what he's aiming for, and this is the only schedule that will get it for him. There was a stage in my life where the schedule was more or less what you described, except you'd have to swap out all that exercise and insert 'be a mom'. I wanted to do the course of study I was involved in, I wanted my kid as stable and happy as he could get, and anybody I had given a moment's opening to at the school I was at would have followed it up by hitting on me, so I spoke to literally nobody all the time I was there. It wasn't healthy in the sense of 'good for me' but it was right for what and where I was at the time, and the circumstances. I think an important factor too is that your brother is driving for a goal which has a finite deadline . . . and the 64k question is, what will he do once the goal is achieved? If he maintains the regime when there's no longer a need for it, you might need to worry, is what I'm saying.

An insight into INTJ processing/cognitive peculiarities that might help a bit: Along with what others have said about competence, there's the factor that (in my case) I usually need to shut out all other things while I'm driving for competence. The thing is, when I focus on something, I have to focus. I almost physically can't manage 'getting my head round something' in parallel with more 'normal' things. So if I were in his shoes and admitted that I 'couldn't deal' with people, I'd be meaning it in a very literal, processing-style, how-my-mind-works kind of sense, more than an emotional one. I barely register bipeds as human beings, in one of those fogs. Your brother sounds like he had a reality check via failing a year, and now his priority is probably on getting that unforeseen speedbump all levelled out. It's possible that while he's engaged in that task he's experiencing the same kind of human-life mental fade that I get.

You could try mentioning (if it's true) that you miss him, but without any guilt tripping overtone, of course. I'm suggesting that from the viewpoint of someone involved with an artsie INFP who also barely registers the difference between humans and fire hydrants while he's 'working' on something that's lit his fire.
 

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1) Is this okay?

Yes, I have run through this experience myself(being withdrawn, not going out, anti-social) and went through it for a couple years. It didn't hurt me and I didn't feel that it was necessary. I was pursuing a goal that required a lot of my attention and not to mention that it was very important to me to reach this goal. Something has to give and I chose to sacrifice my social life. Yes I lost some friends but I have them back now that I can dedicate time to socializing again. When I set my mind to something and it is really important to me, I will sacrifice nearly anything to reach it. It seems to me your brother is doing the same that I did. Saw that a change needed to happen, rededicated and reorganized his priorities to achieve a goal and sacrificed his social life to free up more time. I could be wrong but that's what I see.



2) Is it healthy for an INTJ to have no friends or social contact whatsoever outside of their family?

Not too sure where you're going with it being "unhealthy", but if he has set his mind to something it's going to happen whether you like it or not. Now he does in a fundamental way still have social interaction through the family. I would be more concerned if he not only cut out his friends but also his family. He just "cut-back".



3)Did you ever experience a period where you were extremely isolated while focusing on your goals?

See #1, during that time about the only social interaction I had was with my wife when I was home and with a few peers at work because I had to.



4) How do I help my brother with socializing when he is finally ready to do it (what would make you feel more comfortable while learning to socialize)?

Take him places that don't require him to interact with a bunch of people but still has groups of people. Like going to the movies or a theme park. You're around a bunch of people and can watch them but don't necessarily have to be sociable with them unless you want to. Keep things small when there is going to be interaction. Have a BBQ at the house and invite a couple people over, he will be more comfortable in a place he is familiar with. He will lead the way when he wants to become more sociable again. Don't force it, he has to deem it worth his time again before he will dedicate time and energy back into it.

 

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1) Is this okay?
Yes, he has you to talk to that should be enough for the most part :wink: A couple of cousins of mine did about the same when going for med.

2) Is it healthy for an INTJ to have no friends or social contact whatsoever outside of their family?
I've experienced having quite a few and have little, little makes me feel better in general.

3) Did you ever experience a period where you were extremely socially isolated while focusing on your goals?
Yes, going into one again right now. :kitteh:


His routine is not bad, a strict routine is definitely good, having to decide too much during trivial matters let the brain somewhat tired to study. He should probably exercise less though and sleep more.


I think he should rather do this (I've studied quite a bit about studying so I didn't had to study :laughing:):


6.00am Wake up

6.10am - 7.00am Exercise

7.00am - 7.20am Eat

8.00am - 3.00pm Go to school

3.00pm - 3.40pm Nap

3.40pm - 7.00pm Study

7.00pm - 7.30pm Eat

7.30pm - 9.30pm Study

9.30pm - 6.00am Sleep


Good luck to him! I hopefully can pass my tests too (and win the decade of legal battles that ensue these... :frustrating:).
 

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When I was younger, I pretty much talked to my family only during dinner. My schedule is very much structured so that I can get things done in an efficient way. I usually decline my colleagues’ invitations to non-work related social activities, and also decline friends' invitation to activities involving more than 2 or 3 people. I found that I am more healthy when I don’t need anyone around me, and less healthy when I am in need of talking to people or being around with people.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Don't take it personally but we hate extroverts... I mean it.
I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to say here?. (and it's okay i'm not gonna take it personally) Thanks for the post though

@Mugino Shizuri Thanks a lot!



If you invite some people over to your house when your brother's not busy (and by people, I mean close friends of yours you know he'll get on with), then just invite him to sit with you guys.
@laurie17I will do something like this, thanks for the advice

@lilysocks Thankyou!

@NewHorizon Thanks for the advice

@Alx7
A couple of cousins of mine did about the same when going for med.
That's reassuring. Thankyou :)

@bluecielo Thanks!


I really appreciate the advice in this thread. It's made me feel much better, thankyou!
 

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Hey guys,

I'm a 21 year old ENFP and i have an 18 year old INTJ brother. We get on quite well and share a lot of the same interests (comedians, video games, movies etc). But my brother is VERY isolated. I know this is common for you guys, but it kind of feels like it's to the extreme with him. He wants to get into medicine (i will explain this later). He is currently redoing his final year of school at community college because he failed last year, and since then has really changed his studying and life habits. So far he has been doing amazingly this year (he is always in the top 2 students in every class, and the top student in a couple).

This is his daily routine.

5.00am Wake up

5.10am - 6.00am Go for a run

6.00am - 7.00am Go to the gym

7.00am - 7.20am Eat

8.00am - 3.00pm Go to school

3.00pm - 7.00pm Study

7.00pm-7.30pm Eat

7.30pm - 9.30pm Study

9.30pm - 5.00am Sleep


And then the cycle repeats itself. I'm sure he does other stuff in there too, like shower and plot for world domination. On the weekends It is just purely study and exercise.

He has literally no friends. He talks to absolutely no-one at school (he told me), he doesn't have any old school friends he talks to, and he really only talks to the family at dinner. He is really awkward and uncomfortable in social situations and seems to have little to no social skills with strangers at all. He has always been more introverted, but even a few years ago he had friends and did things with them from time to time. He also seemed to be less serious and more relaxed.

I try to invite him to things, but he always declines and says that he needs to study. He says that he doesn't have any desire for friends, and doesn't agree with the importance that I place on having social interaction. Now I understand that i'm and ENFP and he's an INTJ, so naturally we are going to differ in this area, but even so it seems a bit extreme.

I've explained to him that if he wants to study medicine then he needs to pass the "Med Interview", and currently he would not pass it with his social skills. He agrees with me and agrees that he needs to fix it. But he has a "i'll deal with it later" mentality. That's fine with me, and i don't want to stop him from achieving his academic goals, but it just seems like the longer he goes without fixing it, the harder it will be to fix.

So here are my questions:

1) Is this okay?
2) Is it healthy for an INTJ to have no friends or social contact whatsoever outside of their family?
3) Did you ever experience a period where you were extremely socially isolated while focusing on your goals?
4) How do I help my brother with socializing when he is finally ready to do it (what would make you feel more comfortable while learning to socialize)?



Sorry for the wall of text here, please accept this photo of Nicholas Cage as an apology. Thanks!

View attachment 71621
1) In my book, yes. 2) It really depends on the person. People who crave/ live off of social engagement would suffer in that situation, but that doesn't seem to be a problem with him. It's not uncommon for INTJs who are building up their career to behave like this. It probably comes down to this: your brother wants to focus on his career and knows that even if he does want some social interaction, those activities will require attention that he would rather place in studies. He doesn't want to start relationships when he knows he won't be able to give a proper amount of time to them over an extended period. 3) Yes. I'm in it and have been in it for a long long time. 4) He might not need any help, but if you do decide to intervene, don't do anything overwhelming. Maybe help him find a few people who share his interests (intellectually) and encourage him to contact them. 5) Apology [definitely] accepted.
 
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