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I'm starting college next August. I'm still not entirely sure about my identity and I'm having some trouble figuring out exactly who I want to be for the next few years. I have some regrets about high school... I was in a group of anime-obsessed goth INFJs and INTPs my freshman year and I felt so accepted, even though the ridiculous amount of Fe was irritating at times. My sophomore year, I started trying to act more "normal" by doing things like shopping at trendy stores instead of Hot Topic, and basically creating an alter ego for the purpose of changing my demeanor. I dropped out of the club I was in with my goth friends and sort of drifted away from them. As a result, people thought I was less weird for the rest of high school but I was left with like 6 friends all in different social groups. I was friends with a bookworm, a couple of popular people, a dorky girl, and two antisocial badass chicks. I went to very few school dances and never went to prom, and I'm just thinking that I could have gone with my nerdy awkward tumblr friends if I had stayed with them and we would have had an awesome time being stupid. But I'm worried that if I go that route in college, I'll get made fun of just as much as I did in high school. So, fellow INFPs, which do you think is better? If you were in my situation, would you try to stay at "average" social status and join a variety of clubs to make friends? Or would you devote yourself to being the edgy weirdo that a part of you really wants to be? If it helps, I'm going for social work and I really don't want to be seen as a negative person. But it's also sort of my last chance to go to parties and just have fun.
 

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Real friends are more important than appeasing cruel people unless there's a threat of violence, in which case you should take that to the authorities and learn some basic self-defense.

I would just be myself and try to connect with like-minded people or other people who seem interesting/interested.

I've always been very grateful for having good friends and I can't imagine wanting to give them up for something like the approval of silly children.

I would try to connect with people who respect your values and goals for the future as well. College students can get into some dangerous situations with drinking and drugs, and you need to know what your comfort and boundaries are about those situations, as well as peer pressure (like...bullying someone is wrong, so I wouldn't want to do that just to fit into a peer group, and that sounds like the peer group you're considering).

But again--real friends are much more valuable than the approval of those who would make fun of you or your friends.
 

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I was similar in high school. I only had a few friends from all different groups and didn't really have one real group of friends.

In college, I had a great group my freshman year. Everything was good but I was convinced to rush and join a fraternity. The whole hazing thing didn't matter to me, everyone went through it and it helped our pledge class form a bond. But what did really damage me was the fact that, throughout the past three years, I was constantly bullied by my "brothers". That isn't to say I'm not friends with some of them and know that some do fully respect me but the fact is, for whatever reason, most likely because I'm introverted and can definitely be awkward in big groups of overwhelming extroverts, I quickly began to get absolutely shit on by a few of my brothers. The worst part is, none of them ever had the balls to make fun of me one-on-one. It was all just a show to have laughs at my expense, to pry girls away from me, to make themselves feel better. It quickly got to a point where I felt like I was walking on eggshells because anything I did would be taken as me being inferior and stupid. Once I got ripped on for drinking my own beer when we had a keg as if I didn't process that we had a keg - nope, sorry, I just wanted beer that didn't taste like water. But, overall, it was much worse than that. As a group, I just wasn't taken seriously.

I never really recognized it as bullying until recently. But this past year, as a junior, I began to expand my social circle and, for the most part, spent my weekend nights hanging out with other people. But I guess my whole point is to do what makes you feel comfortable and do what you enjoy. Don't feel like you have to prove yourself to anyone, especially not your own peers. If they don't respect you, fuck them. I wish I realized this sooner because I'm going into my senior year living with a couple guys I don't know and, although i still do have a good number of friends outside of my fraternity and of those who go to different schools, it feels like I'm going to basically be starting back at square one with no real friend group while everyone else has theirs established. It feels like high school all over again and it quite honestly sucks. So, basically, don't make these same mistakes. Don't join some exclusive group, let other friendships suffer, just to feel like you need to prove your worth. Be comfortable with who you are because confidence is something people notice subconsciously and I think the fact that my confidence was so shattered, I became an easy target before I built it back up. Hopefully that helps a bit!
 

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I've always enjoyed fitting in with a smaller group.
 

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I had the opposite experience. I stayed friends with edgy weirdos during my teens and I regret it. I wish I stretched myself further, as you did, and got to know different people.

The grass is always greener I guess.

I believe that cliques form from a place of weakness. The need to be a part of a subculture that constantly reflects back to what you want to believe about yourself is weakness.

College is very different from high school. From what I've seen, there isn't really cliques. It's a time to start practicing adulthood which involves seeking self-sufficiency and getting along with others. Spending a lot of time gaining skills in your vocation and avocations. And, for a lot people, experimenting with romantic relationships. I mostly just focused on that (romance) and now I'm making up for lost time. I don't regret it though as it seemed to just be something I really needed to experience. I wanted to see what it was about.

I think that the late teens/early twenties are a really scary time for people in modern society. You have to come to terms with the fact that you are basically alone. Doing things that will increase your quality of life are solely up to you and friendships and lovers will come and go.

Parties are overrated. I haven't been to many that are actually "fun". None of my drinking in college ever came to any good. There are such better ways to have fun. To me walking in nature with a special person or baking is fun.
 
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Memories time...

I went through quite a few friendship groups in my life. Primary school I found it a bit hard to make friends because I felt like the odd one out, I only had one best friend who is still my bestie now (except we are at different highschool's now) and I hung out with many people throughout primary school, I didn't see many of them as friends honestly. There was one girl who thought I was her best friend a few days after I hung out with her (she was a new girl) and she was nice at first but then became mean in grade 6 and started to exclude me and hang out with my real best friend and other friends more than me. I noticed that around her and other friends was when I started to feel feelings of loneliness. Just because you are hanging around multiple people or "friends" that doesn't mean you will feel satisfied with them or feel included. I was wondering why I was feeling this way for a while. I decided to tell this "best friend" that I didn't like how she treated me around the end of the year and that I don't want to stay friends with her and she cried her eyes out, making me look like the bad person and some people kept coming up to me telling me how mean I was just because I didn't feel she was a good friend, not many people liked her for how she acted towards others but this made me sad that nobody understood what I went through.

In highschool It was a lot harder for me to make friends because the only girls that went to the same high school as me from my old school were ones that use to be mean to me in primary school. (two of them have left, one of them is a friend now) I went through a stage where I thought people weren't interested in talking to me and I felt very lonely because of family problems along with no good friends. (I guess that was my emotional 12/13 year old time) I hung out with a few groups before I found the one group of people who I cherish as amazing friends and people, all because the school councilor (hopefully spelt right) was away on a holiday and I couldn't hide in her office and read and talk about my problems. I finally went up to them, being the awkward one I was, asked to sit with them and since that day haven't left them. (some of the girls in the group have left while others joined) These girls weren't in my class and I didn't like the girls in my class because they would think i'm a weirdo and use to be rude to me and not let me join them. There was one girl in that class who I kind of admired and wanted to be friends with because she seemed different than all the others in my class and now we are really good friends, almost best friend level. :D

I now have a good group of friends where I can be silly and they don't really care if I don't say much. When I joined them at first they didn't mind me not saying much but would ask me questions at times and tell me to be more myself. It was hard at a young age but we have all been great friends since around the start of highschool (some of them have known each other longer) and some of them are quite different from each other. Some of them are doing amazing musical things while others are working out and living their life with friends and boyfriend.

I say its good to get along with everyone but only keep a few close to you because there may only be a few with which you get along with well and you can be your amazing self in a smaller group more comfortably than in a larger group.

I'm still young (in highschool, year 11) so I may not be able to do much help for college but it's just my opinion.
 

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The main things I'm getting out of this thread are that 1. cliques are bad and 2. don't waste time with individuals who don't respect your values and boundaries.

I have to agree.

I stayed friends with the only people in high school who were (mostly) nice to me. I wanted to break away at university, but felt guilty and didn't.

I wanted to break away when I moved to a different town and started working. I felt guilty and didn't.

I came really close to breaking away for a third time when I went overseas. I was alone for the first time in my life - no friends or family trying to mess me up with their own ideas of who I was - and I realised again that I wasn't satisfied with those friendships. But then the time came to move back to my home country, I realised I'd have to find somewhere to live, I panicked, and I got back with those friends.

I regretted it horribly for 2 years.

Sure, they were mostly pretty nice to me. They meant well. We had a lot of memories together, spanning 10 - 20 years. But it was clear that they didn't see me for who I was. They didn't respect my boundaries. I'd tell them I didn't enjoy something that they wanted me to do, and they'd tell me I was just trying to be different, and that deep down I knew I loved it. They were mentally stuck in teenagerhood, and feared becoming adults, while I was thriving in my newfound independence and exploring all the different possibilities adulthood brought me.

Eventually I had the opportunity to get out and I took it. To be honest I'm kind of using the distance as a bit of an excuse to not keep in contact... I'm pretty awful at keeping in contact anyway, but if I really wanted to I'd make a bit more effort. I don't want to make a big scene and "break up" with them because I know they wouldn't understand, and it would just hurt them and make me look like the bad guy. But I sorely regret not doing it the first time, when I went away to university and could have made friends with other very different people.

The main reason I didn't was social anxiety and depression. It was very hard to approach people when I barely left my room and thought people would hate me anyway. Unfortunately I wasn't ready to admit I had problems and seek help (that came in my early-to-mid 20's) but ultimately the lesson I want you, OP, to take from that is that you know what you want and it's okay for you to go ahead and do that. Don't let fear of rejection stop you. If you're an INFP, not following your own star is going to make you incredibly unhappy.

As for parties, I'll tell you the same thing I told my younger siblings. Go, check it out, and see what you think. Be smart about it - don't wipe yourself out with alcohol or drugs, watch your drink, don't accept anything from strangers, etc - but let yourself experience it. It's the only way you're going to know whether you like it or not. The important thing is that once you do know that, don't let others pressure you to go against that. If you don't like it, don't do what I did and let your friends guilt you into going - it's just a waste of time and money that you could be spending on things that are actually fun. If you do like it, go and have fun (as long as you don't let it take over your life and let being drunk become an excuse for totally abandoning all of your morals, like my old friends do)! Personally I prefer house parties, where you can sit around and eat and drink and actually hear the conversation you're having with other people. But I know INFP's who like to go out and dance in clubs too. It's just an individual thing.
 

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It's best to have a large group of a bunch of small groups consisting only of you and someone else.

It's easy to be loved and cherished if you make every single person who matters to you feel like you personally love and cherish them.

Don't make anyone you care about feel like they're grouped together with other people in your head.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Based on these replies, I'm considering that I might be an ENFP after all. Maybe I'm an awkward shy ENFP. That's a thing, right? Because I'd rather hang out with 10 people than 1, as long as they all accept me.
 

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I basically fit in with nobody, most of the time I don't mind.
I would say just be yourself and see what happens, but I don't think that will go very successfully, it's best to find a small tight-knit group. It's bound to provide more loyalty and room for you to remain yourself.
 

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Based on these replies, I'm considering that I might be an ENFP after all. Maybe I'm an awkward shy ENFP. That's a thing, right? Because I'd rather hang out with 10 people than 1, as long as they all accept me.
It's possible. I've always wondered if I'm an ENFP because that's what I test as, but I would almost always rather hang out with one close friend than a group. I do like parties sometimes though, because there's a sort of freedom around strangers. But even at parties I tend to mingle one-on-one.

It could just be one aspect of introversion and extroversion, but that is one of the MBTI questions (if I remember correctly) that is used to decide E vs. I. I imagine it might also indicate Fe since Fe is better at picking up on group vibes and dynamics. But I don't know enough about Fe types to suggest that with any confidence...but you could also consider the XXFJ types, if you're unsure about your type.
 

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@pureheart9,

My experience was that socializing in college was very different from socializing in high school. In high school, it seemed like everyone had one main group, and maybe a few groups they were "fringe" in. In college, especially in junior/senior year, it seemed like most people were "free agents", typically having bonded with few close friends in their dorm/fraternity/honor society/orientation group/activist group but also easily able to be friends with many people. There was less cliquey-ness and less either-this-or-that. You could just be both.

Me personally, in college, I joined a number of student organizations and I liked how that gave me a reliable group of people to engage positively with but I wasn't super beholden to them in a typical-friendship sort of way, so I didn't feel overwhelmed. (Old person reflection: part of me wishes I'd had more medium-close friendships, so that I would have more old friends now, but it seems like for many people, life after college tends to separate everyone anyway. And it seems like people regroup after their late 20s, as everyone starts settling into their adult lives.)

My suggestion, considering all this, would simply be to take a middle path. Get engaged in groups and activities you are genuinely interested in and enjoy, and see how friendships develop. Things change over time and the group of friends you have in freshman year may shift by senior year.
 
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