I got an interesting confrontation to my own perspective this evening.
I was driving a friend home from a party and we were discussing this phenomenon at my old university about people feeling like they were “ghosts” in the community. Individuals who would commute to campus and spend time in lecture halls of hundreds of people, leading to a feeling of isolation and disconnect. This was contrasted with those who were in residences, able to socialize and form new bonds.
I was intrigued by the perspective, but wondered out loud why those people couldn’t just walk up to new people in their class and introduce themselves. My friend commented about how outgoing I was and how I “command a room”, and I was sort of shocked at my own ignorance.
By the nature of some peoples’ personalities and preferences, suggesting something as socially bold as walking up to complete strangers and making small talk would be tortuous. To place myself in the perspective of someone who dreads social interaction is still a struggle for me.