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megalowho
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:33 am
Posts: 479
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 5:21 pm 
 

I feel like I should make some additional notes and serious modifications to my post on the previous page [edit: on Page 1], where I agreed with a couple posters who said that everyday conversation tends to be boring, and most people seem either (both) uninterested in or (and) incapable of much more than everyday conversation. I'm afraid that in agreeing with those statements, I've inadvertently portrayed myself as a snobbish type who refuses to discuss anything other than "deep" and "weighty" topics; and that in identifying as an introvert, I've inadvertently suggested that I'm introverted because most people aren't into "lofty" discussion.

In reality, as an introvert, I have about as much stamina (i.e. quite little) for both "low-brow" and "high-brow" conversation. (Also, I would find it downright exhausting and probably intolerable to converse with a person who insisted more-or-less exclusively on the "high-brow".)

I think I should also say that the term "boring", in "Conversation with most people tends to be boring", would be better replaced with "unsatisfying to me" - the latter has to do with my own idiosyncratic preferences and experiences (which I'll describe in a moment), and seems (I hope) like a lot less of a scoff. If most people's interactions with one another were objectively boring (whatever that means), it seems unlikely that most people would make a habit of them. Similarly, it seems quite unfair of me to have implied that most people generally aren't into meaningful discussions (unless "meaningful" is taken, rather senselessly, to describe only the textbook problems of science, philosophy, cultural criticism, etc.); it seems, rather, that more-or-less everyone distinguishes between meaningless conversation, which has the feel of taking place with interchangeable strangers, and meaningful conversation, which reveals more and can create and strengthen bonds with select individuals.

Still, the friendships I happen to value most are with people who, first and foremost, have a similar philosophical orientation to mine - by which I mean not only similar opinions and habits of mind, but also (what seem to inform these in the first place) a similar general attitude and approach to life, with similar basic aspirations and aversions, recurring struggles and frustrations - but who can also enjoy toilet humor, low-pressure chit-chat, etc. (It's also quite important that they complement my introversion by being eager conversationalists. I don't believe I'm friends with anyone as introverted as myself.) Now in regard to philosophical orientation, I don't think it makes me deluded or an elitist to believe that mine's different from most; but I would of course be those things if I believed that mine's better than most. I am guilty of this in rare moments (although I'm not quite sure what "better" literally means here), but a long time has passed since the unfortunate phase of my life in which I would (privately) sneer at the "vulgar masses". Today I have more of a sense of (quiet, unexpressed) goodwill toward most people I encounter in person; I even feel my mood improve slightly as we exchange trivial pleasantries. (But I constantly regret how difficult it would be to sense - and especially to explore and express - some identity at a deeper level. So there's usually a slight aftereffect of loneliness and futility, as if I'm an alien masquerading in human skin.)

I dunno. This stuff's complicated, and for my situation I usually don't feel inclined to blame anyone (including myself), but hopefully my opinions become more reasonable as I continue to reflect.

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the_raytownian
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 1:09 am
Posts: 2192
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 5:35 pm 
 

i'm kind of hungover (not painfully so--just kind of in a confused fog today)
and I was still a little tipsy around the last time I posted. so I don't wanna come off like a jerk or something if I seemed overly blunt about anything.

I will say, despite how I think it is wrong for people with anxiety problems and such to basically "blame society", I think it is only normal for introverted people to develop deeper or "less mainstream" interests and think about "deep shit" more frequently than well-adjusted people do.

It is a necessity, really, but "being into different things and ideas" is basically a side-effect of being introverted and incapable of socializing, not an inherent trait of it.

Most people who can comfortably go outside and be social and active without feeling anxious and insecure have a lot less reason to seek out entertainment in books or music or internet.

I wouldn't know a lot of the music I like if I didn't spend all my time looking into it because i was too busy having a healthy sex life. :)

PS: This is really poorly worded. I might actually still be a little bit drunk.

Anyway, I work with mostly a bunch of old 50-60-something black dudes. You can bet there's not much for us to discuss, so most of what we do talk about is just "small talk". I sure wish I were better at that. I'm really bad at small talk, but not because I find it dumb or anything, I'm just no good at concisely wording "small talk" conversation on the spot like most people can. If I get started on something, I rarely say much because I'm trying to keep everything concise, otherwise I'd end up rambling... like I'm doing in this very post.

It's a bit awkward with my co-workers, because I often worry that they think I'm "aloof", so I try really hard to look "relaxed, but not bored" all the time... Because if I am bored, it's not because of them, but because I have nothing to do but sit quietly and keep my mouth shut all day when we're on breaks or whaetever.
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rbrnflms
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:55 am
Posts: 41
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 9:39 pm 
 

Desperta_Ferro wrote:
I was thinking... I can talk with anyone, hell, I can stand up and talk in front of my whole class, discuss with professors, I don't give a fuck.

But I hate social gatherings. I hate socializing. I don't talk with anyone in my class, when it's over, I just put on my earphones, people are boring.
I like to be alone, going out is a chore for me, I don't enjoy it at all.
I rather be alone listening to metal or reading or playing video-games or whatever. I never felt depressed or anything like that, I just don't care.
If I am in a situation where I HAVE TO talk, I do it whitout feeling awkward, but talking with other people is like my last resource, if I can go whitout interacting with anyone, that's what I do.


***


Last edited by rbrnflms on Mon May 27, 2013 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Meconium
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 1:09 pm
Posts: 38
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 11:30 pm 
 

megalowho wrote:
In reality, as an introvert, I have about as much stamina (i.e. quite little) for both "low-brow" and "high-brow" conversation. (Also, I would find it downright exhausting and probably intolerable to converse with a person who insisted more-or-less exclusively on the "high-brow".)


This is less a feature of being an introvert and more a feature of...you. Also possibly underdeveloped communication skills. I mean, I'm an introvert and I have a lot of interest in both high-brow and low-brow conversations, and I'm interested in talking to a lot of people. What a lot of people misunderstand about the introvert/extravert difference is that the only real difference is that introverts draw and replenish their energy from being alone, while extraverts draw and replenish energy from being around others. Also important to note is that most psychologists would agree that people can express traits of both introversion and extraversion.

megalowho wrote:
Similarly, it seems quite unfair of me to have implied that most people generally aren't into meaningful discussions (unless "meaningful" is taken, rather senselessly, to describe only the textbook problems of science, philosophy, cultural criticism, etc.); it seems, rather, that more-or-less everyone distinguishes between meaningless conversation, which has the feel of taking place with interchangeable strangers, and meaningful conversation, which reveals more and can create and strengthen bonds with select individuals.

Still, the friendships I happen to value most are with people who, first and foremost, have a similar philosophical orientation to mine - by which I mean not only similar opinions and habits of mind, but also (what seem to inform these in the first place) a similar general attitude and approach to life, with similar basic aspirations and aversions, recurring struggles and frustrations - but who can also enjoy toilet humor, low-pressure chit-chat, etc. (It's also quite important that they complement my introversion by being eager conversationalists. I don't believe I'm friends with anyone as introverted as myself.)

I guess what I'm wondering here (and not just toward you, but toward everyone who's posted here saying they don't really like engaging in superficial/meaningless conversation with others): How do you expect to get to know people who are like you or who you find interesting in order to develop meaningful friendships? What are you doing now to do that? I hope that my questions don't read as having a negative tone; I'm genuinely curious.

megalowho wrote:
(But I constantly regret how difficult it would be to sense - and especially to explore and express - some identity at a deeper level. So there's usually a slight aftereffect of loneliness and futility, as if I'm an alien masquerading in human skin.)

This is pretty normal. Everybody goes around not usually expressing their deeper identity until they've developed a deeper level of intimacy with others. Social Penetration Theory explains this pretty well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_penetration_theory

I can empathize with the experience you describe because it's the experience I had through most of high school and some of college. You sound pretty smart and self-aware. My social development was relatively slow compared to my intellectual and emotional development, and it actually took, in part, studying human communication and social psychology in an academic context to begin to understand why my interactions with others were unsatisfying.

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Meconium
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 1:09 pm
Posts: 38
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 11:57 pm 
 

To the OP: megalowho posted a link to a Psychology Today blog that discussed studies showing correlations between listening to metal and troublesome behaviors. Hopefully by now you've learned in your psychology class that correlation does not equal causation, and will keep that in mind as you further explore this topic.

I study interpersonal communication and social psychology as part of my research, and there's a lot of research that's been conducted on the connection between communication skill and social anxiety. People who are anxious about interacting with others (due to low self-esteem or otherwise feeling incapable of doing so successfully) are more likely to avoid interaction. This can contribute to a reinforcing cycle where people who most need practice interacting with others are least likely to seek it out, because they are discouraged by the potential for performing unsatisfactorily and experiencing negative repercussions such as social rejection, shame/embarrassment, etc. If you're interested in this connection, do some research on communication competence--if you want specific references feel free to shoot me a PM.

I don't know of any studies on heavy metal specifically, but I think you may be on to something--it's probably just more complex than your original suggestion. I know a lot of people in countercultures like to think that violent/aggressive media doesn't have any effect on them, but it does. There are literally hundreds of studies demonstrating that violent video games, movies, and tv shows cause increases in aggression in research participants. Music is commonly used in social psychology experiments to manipulate mood because it creates predictable and significant changes (so, if I want to measure the effect of mood on decision-making, I can very easily create experimental groups of happy and sad participants just by making them listen to happy and sad songs in the first part of the experiment). When I first learned about this I was, frankly, really pissed off, because I don't want to think that I'm that susceptible to media influence, especially negative influence of a medium (music) that I love so much. But there ya go. :(

So I think it's possible that you could hypothesize that people who listen to heavy metal are maybe already displaying some at-risk tendencies, engaging in troubling/troublesome behavior for a variety of reasons. Then, through engaging with the genre, it reinforces isolationist and incompetent social outlooks and behaviors either by affecting mood or by validating and reinforcing existing moods/opinions. Obviously this isn't going to apply to every single person who listens to heavy metal, but a general trend might emerge that has some merit. It would, nonetheless, be an interesting study (or series of studies) to do.

All that being said, I think being aware that music can have a powerful impact is the first step to mitigating that impact on psychological health and social development. I know, for example, that it's very easy for me to hole up at home and not talk to other people and very quickly regress into social incompetence where I listen to dark, angry music, eat crap food, and don't bathe for days on end. :roll: I know that's a problem, so I've actively developed strategies for dealing with it.

I think it's easy to read through a lot of the responses on this thread and get frustrated but I think it's just indicative that this is a notable issue for many of metal fans. If you want to get into the specific social science theories and stuff, shoot me a PM. I think this is really interesting but I've probably rambled on for long enough now. :lol:

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Burnyoursins
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:59 am
Posts: 953
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 4:34 pm 
 

I do believe that music only creates a significant and measured change in mood for short periods of time. I feel relatively more aggressive when I'm listening to a metal album, but it doesn't last. And I don't feel aggressive in a, lets say, "I would really like to go out and attack someone" kind of way. That's just not how it is. Studies can be very useful, but I think a lot of time, the research findings can often be over-blown. I feel more energetic and full of life when I'm listening to metal. I feel more connected to my fellow listeners. I don't feel a need to fight them.
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Meconium
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 1:09 pm
Posts: 38
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 5:06 pm 
 

Burnyoursins wrote:
I do believe that music only creates a significant and measured change in mood for short periods of time. I feel relatively more aggressive when I'm listening to a metal album, but it doesn't last.

No, but the argument from Cultivation theory is that if we exist in a media environment where we're constantly exposed (or exposing ourselves) to violent/aggressive imagery and ideas, then it has a cumulative effect.

Burnyoursins wrote:
And I don't feel aggressive in a, lets say, "I would really like to go out and attack someone" kind of way. That's just not how it is. Studies can be very useful, but I think a lot of time, the research findings can often be over-blown. I feel more energetic and full of life when I'm listening to metal. I feel more connected to my fellow listeners. I don't feel a need to fight them.


Yeah, there hasn't been as much research (that I know of) that looks at the positive impact of aggressive media like bonding with others and catharsis. I think those are equally legitimate results of media that don't get discussed as much because they're more nuanced and kind of against the grain of what's popular in the research right now (and researchers are gonna do research on what's popular because the job market is so tenuous right now and we want security and tenure).

A friend of mine has actually started to do some research on the pro-social impact of aggressive video games. Basically, if subjects are playing cooperatively with other people, you don't see the increased aggression effect after play. I think this can probably be expanded into aggressive music, as well. So the moral of the story is that you should go to more shows and headbang with your friends. :lol:

And you're right that results absolutely can be overblown. Good experimental research demonstrates a more significant effect than you'd likely find in the real world because you're controlling all the other variables at play. But even then, a "strong" effect is when you can get violent media to account for, like, 30% of the variance in behavior. There's obviously a lot of other stuff that comes into play. (I apologize if what I say here sounds like I'm backtracking on the stuff I wrote earlier; it should mesh pretty well but I was up late and pretty tired when I wrote those other two posts.)

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megalowho
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:33 am
Posts: 479
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 6:22 pm 
 

Meconium wrote:
I guess what I'm wondering here (and not just toward you, but toward everyone who's posted here saying they don't really like engaging in superficial/meaningless conversation with others): How do you expect to get to know people who are like you or who you find interesting in order to develop meaningful friendships? What are you doing now to do that? I hope that my questions don't read as having a negative tone; I'm genuinely curious.


I don't take credit for having made any of the "first moves" in a single one of my friendships or relationships. Other people manage to break the ice somehow and take the risk of inviting me to social functions. This has worked out well enough for me as far as friendships are concerned; relationships, of course, are another story; I've had only two brief ones. If it were enough to be passably attractive and not an asshole, I think I'd be set, but unfortunately what I perceive as the traditional expectations for men - to initiate, to pursue, to "show her a good time", etc. - makes for an almost crippling disadvantage; those are just the things I feel least equipped to do.

So regarding relationships, my outlook tends to be that of the pessimist who realizes that life will only vindicate him or pleasantly surprise him. If the former, it's not necessarily a big loss; I think of all the stress, uncertainty, anxiety, etc. that can be avoided...sour grapes can go a long way. :)

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Meconium
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 1:09 pm
Posts: 38
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 1:01 am 
 

I know this thread is kind of dead at this point, but I saw this article and thought it might be interesting/relevant related to the topic at hand: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/ind ... ining.html

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Maulgraun
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:42 pm
Posts: 153
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 6:24 am 
 

I am pretty introverted and have social anxiety sometimes to the point where I start thinking I have agoraphobia. I am also very depressed.

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