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My research group has a new member who is more outgoing than anyone else and draws a lot of attention to himself. He likes socializing a lot more frequently than I prefer to and has a more-the-merrier approach that I find very impersonal.

Over the summer, he added me and a number of other people to a "group chat" where we could all stay in touch and let each other know who/when/where socializing would be taking place. (Heaven forbid FOMO should rear its ugly head.) This is a pet peeve of mine: I find it very impersonal being added to a group chat of people I don't know well, where I end up being "implicitly invited" to lots of social events I won't have the energy for. I would feel much more appreciated (not to mention more likely to go) if people hosting events who actually wanted me specifically to be there to send me a text message privately.

I left the group chat because most of the messages were not relevant to me and I found the messages distracting. Recently I met up with a friend of mine who's also part of this and we had a few beers in his backyard. A few yards away this clique was playing board games in a nearby apartment. Since I did not have the energy or desire to socialize with this group that night, I left my friend's backyard without spending much time at the other apartment. My friend suggested that, "They would think I hate them" if I didn't go over there to say hi.

How can I deal with this cliquish behavior? I find it very impersonal and don't feel appreciated. Worse, because I don't turn up to socialize as often as others, I feel like the odd man out. The idea that I can't not show up or they will "think I hate them" reminds me of college (I'm in my late twenties).

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Even though the details are different, I am sort-of in a similar situation. Some colleagues have a higher need to chat, and they included me in their chat groups in social network(s).

Exactly as you explain there is a conflict between their needs and my needs.

However, I clearly understand that they did not add me because they hate me or because they expect some advantage from me. They did it to be team players and keep me close.


My solution: after I was annoyed for several days (weeks?) by all the notifications, I just muted the notifications. I visit those chats when I find it comfortable - most of the times I understand that I lost nothing by not getting actively involved.

Occasionally, I find some interesting information, or some joke. Even more rarely, I decide to throw in some cents, making some comment.

As far as I can tell, it is a win-win situation for everyone. Whoever needs to chat more chats more, who needs silence can have silence.


How can I deal with this cliquish behavior?

What is clique to you, is team to them. If you succeed to make a slight shift in your way of seeing things, you might become the part of the team / clique. You might be the loner / rebel guy. Or anything that works for you.

This is especially attainable, sine I cannot understand from your post that they have any negative feelings / behavior towards you. You have some "negative feelings" towards them. Try to get rid of them (the "negative feelings", of course).


What you experience (and I experience myself) is the conflict between introverts and extroverts. And introverts (like me) occasionally tent to "hate" extroverts, simply because extroverts succeed to actually have the lives which we only can dream about (and are afraid to have, or do not have the energy to have).

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Two things stand out to me:

  1. You did not ask to be part of this group.
  2. What others think is none of your concern.

Those two things being the case, you have no obligation to participate in the group. However, I understand you work with key individuals of this group, i.e. the new member of your research group. You don't want to alienate that person.

I suggest to meet privately with that person and explain that you are too busy for this chat group and will not be participating in events most of the time, though you would enjoy the occasional party if hosts invite you by text message. Or whatever it is you would be comfortable contributing to the group, if anything.

I find that this kind of conversation often clears the air and allows for more relaxed relationships, providing all participants are well-meaning. You don't indicate otherwise.

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