The frustrations of trying to socialise!


Hi everyone! Following on from my other thread, I wanted to start another one to find out if any of you are having difficulty trying to get people together? I have tried on numerous occassions to organise meetings with other PhD students, all to no avail. It's so frustrating. It seems that everyone just wants to suffer on their own. Wouldn't it be great though if you had a group that you met with every week to talk through things, to get things off your chest?


It'd be such a great opportunity to just let some steam off, and know that you're not alone. I had visions of creating a little support group, but after many botched attempts, I've given up. Loneliness is such a burning issue for PhD students, and it seems ridiculous that we should suffer on our own knowing that there are people around us going through the same thing. Why do you think I'm having such a difficult time getting people together? Is it just that people don't want to talk about their concerns? Any feedback welcome


Do any of you have such a group? If so, I'm very jealous indeed!


Where I am studying we have recently set up such a group. What I will say though it that it is as successfull as people want it to be. Trying to persuade everyone that it is a good idea is difficult as people only seem to want it when things are bad for them. Some aren't interested at all and see get togethers as 'wasting time'.

As I said earlier we have only just set it up so it still has'nt really got any momentum at the moment but hopefully this will change as the benefits for everyone could be great.


i barely know all the people in my group/lab.. I work with a few of them closely, I think it is reasonable. I usually socialize with my own friends; it actually is more comfortable. Do you work on your own?


Have you ever just e-mailed the group to say let's go for drinks at such-and-such time, hope to see you there. I've done that a few times, and there has usually been a good turn out. It's normally the case that people want to socialize, but don't want to initiate incase nobody turns up and they look unpopular - but somebody has to take the initiative.


Yeah, I've emailed people on many occasions and they all agree that they'll be there, and never turn up! I was feeling pretty rubbish about it, as I'd convinced myself that no one liked me! Then I spoke to another PhDer who had the same outcome when he tried to get people together. We've since tried to start a group, but we both get fobbed off with 'I'm too busy. Sorry.' He emailed me yesterday and said that he was fed up and couldn't be bothered anymore. Oh well, it was a nice idea.


awww how frustrating for you.

i am lucky that i have two very good friends of mine from my lab who are phd students, and we always vent to each other about any problems, and we socialise too.. they are always telling me to meet up with them, because they know i am writing at home full time, and it can get lonely. but i havent met up with them for ages, because i feel guilty taking any time off. but when i go meet my supervisors for the dreading meeting, i will go out with them in the evening. we usually go for dinner and talk about numerous subjects, including phd stuff that is troubling us.

i suppose a weekly meet up may be too much for some phd students. i know i couldn't commit to something like that. maybe a monthly would be better? maybe people just don't like to commit to things.

maybe you can start a "virtual online" support group


i had two such support groups for my master's. (which took forever; two groups as the first one died when everyone apart from me had graduated; started a second one then, from which i was indeed the first to graduate) we used to meet about once/month at someone's home, would eat dinner, and then each one of us got a "slot" to talk about whatever was troubling her at the moment. sometimes it was hard, academic problems; sometimes issues with procrastination; sometimes personal stuff like sick relatives or relationship issues. it was up to you. that meant that it was a quite closed, intimate group, we trusted each other with really personal stuff; can't do that when it's just an open invitation to anyone who wants to come along.


now i have things that are nearly as good. in my research centre, we meet twice in three weeks for either "roundtables" or reading groups, and weekly for coffee, which is great for informal small-talk. some of us go out for coffee or lunch whenever we feel like it. outside of the centre, there are some PhD students who go out for drinks about once in two months - we always say we want to go more often but it just doesn't work out. i've also been involved with a topic-related project group of PhD students which has been just fantastic: as it's all self-organised, we tend to just hang around after the "work" and chat and moan and complain and celebrate. and as it is topic-related, people actually do always turn up. we meet once a month. best thing to have happened to me at this uni so far!