It’s hard to make friends in college. Everything you knew about being social in high school changed, and being a shy extrovert–meaning that I thrive on being social but have trouble actually approaching people and connecting with them–I had some trouble initially. Once I made friends though, it was relatively easy to be social.
But then I transferred. And once again, I faced the same struggle. In all honesty, I’m still facing it, more than a month into my fall semester. Last year, living in a dorm made it easier; to see my friends, all I had to do was open the door and walk ten steps to one of their rooms. This year, it takes more effort to meet people, and while I thrive on social interaction, approaching new people has always been hard for me. I’ve had to learn some lessons the hard way, and I thought I’d list a few for the shy extroverts out there who might be facing something similar.
- ALWAYS put yourself out there. Whatever you might think, the person next to you probably wants to make friends just as much as you do.
- You never look as silly as you think you do. Especially freshman year: you’re all in the same boat. And honestly? That goes for most of college. We’re all stressed, we’re all broke, and we’re all sleep deprived. Say hello.
- You don’t have to have everything–or anything really, in common. Liking different things is a conversation starter, especially if you enjoy being challenged like I do.
- A cute outfit is the perfect way to break the ice. Dress in whatever you like the way you look in; it says something about who you are and will boost your confidence at the same time.
- Conversely, compliment people! If you like something about them (i.g. their smile, their sweater, their thoughts on neoliberalism, etc.) tell them! And I don’t mean yell at them like catcallers are inclined to do, this is more like if you’re in a similar situation, like standing in line together or something. Be genuine.
- Smile! When you’re having a conversation, provided it’s a light and non-serious conversation, a smile can go a long way.
Of course this is all just my advice. No one has to take it, and some might think it’s bad advice. But we’re all human, and we’re all worthy of the pursuit of happiness.