I’m a naturally shy person. I prefer sitting home on Friday nights with a book or a movie rather than going out partying or drinking. I don’t like large social groups, and frankly, they make me uncomfortable and anxious. I’m very close with only a few people. This is my final year of high school, and I’m going to college five hours away from my hometown in the fall. I’m not great at making new friends, but I don’t want to be completely alone during my college experience. How can I get over my social anxiety and become more people friendly?
I completely understand where you’re coming from. I’ve always been a shy person who usually prefers hanging out and relaxing over going to a loud party. I’m happy with who I am, but I know how difficult it can be to make new friends when you’re an introvert or you deal with social anxiety. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible!
First of all, you shouldn’t try to change who you are in order to make friends. Accept yourself for who you are. Don’t try making friends by putting yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable – that will only make you feel more awkward and anxious, which isn’t the greatest when you’re trying to be friendly and open. In your case, you don’t like parties. So, don’t assume that just because you’re going to college you can only meet friends at parties.
Instead, try making friends by meeting people who are more similar to you. Look up the different clubs and activities on campus. Despite the stereotypes, college is about way more than just frat parties and drinking. Find clubs or organizations that interest you, and plan to go to those. Once you’re there, strike up conversations with people you feel comfortable around. You’re more likely to feel more friendly and comfortable when you’re doing something you enjoy.
You can also make friends in your classes. As a shy person, I found that the easiest way to do that was to talk to people I had to work with on group projects. We were already forced together, so it was way easier to become friends than to do so out of nowhere.
Since you’re living at school, you’ll hopefully get along with your roommate. But not everyone does, and that’s okay. Either way, get to know the other girls on your floor. You’ll be around them a lot. If you’re comfortable with it, keep your dorm room door open. That’s an invitation for people walking by to start a conversation with you.
Remember: almost everyone in college is looking to make friends, especially incoming freshman. You’re not alone here. So, no one is going to treat you like a weirdo for approaching them. They’ll probably be happy about it! Just talk to people who make you feel comfortable. Don’t be afraid to branch out, but don’t force yourself into situations you don’t like. And remember: it’s okay to still have nights where you just hang out in your room and read on your own. Not everyone is outgoing and social – and that’s perfectly fine.
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