An Introvert's Guide to Making Friends in College

Congratulations, you’ve made it to college! You’re going to get a great education, but you have no friends at this new place you now call home. If you’re anything like me, a shy introvert, you've probably been stressed out even before orientation, wondering about how you were going to connect with other people. If only it came as easily to us as it does for other people. But don't worry too much, I am here to help with some tips to help make socializing a little bit easier!

1. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

Being socially awkward, anxious, or just shy can be rough enough as it is. Don’t let all of the extroverts around you make you feel bad about taking your time to meet new people. Everybody’s different and should take as much time as they need to feel comfortable around others. If you're too stressed with trying to change yourself to be someone "better" than who you really are, you won't find any long-lasting, true friends, and it'll be exhausting trying to keep up that facade 24/7. While self-reflection and character development is important, remember that you're good enough already; just be your most authentic and kind self, and people who see that will surely follow.

2. Try to pick a moment each day where you might be brave and approach someone.

I know this sounds terrifying. The entire time you’re trying to muster up the courage to make conversation with someone new, the little voice in the back of your mind is convincing you to just sit there by yourself. After all, you may enjoy your own company the most, but we still get lonely. So make the effort for your own well being, as you won't make friends if you don't branch out. Especially if you're talking to a freshman or a new transfer, the person that you're talking to might be just as scared to open up as you are!

3. Find people with common interests by joining clubs.

This is probably one of your safest bets because you’ve already put yourself in a position where people will want to talk to you because you’re new. You will most likely find like-minded people there, thus giving you immediate conversation starters relating to the topic of your chosen club, and therefore making it easier to strike up a conversation with them. If you've chosen your major already, you might consider joining the honors society for that major. Even if you don't have specific interests that might lead into joining a specific club on campus, you can try something that you might not have had the opportunity to try before, or maybe even something that you don't know a single thing about! Beekeeping Club, anyone?

4. Talk to the people around you in class.

Having at least one friend in every class is a must. If you ever miss class, this person will be your life-saver. They can help you with assignments and provide you with notes if you're feeling lost. Even if you just sit next to each other and talk about assignments or what’s going on in class, that can easily lead to other conversations about other things you have in common. Don’t forget to ask for their number though; you never know when it’ll come in handy.

                                                                         Photo courtesy of Pexels

5. If you meet people you like and they want to hang out, do it.

Trust me, as a fellow introvert, I know the struggle of deciding whether to go out with others or stay in. It's true that we recharge by being alone, but sometimes you just need to put yourself out there and actually experience things and make memories with other people. Who knows which of them could end up being your closest friends for the next four years? These are the times when you can bond with them as long as you don’t over-exert yourself.

6. Go to any and all events.

Whether it’s a campus party, a sports game, or a res' hall get-together, you should always try to give it a shot whenever you can. Even if it seems uncomfortable or out of your league at first, you never know who you’ll meet once you're there. You could even connect with another person also awkwardly standing by themselves in the corner. All I ask is that you go, because then you can say that you tried and you won't regret your lack of effort. If you hate it, just remember that you're still in control and can always leave if need be.

7. Finally, don't give up!

I know making friends is hard when it’s not really your forte. But trust me, it will all work out in the end; all it takes is time, patience, and effort. Good friends don’t come easily, so don’t be frustrated when they don’t just magically appear. Even if you feel lost and lonely now, and you can't see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, remember that there’s always someone out there rooting for you and that you are never truly alone. Good luck out there!