Don’t Hide Behind the Mask

For many, college is the time you’re away from your family, childhood friends, and loving pets that are your personal cuddle babies. Everyone who moves away from college goes through similar feelings of nervousness, uneasiness, and frustration. It’s tough, especially when you’re an introvert; meeting new people might be a task far from making it onto your checklist. Wearing a mask that hides key facial expressions also hinders our confidence to socialize and understand how the other person reacts. Sometimes, one way to break the ice is by giving people a smile. Face masks inhibit our ability to recognize that important initial social que and seeing people becomes awkward because you cannot tell whether or not to approach them. However, getting out of your turtle shell isn’t a bad thing. Wanting to meet new people has many long-term benefits such as, expanding your social network, exploring new ideas, and growing your personality. 

    Let me reassure you: You Can Do It!

1. Fake it till you make it

Don’t fake your personality just to match others; pretending to be something you’re not won’t help you find friends you’ll have genuine relationships with. Something that helped me was motivating myself to pretend to be outgoing and after a long while I figured out what I felt comfortable with and what things I won’t do for the next time I meet people. For instance, I reached out and met this girl at my college. After hanging out with her often and getting to know her personality, I realized that I didn’t want to be around her because our personalities were total opposites. It was a match that wouldn’t grow us as people together. Instead, I met new friends living near me who motivated me to be a better person and influenced me in positive ways with my study habits and body positivity.

2. “Hello, my name is...”

...Is the simple first meet greeting of any acquaintance or friendship. Introducing yourself to people outside of class time may be a terrifying experience, but in college, students are willing to meet new people and expand their circle. If they do give you a cold shoulder, shake it off, and try again. Just because someone is not as friendly as you, doesn’t mean they hate you on the first impression. They are probably just as nervous and don’t know how to handle socializing as well. Saying the first hello and meeting kind people give such a warm, and happy feeling. Just by saying hi could begin the potential to a long-term friendship. The more you learn about other people, the more you can learn about yourself by reflecting on how you feel in the relationship.

3. Join clubs?

The cliche of any high school or college social tip is to join clubs. Joining clubs you are interested in can help you find friends with similar interests. Don’t overwhelm yourself by feeling you have to join every club on the market. Having one to three clubs to start with, won’t give you too much stress, and also ensures you are able to have time to build relationships outside of club meetings and activities. 

4. Social distancing is social media reinvented 

Try to snoop out your college’s Instagram page or class Instagram profile. Most likely you are going to find other students looking for friends. The great thing about social media is, it’s not face to face contact! Don’t be scared to follow them and message them a quick “hi.” You don’t know who you might share things in common with. Now with social distancing, you aren’t obligated to meet with them in person just yet but build a new virtual relationship.