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ACADEMICS: How to Make Friends When You’re Shy

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SDSU chapter.

Making friends in college can be hard, especially for introverts. It can feel intimidating when everyone around you seems to have already found their “place” on campus. Transitioning back to mostly in-person classes adds a lot more pressure after spending so much time on Zoom. Whether you’re shy or just need time alone to recharge, here are some tips to help introverts make new friends this year:

join clubs & student organizations

Getting involved in school organizations is a great way to help you meet new people with similar interests! Research student organizations that interest you. SDSU’s website lists every currently recognized student organization categorized by major, recreation, religion, culture, politics, and many more. If you want to find more information, many have active social media pages with useful information about joining. Research the ones that interest you and make the effort at the beginning of the year to join. During the first few weeks of the fall semester, most student organizations are looking for new members.

take advantage of group projects

Group projects are a great way to get to know new people. It’s the perfect low-stress way for you to get your classmates’ contact information and get to know each other, especially when you will need to meet up outside of class. You will be able to be productive while making small talk with your partners. It’s also helpful for shy people because there’s already a topic of conversation set in place for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your group to ask questions, talk about meeting up, or expand the conversation once the work is done.

be active in class groupchats

Most classes have a group chat where people ask questions or discuss the material. Try to respond anywhere you can! It’s a good way to communicate with others without putting too much pressure on yourself. It’ll also be beneficial to the other students and help you put yourself out there slowly. If your class doesn’t have a group chat, you can make one yourself to get the ball rolling! 

sit in the same seat everyday

This can vary depending on the nature of your classes. In some large lectures, some people sit in different seats every day. However, if you’re in any classes where most of the students sit in the same spot every day, pick a seat and stick to it! This opens the door for casual conversation with the same people you’re sitting next to. You can ask questions about the class or simply say “hi” when you sit down. It’s consistent and a small step towards having a conversation later. 

spend time on campus

If you’re able to, spend some time on campus. Even if you’re just studying by yourself in the library, this is a good way to get yourself out of your comfort zone. Introverts often recharge their social batteries by taking time to themselves – which is perfectly normal! However, if you’re particularly shy or anxious when you’re in social settings, this can help you feel more comfortable around others. You’re going to be studying or working on assignments anyway, so find a nice spot on campus whenever you can.

set boundaries

Don’t forget to take time for yourself and set boundaries. These can be emotional, physical, or social limits that are acceptable and comfortable for you. There can be a lot of pressure when it comes to socializing, so make sure to do what’s best for you. While there are a lot of tips and tricks to help you get out of your comfort zone a little bit, don’t neglect your own feelings. Putting too much pressure on yourself is anxiety-inducing and unnecessary! Do what works for you and take small steps towards meeting people if it feels right. 

Remember, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert. It’s important for everyone to learn how to take care of themselves, and spending time with yourself is part of that. College is already hard enough, but social anxiety adds even more pressure to your already complicated, busy life. These are just some tips that might help you navigate social interactions and make new friends. You know what works for you. Trust yourself!

Lynn is from Encinitas, CA. She is a junior majoring in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations. She is interested in online and social media communications, media relations, and entertainment journalism. Currently, she is the Director of Internal Affairs of SDSU’s PRSSA chapter and a staff writer for The Daily Aztec. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach, bingewatching bad reality TV, creative writing, and reading.