7 Socializing Tips for the Introverted Freshman

Posted September 4, 2012

Making friends in college seems to come so easily for some people. They show up to school and almost immediately have a group of friends. For many people, though, being outgoing and trying to meet new people can be overwhelming. If social situations sometimes make you uncomfortable and you’d rather stay in by yourself on a Saturday night than go out, don’t despair! With some smart planning and by taking time to get out of your comfort zone, you can expand your circle of friends and make the most out of the college experience.

  1. Accept invitations

    The desire to stay home in order to avoid large groups of people or unfamiliar situations is a common trait among introverts and not something to be ashamed of. But if there was ever a time to push yourself a little bit and get out of your dorm room, it’s the first few weeks of college. This is the time when people are incredibly open to new people, lots of back-to-school events are going on, and you will likely be invited to several outings. While you don’t have to go to everything you’re invited to, it’s a good idea to accept a few invitations that you normally wouldn’t, especially if it’s with a smaller group or your roommate. You might find some people you like and can develop deeper friendships with.

  2. Join a club

    Many students, including extroverts, go through their whole college experience feeling like they never found their place at the school. One of the best ways to avoid this problem is to find a club to join early in your college career. Most schools have dozens upon dozens of clubs of all sizes and for all interests. Check out a few that involve something you’re really interested in so you’ll have something to talk about immediately, and stick with one that makes you feel the most comfortable after a few meetings.

  3. Schedule downtime into your routine

    Introverts, even those who aren’t worried about social awkwardness, often need a break from being around large groups of people or they burn out and shut down. To make the social parts of your schedule more fulfilling and productive, make sure to schedule time into your day to relax and recharge with some alone time. It’ll help you enjoy your time with friends more and maybe get you ready to do something new.

  4. Make small talk

    Small talk is a notoriously hated activity among introverts. Many introverts much prefer having deep, meaningful conversations than chit-chatting about the weather or sports with a stranger. But in many social settings, small talk is the norm and you will feel more uncomfortable if you don’t engage in it. It may make you feel anxious at first, but if you prepare several topics to discuss ahead of time and keep trying it, you’ll start to feel more comfortable and will make more connections.

  1. Keep in touch with old friends

    Even though you’ve moved on to college and don’t see your old friends as much as you used to, there’s no reason you should lose contact. These are the people who understand you, already know how to make you comfortable, and want to know what’s going on in your life. They’re worth the effort of keeping in touch. With social networking, instant messaging, Skype, and texting, even those who hate talking on the phone can stay connected to friends and family back home or around the country. Remember that these people can be a huge support system when you’re feeling lonely and need some encouragement!

  2. Don’t compare yourself to others

    If you keep yourself from enjoying social events or parties because you’ll never be as outgoing or as well-liked as someone else, you’re sabotaging yourself. Those extroverts may have values that people are drawn to, but you have some great qualities that they don’t have, too. In fact, if you enjoy yourself in your own way, you might find other introverts enjoy your company even more than they enjoy the guy who’s the life of the party. This tip goes double for Facebook and any other social media. People are only putting their good times on social media sites, so it looks like no one else is lonely or having trouble making friends. Just remember that those good times are mixed with problems that you’re not seeing.

  3. Wait it out

    If using these tips in your brand new college surroundings makes your stomach turn, there’s nothing wrong with waiting to be more social until you feel more at home where you are. Introverts often become more comfortable with people and activities once they’ve gotten familiar with the situation, so if it takes you a few weeks of class before speaking up or several weekends at home before venturing out to a party, that’s OK. As long as you don’t let all of your college years pass you by without pushing yourself to socialize or continue to use your anxiety as an excuse to avoid meeting new people, you won’t lose too many opportunities by waiting until you’ve got a familiar home base to go back to. With a little luck and a little bravery, you’ll make some lifelong friends.

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