A Shy Person’s Guide to Making Friends in College

Speaking as somebody who is admittedly shy, the idea of going to a school without knowing anybody can be intimidating. However, somehow, in the end it worked out, and it wasn’t even that hard! I actually found it to be much easier than I had growing up back home. Here are some of the things that I found most useful:

  1.  Stick to your interests – This may sound obvious, especially if you’re inclined to be unwilling to change, but  there isn’t much good in finding friends that have no similar interests that you do. Faking them will only, probably, lead you to lose friends shortly after you’ve met them.  You don’t have to go to clubs to find people with the same interest or hobbies as you, although that is probably your best resource. It could be as simple as seeing what somebody is reading or doing.
  2.   Keep your door open – This one didn’t appeal to me my freshman year (actually, ever), but it is heavily stressed that the easiest way to meet people was to leave your door open. People are always going to be walking by your room, and what better conversation starter than on your dorm room. It’s easy, and pretty much guaranteed to work, whether you like it or not. (My roommate did it, and it worked, when she wasn’t there I ardently kept it shut).
  3. Use your RA – Not to make friends, but use the events that they organize. RAs usually have a set number of events per semester that they have to do, and you’re not losing anything by going to them. They’re simple, but they can be fun too. Often, they’re not much more than movies and a snack, but it’s enough to get people together and interact, and if you’re not able to meet anybody there, you can at least enjoy the free movie and food.
  4.  In that same manner, go to orientation. Besides getting you familiar with the school, these are built for the purpose of getting you to meet people. Cheesy icebreakers they might be, but at least you’ll know somebody. What’s more, these friends could end up staying close to you your whole time at college, it doesn’t have to be  that the first people you meet only stay close to you your first semester.
  5.  Don’t get everything to go.  Remember, everybody is trying to meet new people when they first get to school, and  holing up in your dorm the whole time is not going to help the case any.  Making a friend can be as simple as sitting at lunch which somebody that you recognize from class.  The cafeteria can lead to a number of conversation topics, even if it is just the food or class assignments.

Just keep in mind; friendships don’t have to be complicated at college. Nobody is looking for a repeat of high-school-like drama and complications, so there’s no need to set yourself up for them.  Relax, take a deep breath, and take your first steps out there.

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Stefanie Hughes

Stefanie Hughes

Stefanie Hughes is a senior at Benedictine University, with a double major in Writing & Publishing and Theology. She spends her free time working on Benedictine’s newspaper, The Candor, as well as being a member of Daughters of Isabella, Students for Life, and helping around University Ministry. Any other extra time is filled with reading, writing, cooking, video editing, biking or walking around the lake.