Are you a wallflower? Would you rather stay in and play videogames on Friday night? Do you know more about dead historians than your roommate? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you are not making the most of your college social life. One of the best things about college is the ability to meet new, diverse individuals. So get your nose out of that book and take your friend up on the offer to go out for the night. And don’t worry about acting like a fool. Just follow these tips on how to be more social, brush up on a few social skills and you will soon realize that the college social scene is pretty awesome!
It’s all in what you do
Face it; if you don’t do anything in college, you won’t meet anyone in college (no, online gaming with someone in China doesn’t count). So find something that you love and share it with those around you. A CollegeView article, “The Top 8 Ways to Build a Social Life in College,” by Hannah Purnell offers some great advice.”Organize a weekly poker game, or a night of pick-up basketball in the rec center. You can also get people together once a week to watch a favorite television show.” (Revenge, anyone?)
Purnell also encourages college students to leave dorm room doors open, coordinate study groups and get involved. From intramural sports to Greek organizations, university life has numerous social opportunities for a variety of different interests. The best part is that you will already have something in common with the other individuals attending the events.
What are you afraid of?
Do you think you will say something foolish? Scared half of your lunch is stuck in your front teeth? Worried that you will trip and fall over nothing mid-sentence? These types of irrational fears can work wonders on the human psyche, but don’t let these nagging worries keep you from meeting new people. The most important thing to remember is to just be yourself (and don’t let yourself talk you out of saying “hi” to the new girl across the hall).
According to “How to Be More Outgoing,” an article on People Skills Decoded, you must learn to “Lower The Bar.” The article explains, “one of the best things you can do to become more outgoing is to lower the bar. If your standard for success is to get everybody to like you, then you’re bound to be shy. But if your standard is simply to have conversations with new people, then you’re bound to be more sociable.”
5 ways to start up a conversation
Okay, so you’re shy and don’t like initiating conversation. So is the person moving into the dorm, sitting next to you in lecture and in line with you for the bathroom. Instead of avoiding eye contact and smiling meekly, try one of these surefire conversation starters. Who knows, you may just meet your new bff:
- “Wow! Those (insert item here — like shoes) are fabulous! Where did you get them?”
- “Have you eaten at (insert local restaurant name here)? I am thinking of heading there for a quick bite and didn’t know if anyone had any recommendations.”
- “This is my first time at a (insert activity or skill here — like chess meeting or college hockey game). Any tips or pointers about getting more involved/How are they doing this season?”
- “Do you happen to have (insert what you need here — the time, last week’s lecture notes, a pen with ink)?”
- “Hi, my name is (enter your name here).”
For more great ways to start up a conversation, check out Carrie Neal Walden’s post, “20 conversation starters that will almost always work when talking to strangers,” on futurescopes.com.
Tell us how you overcame shyness and broke out of your shell. We’d love to read your story!