Of course you’ll be seeing a lot of people throughout your time at university and making friends. I am rather quiet until I get comfortable around the person therefore the prospect of having to make new friends is not so exciting to me. Quiet not only as in I struggle to initiate conversations but also that I really badly suck at small talk. Even when I do it, I would fidget or awkwardly smile lol which is bad but it happens. So how do people like me make friends? I have identified some ways to work with this…
Attend the events.
Definitely don’t isolate yourself due to your fears; go to the meet and greets of societies and put yourself out there.
Scan the peripheries.
I find it easier to initiate conversations with someone on their own. Go to them. Even if they are evidently indulged in a task, you can always give it a go. When I went for the first Bhangra taster, everyone was in groups and I had no one to go to so I went to the person looking after the music on his own and it was nice to have spent those few minutes talking to someone rather than standing in a corner.
Stand in the corner and wait for someone to find you.
Sounds rather passive but usually people will come to you if they notice you on your own. But don’t go on your phone. That would put people off if they see you scrolling down some feed. Also, really? You don’t go to a meet and greet to check your Twitter. Be present wherever you go. You may find standing on your own awkward but there is nothing wrong with that. You enjoy your own company and absorb the environment until you find someone.
At Society events, speak to the exec.
They are not only friendly but they also understand how awkward it can be for some people to open up in a new environment. That way, you’ll have someone to talk to and they can always introduce you to other people as well.
Find a purpose to initiate conversations.
I struggle with striking a conversation just to get to know them unless if I can show them value in having the conversation so I decide the topic before approaching them.
It is almost like good manners to ask people the following four questions during the first few weeks of term 1: “what’s your name?”, “what do you study?”, “where are you living?”, and “where is home for you?”
Acknowledge people if you see them again.
If you meet someone once and then see them again, go and say hi and tell them you remember them! Even if you have someone on social media and happen to remember them, formalise your acquaintance and establish that they are more than just a twitter account (if you mean it).
Speak as little as you want. I was surprised at Sprint when a colleague said to me “I can see you are a woman of few words” and now think that perhaps people can tell when someone is quiet. We went on to become very good friends and met up many times. Finding and making friends should be a positive experience therefore be natural and be yourself!
It takes time.
You don’t have to meet your friends for life on the first day. Even though I found my best friends at Warwick in week 1 of first year, it was in second year that we truly became close friends so that I would actually miss them when I didn’t see them. Where during first year I was pretty much revising on my own in term 3, in second year we made a real effort to meet up because we were truly missing each other. Such bonds take time to form and develop into them special friendships so give it the time and space required.