“Go out and meet people,” they say. “Making friends, especially when you’re new at a school, is fun and easy.” “Everything will be just fine.” While people say things of this nature, socializing at college is definitely easier said than done. The bottom line is that living with people you don’t know at college is super awkward, but it can be a gateway to start socializing and making friends. Sometimes, people or situations can be awkward, and such is life. However, there are many ways to help you get out there and live your best life without feeling awkward.
Here are 10 ways to break out of your shell and be more social even when you feel awkward.
1. Be Confident
People tend to underestimate the importance of being confident in themselves, and how they present themselves to others. At the end of the day, your confidence contributes to how people view you, and when you are more confident in yourself, people get a better perception of who you are, especially when it comes to physically speaking to other people. “College students should stop, take a deep breathe, keep strong eye contact, and look comfortable. It’s important for them to be comfortable when they speak,” Ferris State University senior Gavyn Gallagher said. As the saying goes, confidence is key.
2. Engage in Self Care
In this day and age, people are learning and embracing the art of self care. For those of you who don’t know, self care is the act of taking care of yourself, and making sure all aspects of your health are in tact. Not only is self care proven to reduce anxiety and improve our moods, but it also makes us more personable. Often, reduced anxiety and personability leads to a smaller chance of us coming off as awkward, or thinking we are awkward. Engaging in self care benefits yourself and gives off good vibes to those around you. So every once in a while, turn the lights off, unplug from the world, light that candle and truly have some “me” time.
3. Push Your Boundaries and Leave Your Comfort Zone
The bottom line is, staying within a comfort zone restricts your boundaries for your whole life. You’ll will miss out on meeting great people and getting great opportunities. Yeah, FOMO applies here and it’s real. “I think college students can push their boundaries a little bit. Part of this issue with social awkwardness is the internal struggle of deciding whether to do or say something,” SUNY Cortland senior Josh Finkelstein said. Just face it, in order to grow on a personal level, you need to leave your comfort zone. Whether you decide to join more clubs, approach and talk to people that you don’t know or go out for a night on the town, there are plenty of ways to break out of your shell and socialize.
4. Find and Share Your Interests
Sometimes people feel out of place because they haven’t yet found their niche. As this problem arises, the best way to move past it is to find people who have similar interests as you.,“Find people who are into similar things as you, it’ll make you feel less alone in such a scary place, said” Florida Atlantic University sophomore Jessica Galluzzi said. Mayve there’s a club on campus for cat lovers, environmental activists or even country music enthusiasts. Whatever you may be interested in, share it loud and proud—you never know who else might share your passion. Another is finding people with different interests than you have, and you talk about your respective interests. Some people might love binge watching television shows or movies, music might make others tick, Our individual passions make us who we are, why not talk about them?
5. Embrace Your Quirks
Quirks are those little things that separate people from each other and make them unique—different things they say, patterns they follow or weird habits. Some people always smile, others have a specific nightime ritual, some even eat certain foods in certain ways. The quirks out there are endless. Being accepting of people’s quirks, regardless if they’re similar or different from yours, is a great way to show you can be carefree and personable. Let’s face it, we all have those little traits that we will never be able to part with. Instead of being embarrassed by them, use them as conversation starters.
6. Break Off from Large Groups
While most people feel comfortable staying within their group of friends, it is definitely beneficial to break off and socialize without these other people. This may seem like a weird thing to say, but socializing without your friends could ultimately lead to making new ones. Some of you might be wondering, why? When you are apart of a group, you gain a sort of group mentality. Within that group mentality you might not be as open minded or accepting of others and this can lead to awkwardness on all ends. Depending on who you are friends with and how they act, you end up acting differently. When you hang around friends from your childhood, it’s easy to fall into a similar pattern. You become comfortable and less likely to branch out to meet new people. When you do break free from your crew, you may find new faces that you can relate to and feel comfortable with just as easily. Don’t be afraid to walk around campus, hang out at a trendy coffee shop and make your presence known.
7. Become A Good Listener
One of the best ways to become more social and interact with others is to listen to others. People overlook the advantages of listening and decide to keep speaking instead. Be honest, even though you may like the sound of your voice, other people may need a break every now and then. Improve your listening skills by maintaining eye contact, putting your phone down and not interrupting others when they talk. Becoming a good listener will definitely enhance your people skills and show others you care.
8. Avoid Isolation
Often times, people overlook the harmful impact that isolation can have on a person. Isolation can cripple someone‘s social skills and leave them anxious when it comes to socialization. It can also make them appear more awkward and feel more awkward on the inside. For example, if someone in college makes the choice to take all online classes instead of regular on location classes, they miss out on the social aspects of class including meeting and talking to students. If this person spends enough time being isolated, they might forget how to talk to people. Even for introverts, this could be nerve wracking. Some ways to avoid isolation include leaving your home, or venturing to a park or any open green space. To avoid this and keep your social skills in tact, its best to avoid isolation.
9. Get Involved
This one is a classic. We’ve all heard our friends and family tell us to get involved more on campus. Joining clubs, organizations, engaging in class and attending campus events are all perfect ways to get involved at any college. If you don’t get involved and coop yourself up in your apartment or dorm all day, you won’t be able to socialize and meet potential friends. “Well college students can join clubs, make sure they feel welcome, do more activities with friends and so forth,” College of Staten Island junior Eric Day said. Regardless of whether students join clubs, engage in more activities or even just leave their apartments or dorms to venture on campus, getting involved is a great way to socialize.
10. Strike A Conversation
I know this one might sound difficult, especially if you consider yourself to be on the awkward side. Striking a conversation with someone new is a great way to come out of your shell. Everywhere you look, especially in college, there are people looking to socialize. When you step back and realize that everyone is in the same position trying to make friends, approaching others and having a conversation becomes easier. “College students should try to step out of their comfort zone and talk to someone new,” SUNY New Paltz senior Felicia Flaxman said. Despite how awkward you might feel, remembering that others in a college setting feel the same way as you definitely helps when it’s time to strike a conversation.