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Social Tips for the Introvert

The thought of going to campus events on your own is a little intimidating, but you’ll probably run into at least one friendly face from class while you’re there.

Laura Magerkurth

October 07, 2013

Social Tips for the Introvert
I've never been the type to make friends easily. I had a few close friends in high school, but we didn't spend much time together outside of classes or the lunchroom. My introverted nature means that, however much I may want to engage with others, passing more than a few hours with anyone leaves me emotionally drained. Even though I may not feel the need to be with friends during all of my free time, I still wanted to establish a social circle at college.

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I have a few tricks that I used to make friends, and since they seem to have worked pretty well for me, they will likely help you out, too! Use “Friend” as a Verb I’m sure I don’t have to tell any of you about how important social media can be in developing new friendships.

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Don’t be afraid to send a friend request to someone you’ve connected with or follow them on a web site—chances are they enjoyed meeting you, too. Tumblr is my personal favorite site and I’m in contact with several people I know from my off-line life, but Facebook is probably better for “real-life” relationships. The thought of going to campus events on your own is a little intimidating, but you’ll probably run into at least one friendly face from class while you’re there.

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RSVP’ing to a free speaker, movie showing, or cultural event on Facebook will let all your new friends know that you’ll be there and may even encourage them to show up, too. Join Up This is almost certainly one of the most clichéd pieces of advice I could ever give you, and I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it by now, but it’s so applicable that it bears repeating: join one organization just for fun. Gay-Straight Alliance-type clubs are, in my experience, very welcoming, fun and friendly. Niche groups, like ones for LARP/RPG enthusiasts, gamers, ethics discussion groups, international/cultural clubs (yes, you’ll probably be allowed to join even if you don’t have a particular background or aren't an international student!), anime organizations and essentially any group with a singular focus will be made up of individuals who are just as passionate about that activity as you are, and also eager to meet new people. It would be impossible for me to list all the clubs or organizations that appeal to people with specific interests, but I’ll list some of the more exotic ones: we have a group dedicated to the “recreation of the Middle Ages;” an astronomy club and an environmental sustainability club. My favorite organization is our chapter of First Book, a national charity that promotes literacy and provides books to children who may not be able to have one of their own. It’s a very small group of maybe a dozen students and, because it’s very informal, I’m always comfortable speaking up. Reading is a huge part of my life and I love that I have the opportunity to give books to others who need them. That kind of camaraderie can be present in just about every small organization, which means that it’s easy to build friendships there. Study with a Buddy Even if you’re not having a difficult time, setting up a study group of a few nice people from one of your classes is a good way to bond with others. Some major programs even have study hours where more experienced students can help younger ones with their coursework. Tag Along Remember, it’s totally all right to attach on to a group if you know at least one of the members—and if you see some friendly faces in the dining hall, sit with them! Even though you may feel awkward about tagging along, chances are they won’t mind a bit. Most people, especially new college students, are open to the idea of getting to know new people. I know that it’s difficult, but getting comfortable spending time alone is one of the best things you can do to gain the confidence to strike up a conversation and meet new people. You may even find that, like me, you sometimes need a quiet evening to yourself—and that’s totally okay! As long as you’re projecting openness and make a little bit of effort, I’m sure that you’ll make at least one new friend before the semester’s end.

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