Don’t worry, doggie. You can make friends too. Photo courtesy of ♡Blackangelツ. Licensed under CC BY-2.0.I’ve always been a fairly shy person. I don’t speak out unless I have something to say that I actually think will contribute to the conversation. I spend more time thinking of what I’m going to say than I do talking. I hesitate because I’d rather be quiet and ignored than given the “did you really just say that” look. 

As a consequence, it was a little hard for me to find friends in college. A lot of people feel like this once they enter their freshman year. We’re not super weird, we’re not stupid, we’re not mute– we’re just shy. However, college is about getting outside of your box. So if you’re shy, it’s time to prepare to shake off that protective layer and put yourself out there. If you don’t, you’ll miss out on the best things that college has to offer.

Smile

People will naturally gravitate towards you if you appear open and friendly. If you cross your arms all the time, scowl, and never look people in the eyes, people are going to assume you don’t have any friends because you’re a bitch. That might or might not be the case, but if you do want to make some friends in college, open up a little bit. All you have to do is smile. Smile at people walking by you on campus, at the people serving you lunch, at a funny joke someone tells in class. If you present yourself as someone who people might want to talk to, you’re already halfway there.

Smiling will also help increase your confidence as well. It just brightens your face and by a secondary affect, it makes you feel better inside. Additionally, if you smile at someone, chances are, they’re going to smile back. Seeing this reaction will help you realize that you can connect with someone positively with something as simple as a smile.

Carry Gum and Mints

“Hey, do you have any gum?” is an ever-present phrase pretty much anywhere you go. Carry some with you so that you can have a reason to talk to someone. Better yet, practice taking the initiative in a conversation by offering gum to those in class around you. Most of the time, people will take you up on your offer and thank you. It’s a great way just to form a very simple connection. It can lead to a conversation or it can just let you know that you have a friendly face in the classroom.

Talk to People in Class

If you’ve exhausted your gum routine, take the next step to making friends. The people you’re in class with are going to be the people that you’re going to be with for the next four years for the most part. This is especially true once you get into classes of your major. The best part about the people you’re in class with is that you already know you have something in common with them– this class. Strike up a conversation about how stupid last night’s homework was. As depressing as it can sound, misery loves company. Complaining about how hard classes are is a cornerstone of college life. If you had trouble understanding something from last night’s reading, ask someone sitting next to you. You already have a foundation base to take to the people sitting around you– use it.

Get Involved

This is the number one way I’ve met people on my college campus. Yes, it’s a little daunting and terrifying at first, but joining a club is a great way to meet people and form friendships. You can join something as general as a community service club or something as wild as a dancing group (which I most definitely did my freshman year). Go to your school’s involvement fair at the beginning of each semester to see what activities and clubs your university offers. There is often a niche that you will love and fit right in. Right now, I’m part of Trinity’s TV station and I love it. I meet new people and friends every semester. So branch out and try something new. Break out of your shell and you’ll forget you were ever shy in the first place.

How do you help yourself get out of your box to make friends? Let us know in the comments!

[via College Cures]