Today's post was inspired by two things; The first being that I'm going back home tomorrow for three weeks and I get to catch up with some friends who I haven't seen in over a year. The second being that I saw somewhere that it was International Friendship Day today, so I thought this was quite a fitting post.
I grew up in Newcastle Upon Tyne and two years ago I moved 350 miles away to Southampton, for University! Finishing school and getting ready to start university was an exciting time in my life, but one I was also very nervous for. One of the main things that I was nervous about was that I wouldn't know anyone. I finished school with a handful of really close friends and I was unsure how to go about making new ones.
I am a ridiculously shy person when you first meet me. However, give it a couple of months and I am very loud, perhaps too loud (lets just call it enthusiasm and excitement, shall we?). Knowing this, the prospect of having to make new friends at university was a daunting one. However, I needn't have worried!
If like me, you're moving away to University, or you're starting a new job, changing schools or moving to a new city you will have so many opportunities to meet a range of new people and hopefully make some close friends. In regards to starting university, I am going to sound very cliché when I say that everyone is in the same boat and will be looking to make new friends as well, but it's true. Everyone is so friendly and open to meeting lots of new people.
This sounds great in theory, but when you're as shy as I was, even though everyone else is friendly and open, I still felt nervous and on edge. I know this is something I need to work on, and just in the past two years my confidence has already grown so much, so here are my three tips for meeting new people when you're shy:
1. Be yourself
It doesn't matter how shy you are, if you just be yourself the right people will want to take the time to get to know you. Even if that takes a few months. By being yourself, you limit the chances of making friends with people who are the complete opposite to yourself. You are more likely to meet people and get chatting to people who you will be friends with for the long run and who you will want to get to know better. If you are acting as someone you're not to try and appear more confident you will attract people who you won't get on with. So just be yourself and you will make friends!
2. Chat to people online beforehand
If you are starting university, use social media to your advantage. There are plenty of Facebook pages set up that you can join. There'll be one for your halls of residence and for your course. By joining these, you can easily find the people you will be living with and working with during your time at university. I managed to speak to a few of my course mates, who were also staying in my halls as well as get to know people those I'd be living with for my first year at Uni (I'm still living with most of these people two years later, so I obviously did something right!) Chatting to them online prior to moving to university means you will eliminate those first awkward conversations. You will be able to skip the small talk and this will potentially help you feel more confident when chatting irl for the first time. Also, feeling like you already know people before you even move away to Uni is a great confidence booster.
3. Create lots of opportunities
If you are a naturally shy person, creating lots of opportunities to meet new people might sound daunting. However, hear me out. If you find that you don't get on with your flatmates straight away, your confidence might be slightly knocked and you might find it even harder to get to know other people. Therefore, by getting a job, joining a social etc. you have the chance to meet so many more people than just those you live with and the people on your course. This will help you feel more confident and knowing you have friends outside of Uni life, will enable you to feel more confident during your time at Uni, as opposed to feeling lonely and scared to talk to people. I don't really talk to too many of my course mates outside of Uni, so having friends at work who I can spend time with on weekends and evenings, as well as friends who I live with, makes me feel so much better and stops me feeling down whenever I'm in a lecture without any close friends.
So those are my three tips for making friends when you are a shy person. These worked for me and I hope they work for you - if you need them! Thanks for reading and I'll see you in my next post.