The Shyness Project

Picking up Friends- College Orientation Style

Six months have passed since I transferred to my new college. As you may recall, I was nervous to leave my small town and comfort zone of friends, family, and favorite dancing spots. Well, let me catch you up on how the first semester went. I’ll break this up into a few posts so I can touch on each area I wanted to address.

First off was orientation. I was nervous for the potential ice breakers, but luckily there were none. Nothing like the awkwardness of putting a bunch of strangers in a room and having them do a dance move for each letter of their name or throw a beach ball around asking them to name their favorite band or type of food. I admit they can sometimes be useful or even fun, but most of the time they deserve the groans they solicit. The orientation turned out to be mostly just listening to lectures, but I did manage to make two initial friends through it who I later took classes with.

The first time I tried to make a friend was in line waiting to get my orientation packet.  I picked out my victim, the girl in front of me, and made my move quickly. “Is this the line for transfers?” I asked, actually needing to verify that I was in the right place anyway. She said it was, and I thought soon enough we’d be schmoozing and conversing from there.  Didn’t turn out that way. I tried talking to her some more, but it was a real struggle because she didn’t seem very interested in talking and faced back ahead. Mission abort!

It took two minutes of arguing with myself in my head before I finally turned around and asked whoever it may be that was behind me if they were a transfer too. Well, duh, we’re in the transfer line. But the point is not to say something profound, just anything light that serves as a friendly little icebreaker and invitation to talk. She was pretty friendly and nice surprisingly, asking me several questions, unlike the other girl. She seemed like someone I’d be friends with. We ended up arranging to take the same Spanish class, and sat next to each other throughout the semester with two other people we got to know in class.

I met another girl when we had to sit down for a lecture once we got our orientation packets. She just so happened to be a Sociology major too. I started talking to her by asking if orientation was supposed to go until 5 or 6 because I had heard 5 but the program said 6. We continued talking every now and then from there, and sat out and had lunch together during the break. She was actually getting married in two weeks and is 26. We each told each other more about ourselves and it was nice to already have someone to spend the lunch break with. We ended up taking the same Research Methods class.

Developing this habit of picking up friends and devising little ice breakers I’d say was one of the biggest take-aways from my project. I find myself doing this often, and I do feel like I have a good strategy for it even though I do often get nervous to make the initial move. I think anyone who wants to develop a similar habit will find comfort in knowing that the more you do it the easier and more routine it becomes. Most of the time it is a positive response and people are glad you reached out to them, so if you’re thinking about it remember that!  If it isn’t, like with the first girl I mentioned who I attempted to befriend, that is perfectly okay and you just have to try again. Some people you just won’t click with right away. It’s kind of like a game, and the more you play the more familiar it becomes, and the more chances you have at finding some people you really connect with. Happy friending! It’s worth the effort!

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2 thoughts on “Picking up Friends- College Orientation Style

  1. Hi Brittany. I’m glad to rediscover your blog. I’m Faith. My blog name used to be ShyQuietFaith and we connected for a time over our mutual blogging about shyness. I still struggle with feeling shy, with retreating within myself, sometimes at moments that surprise me. I recently met someone I had a lot in common with and wanted to befriend them. But even as I talked more, the more I found I like them and the more excited I became, the more I retreated until I ended the conversation because I couldn’t foresee a natural ending. Now I hope there are more opportunities to get closer to that person.

    All that to say, it’s really nice to read your post about the ways you made friends in a new place. Even when you thought about how a conversation opener was too obvious, you still saw the value in using and moved through discomfort to make a friend. That was encouraging to see.

    All the best to you!

  2. Latoya Best on said:

    Hi, I really enjoyed reading this and can certainly relate when out at networking events or when meeting people for the first time. The important thing I took from your blog post is to keep trying and eventually it will get easier. I blog about being shy, introverted, and an actress at http://www.the introvertedactress.blogspot.com

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