The Shyness Project

Make New Friends

Public speaking was a great challenge.  It was probably the hardest one yet because being the center of attention like that brings out the natural shyness in many of us.

I honestly did not feel confident that I was going to be able undertake Toastmasters and public speaking.  I’ve always hated presentations and even the word “presentation” or “oral report” was enough to make my stomach churn and my heart race.  In the past I’ve worried weeks before presentations in school and have had trouble sleeping and concentrating on anything else but the presentation.

Of course, I still get nervous for a presentation. I still worry about forgetting what I’m saying or making a fool of myself.  But I’ve gotten a lot better at quieting my negative voice and magnifying my positive voice.  This has definitely helped reduce the time I’ve spent worrying about an upcoming presentation or speech.  I’ve felt less stressed.

Even though I’m moving on to my next goal now, I am continuing with Toastmasters, like I have continued with my other goals.  It is a fairly big time commitment since it is every week, but I know that the benefits of this educational program will be extraordinary.

But now, it is time for another goal.

It’s time…to make new friends.

High school ended.  College is starting.  It’s the prime time for me to move out of my comfort zone and expand my circle of friends.  Several high school friends are moving away, and although several of my friends are still going to be in the area, I think it’s important to meet new people too.

When you go to a four year college, it is supposedly a lot easier to make friends.  You share a dorm room with someone, who could be a potential friend, or who could be a potential nightmare.  You live on campus so you are surrounded by thousands of other people around your age.  There are house parties, clubs and organizations, sports, campus events, and so forth.

Community college, however, is different.  A majority of the students come to school, take their classes, and then head home or off to work.  There aren’t living arrangements on campus.  There aren’t as many campus events, if any.  Making new friends is a little harder.

One of the main reasons why I wanted desperately to go to a four-year school before was to make new friends.  My brother Andrew made a family away from home while he was at UC San Diego.  He is still good friends with many of them today, even though they live in different parts of the country.  My brother Sean spent his first few years at community college, but didn’t really make any friends there.  It wasn’t until he went to Sonoma State that he met Brian, who welcomed him into his large circle of friends.

I realize it’ll be easier to make more friends once I transfer to a four-year school, but I want to make the most of my experience at community college.  I’ve learned so much from the friends I’ve made in the past and I really love getting to know people.  My hope now is that I can make some new friends.  The trouble is, how do I go about doing that?

My main idea is to make at least one friend in each of my classes this semester. I don’t know if I’ll be able to join school clubs where I realize it would be a lot easier to meet people, but I can make friends in my courses.  Since I have little time with six classes and a new job, I’ll have to get creative.  I can meet friends of my new friends.  I can meet friends of my current friends.  I can make my friend search well-known, so people know I am looking to meet new people and would love to be introduced.

College is a time for a fresh start and new beginnings, and I am more than ready to come in with a clean slate.  If I make an effort, I believe it will be possible to make friends at community college.  It’s all about making that first move and seeing where it goes from there.

Who knows who I could meet if I just try?

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25 thoughts on “Make New Friends

  1. lawyerchik1 on said:

    That sounds like a wonderful plan, Brittany! I have no doubt that you will navigate the new waters of college and lifelong friendships. 🙂

  2. Barbara Markway on said:

    Hi Brittany,

    I admire your enthusiasm! I am sure it will be more difficult to make new friends at a community college vs. a 4-year college, but I think your strategy of trying to make friends in your classes is a good one. And don’t be too hard on yourself…even if you don’t make a new friend in every single class, making even one new friend is huge. I don’t know what your part-time job is like, but I’ve always had luck making friends at work. Can’t wait to hear more! (and keep us updated on Toastmasters, too…as your busy schedule allows!)

    • Thanks Barb! You’re right about the caution on the making a friend in each class goal. I’ve noticed that in one class we switch seats practically every day and the scramble to find a seat before you end up on the floor makes it hard enough, without trying to make a friend too. In some classes like that one friend-making might not work out. And I wish I could make some friends at work, but my job is very isolated and I’m mostly by myself the whole time filing. Occasionally people will pass through to get something to eat or whatever, and I get to talk to people a little then, but other than that it’s not the best friend-making situation either. And yeah probably when I do another speech I’ll update on that! Hope Toastmasters is going alright for you (and the Icebreaker??), sorry that it seems your table topics is tougher because you have to go 2-3 minutes instead of just a minute or two. I wonder if there’s some sort of standard for the time for table topics or if each club just sets it own time.

  3. You’ve got the right idea, Brittany. Classes are one good way to make new friends. I met Paaj in my Cog Sci class, and through her and some other friends in my dorm, the Posse was formed. Who knows what will happen for you? A lot of the people there feel the same way as you, and you’ve got the right mindset for trying to meet new people.

    • Thanks mi hermano! Classes are the main thing I have going for me right now since it’s really hard for me to join a club this semester. I think it’ll be easier once I go to just one school full time and will be there multiple days so I can make more of the club meetings. We’ll see though. And yeah it seems like when I’ve talked about making friends with the people I tried to befriend they were interested in meeting new people too. Glad you’re safe with the blackout (stay off the road if possible for a while?) and look forward to hearing from you soon Mr. Engaged! 🙂

  4. It can be intimidating making new friends in an unusual environment as your surroundings will be unfamiliar. However, this is often an advantage; when you start a new college you are all in the same boat so you have a grace period of a month or two whilst everyone is getting acquainted. Recess times offer an opportunity to strike up conversations with strangers: the trick is to brim with happiness and ask simple questions: even “Hey! How’s your day going today?” I recently made a video that you might find helpful about how to make more friends.

    • Sorry Marcus, for some reason this got sent directly to my spam folder. I was lucky to have caught it because I’ve been getting 1000s of spam comments and I can’t sort through it all. But I’m glad yours showed up on the first page so I could unmark it as spam! Thanks for writing! Yep I think college is an advantageous situation to be in too, and I know it’s even more difficult to make friends once you’re outside of an environment like that. I’ve been finding that all it takes it just having the courage to say that one thing to start a conversation/break the ice, and from there it’s much easier. Cool I’ll take a look! Thanks! 🙂

      • Hooray! Saved from the spam! 🙂 Well done on your first day (re: 9/11/11 post) Ironically, I found a lot of my challenges actually started on my first day at college because I wrongly thought: ‘Hey If I don’t say anything at all then I can’t make a bad impression’. Sadly, I got known as ‘the quiet guy’ from that point on! The great news is you’re already way ahead of the curve here and are doing fabulous stuff already! Keep it up Brit!

  5. Important challenge to take on – you’re right, it could be tough on a campus like that. I’m confident you’ll do fine once you get started.

  6. Brittany, all the best: friendships are so fulfilling and for me they got a lot easier when the pool of people was wider and I could meet people as odd as me 😀 And just as the toastmaster speechmaking brought its own rewards (you are rather good at that!!) may your new time at college be the same. Happy new term.

    • Haha thanks Kate! There are so many people out there it’ll be interesting to see who I come across. 🙂 Thanks for the toastmasters compliment, toastmasters has made my college speech class seem like a breeze now in comparison! And so far college has been great. (I’m behind on my posts but there is much to tell on how it’s been going!)

  7. Friends who you will meet at the college becomes eternal friends.
    I seldom meet the friends but the bond continues forever.

  8. Good luck with the recruitment drive, Brittany! I lok forward to an update soon!
    Just don’t try too hard, people will gravitate towards you naturally – yours is a bright, shiny soul!

    • Haha thanks! It’s like “picking up” people, haha, asking for numbers and what not. It’s been helpful having this blog to keep me on track with my personal goals. Thanks Hook! 🙂

  9. Making new friends helps a lot to boost one’s confidence n a wa – really wish you the best of luck ) knowing more people like you or take notice of you can make you feel a lot better 🙂

    • Thanks Gabriella! Making new friends is great, and a lot of fun too. It feels good to know that you initiated a possible friendship by going up to someone who otherwise may not have come up to you!

  10. Oh, new school, new groups…memories! Brittany, just relax and smile (for real not a fake one), make confident eye contact and ask questions about people, (I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love to chat about themselves) and don’t get left out of early formed groups.

    Let it be known that you are up for going out more with folks, because it is when you have an exclusive shared experience that the REALLY strong bonds are made (but always put safety first of course).

    • Good ideas pea! You’re right about trying not to get left out of early formed groups, that does happen pretty quickly. That’s why I acted right away in the first few days!

      Yeah I think it’s good to hang out outside of school too. Otherwise it just becomes a friendship that lasts only a semester. Thanks pea!

  11. Eric Sylvester on said:

    My best advice is to be patient… I didn’t meet my closest college friends until a few weeks into the semester, and they randomly sat with me at lunch because they VAGUELY knew the friend I was eating with. Now we’re inseparable. Don’t get discouraged; you’ll never know when your best friend will come into your life.

    • That’s awesome and really interesting to hear, thanks for sharing that Eric! It’s cool to hear that even a few weeks in you met people who ended up becoming your closest friends. That’s encouraging for anybody to know.

  12. Classes are a great way to make new friends and depending on what you are studying group work might be involved…It would provide the perfect oppourtunity to get to know many of your fellow classmates.

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