While many people look forward to the start of the school term as a time of new beginnings and to meet new people, for an introvert this time can be quite difficult. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, an introvert is a person for whom social situations can be difficult due to their shy nature. The idea of meeting new people, remembering new names, and trying to make new friends can cause stress and anxiety. Here are some ways to help reduce the stress of making new friends:
- Find people with the same interests as you.
Whatever your interests are, finding a group of like-minded individuals can be a great way to socialize and meet potential friends. If you are into sports, check out a rec team or fitness class. If you are into gaming, visit a nearby games café or restaurant or store with events. If you are into helping others, find a volunteer opportunity. And whatever you are into, there’s probably a Feds club for it. Knowing that you’ve already got something in common with the people you are meeting can help to ease your nervousness.
- Keep your body language open to new connections.
As you walk through campus, wait for class to start, or wait in line at Tim Hortons make sure to look up from your phone from time to time. Try to smile at other people and say hello if the opportunity comes up. Invite someone who doesn’t have a spot yet to sit next to you in class.
- Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone new.
Easier said than done for an introvert, but remember that everyone at the beginning of term is new. Whether they are new to campus or new to a certain class, everyone is at the same starting point. The worst-case scenario of starting a conversation with someone is that it doesn’t end up going anywhere and you have to try again.
- Give yourself a break.
It is okay to seek out alone time as well. Sometimes as an introvert, you can feel overwhelmed by the process of meeting new people, and it is okay to acknowledge that. If you find yourself overwhelmed, make sure to take some time to yourself to read, or listen to music, or whatever recharges your introvert batteries. You don’t have to be on all the time.
Can’t think of anything to say? If you are at that board games café, ask the person you want to talk to whether they prefer deck-building games or role-playing games. Ask what their favourite game is and talk about your favourite game. If you are at a sporting activity, ask how long they’ve been playing that sport. If you are in class or at a club, ask the person what program they are in or where they grew up. Making connections is so important and just because you are an introvert doesn’t mean making new friends is an unattainable goal.