Approaching people always seems difficult when you’re in a completely new place, barely knowing a handful of people and not even one of them might be in your class? It gets scary because the anxiety starts to well up at the prospect of leaving your comfortable bubble of familiar people. Questions run through your head at miles per minute, ‘small talk?’ ‘Should I approach them?’ ‘Would they want to speak to me?’ ‘What should I say?’ etc. Although that’s common, we don’t really think that others may be thinking the same. The ‘extraverts’ who’re speaking to nearly everyone have the same feelings too, but they force themselves to go on ahead and speak to the first person they can, and yes it’s quite scary and a herculean task, but there are ways to beat the foggy head and clammy hands that fidget.
The first way would be to breathe, as insignificant as it seems, that’s the first and one of the best ways to stop feeling anxious. It doesn’t mean take deep breaths and exhale, no it means just focus on the pattern of your breathing and just feel it for a few moments.
Move around in the breaks between classes, say a simple “Hi” and ask about where the people around you are from, or maybe say something you really want to. No one can force you to speak if you’re against speaking. Maybe you could text someone later or a day after, someone who you felt was a fun person, or nice.
There is a simple thing that many people don’t realize. If someone speaks to you first and then after the conversation, they move to a different one with maybe someone else, they could simply be distracted, not because they don’t like you nor because they got bored. There are many people who simply speak and remember who they spoke to after a short conversation, they might reach out again but maybe you can try to text them later and start with a simple introduction.
If you don’t want to approach someone immediately, you can wait for someone to talk to you, and that should most likely happen to you, as someone will talk to you eventually, and you can always say a hi or simply smile.
Do you want to observe for a while and then pick someone to approach? That works too, you can take your time and judge who you think you will get along with, and then approach them. Although you may also want to judge and take some time, try to smile and grin if someone comes to talk to you.
You can also join clubs that catch your interests, those give you an easier way to talk to new people and make friends with your seniors and/or juniors. You also get a wider reach of your batch due to there being people from all divisions. So there are many people who will be similar to you or have many interests that match with you.
Friendships take a while to form. Maybe not everyone who you think is your friend at the time may get along well with you, so take your time, and approach anyone and everyone at your own pace.
You may not get friends immediately and that’s alright, people pick and choose throughout the semesters and days that pass. It’s no hurry, you’ll find your friends/ friend-group that makes you feel the most comfortable.
It’s no doubt that approaching and talking to new people is hard, but no matter what, you’re the only person who can make yourself speak or go to someone to befriend.
Things will take time, but they’ll settle in. If you’re not speaking immediately, text someone, maybe a screen will make you comfortable and no one judges on a simple greeting. So go ahead and take the chance to make friends.
Always remember, there’s nothing wrong with taking a slow pace, or being slightly shy. Everyone is different and there are always people who will accept those differences. There’s nothing that you can’t do or no one you can’t befriend if you want to. So, take a breath, watch, and pick who you want to speak with. You’ll find some of the best people of your life in these few years here.