Got Friends?: The Shy College Student's Guide to Social Enlightenment

About this article
Sure, college is about books and teachers and all-night cramming sessions, but it's also about making lifelong friends and broadening your social horizons. One of the greatest learning experiences for college students is coming to know and accept all sorts of people. These tips may help take their first steps toward extraordinary friendships.
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While it's true that you're going off to college to study and improve your future career opportunities, it is also a time for forging life-long friendships. Even the shyest of students benefit from the fun and emotional support offered by close friends. If nothing else, it helps to have a sympathetic ear when things get stressful. The following tips might be just the extra push you're looking for.

1. Find common ground. Sure, not everybody has the same interests or quirks, but we can assure you that all those surrounding you in your philosophy class are probably students... taking philosophy. Confirming next week's assignment or griping about yesterday's test might be the perfect conversation starter. If all else fails, suggest an out-of-class study group to get the ball rolling or exchange numbers to lend each other notes on those random sick days.

2. Join a flock. Are you a bookworm? Check out local book clubs and see if there's one that suits your tastes. How about a football fanatic? Find or form an intramural team, or swing by a local sports bar to catch a Monday night game. The best friends are those who share your interests. What better way to find somebody just like you?

3. Be open-minded. For some people, their best friends have a completely different personality than them. Often we have more to talk about and learn from those who are interested in things we've never considered. Whether your potential friend has alternate interests, is of another ethnicity or religion, or just handles him or herself completely differently, extend the olive branch. Think outside the box.

4. Be yourself. It's no fun to try to pretend to be someone else. While you might be able to join a social circle, you won't be able to talk about and enjoy the things you love most. Embrace your uniqueness with confidence - others will respect you for it.

5. Have confidence. It's important to be open, friendly and sure of yourself. When you embrace and accept you for you, as suggested above, yet remain warm and open to new experiences, people will likely approach you!

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