By Brandon Walberg
College is often most remembered for the great times spent with friends. However, with the vast number of people who attend college it can be very intimidating when you are trying to meet new people. While some people may think they already have all the friends they need, there is nothing wrong with wanting to make new friends for yourself or to add to your friend group. Remember that it is the people in your life who will make up how you view your year.
Before you can be ready to meet new people, you ironically need to have spent enough time just being focused on yourself. It is so difficult to meet new people or share yourself with the world if you have not yet dealt with your own insecurities or the skeletons in your closet. However, while it may be difficult to push yourself to really evaluate who you are and your well-being, it may end up being one of the most rewarding things you could possibly do. Once you have figured yourself out, you are now ready to take on the social world by storm. Any issues you may feel that you have with your level of confidence become irrelevant once you have had at least one honesty talk with yourself. You have the ability to do whatever you want as long as you truly want it to happen. You should never feel embarrassed by who you are as a person because there is nothing wrong with who you are. Nobody is ever worth the effort of changing who you are if it makes you feel uncomfortable and feel as though you are not being genuine.
I have found that people tend to love meeting others with their own share of self-confidence. However, this often comes with the risk of appearing cocky if it is overdone. The best way I have seen to combat this type of mentality is by being honest with people. You should never have to feel trapped by the little lies you have told. So what that you cannot remember that girl’s name who you talked to last weekend? If you are honest and let her know that you had a great time chatting with her about the meaning of life, but you can’t seem to remember her name, she will most likely forgive you just for your honesty. She may even appreciate your compliment about how you enjoyed the conversation more now that she sees you are an honest person. If you genuinely have a difficult time remembering people’s names then take full advantage of the note-taking capability that your phone most likely has.
One helpful little trick I have found to be very useful is being politically correct when meeting new people. You do not want to scare someone away or make someone uncomfortable merely because you made a comment or joke that you did not know would be sensitive to them or someone they know. Besides this, do not be afraid to put yourself out there and show them the real you. You get the advantage of not having to put time or effort into the people who you may scare away. Let’s say that your worst-case scenario occurs and you do something really embarrassing. The best way to fix the situation is to be honest about what happened and then there is nothing to really be embarrassed about anymore because they hold nothing over you. Regardless of what Instagram comments may say on sorority girls’ photos, nobody is actually perfect. People who do not understand little mistakes are not people you should want to have as friends anyway. Be honest, apologize if you need to and then laugh at your mistakes afterward. You can even use it as an icebreaker the next time you see the person.
In the end, I personally believe that honesty, whether it is with yourself or with others, will make both your personal and social lives so much easier and more enjoyable. People will want to be friends with you if come across as a genuine person, and you will most likely want to share yourself with others if you are friends with yourself too.
Brandon Walberg Studies journalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @BrandonWalberg.