If you’re an introvert and you’re about to go off to college now, I want to tell you, don’t be nervous and please don’t change your mind about going at all. It will be fine and you will enjoy these years more than I can describe. All those shallow people who are running around right now talking loudly, making instant friends whose last names they don’t even know yet, you don’t need to worry about them. There are many, MANY people at your school whom you will enjoy. Some of them will be introverts, and some of them will be extroverts. Some of the people I have really liked a lot over the years have actually been extroverts! Not the kind of extrovert who scolds you for being quiet, or sees you and commands, “Smile!” Just friendly people who are always glad to see you.
1) Relax. Everyone is not looking at you when you walk into the food court or whatever area you’re having to walk in for the first time. Really. Just take your time and go in and look around. Order some food or just look around. I stayed out of some places for the very reason that I wouldn’t know immediately which way to go once I got in there, and I didn’t want people looking at me. Please don’t do that to yourself. Go on in – walk slowly enough that you can see what’s there as you go.
2) Don’t let yourself feel like a loser if you’re sitting alone. Nowadays you can have prominent earbud wires hanging down or be fiddling with your cell phone. Just relax, once again, just like you would do if no one was even around. Someone will probably come up to chat with you, so then look up with a friendly smile.
3) There are other introverts all around you. They love reading, writing, animals, piano, the internet, many things that you love. Arm yourself with the knowledge that the person who’s reading and doesn’t even look up when you walk in a room might well be an introvert. No, I wouldn’t walk up to him and say, “I see you’re an introvert!” But eventually as other introverts around you see that you are easy to have around and that you don’t interrupt or act obnoxious, you may have some new friendships beginning.
Above all just relax and be open to the possibility of new friendships with anyone, male or female. Don’t compare your social life to the idiot down the hall or worry about if you are making “enough” friends “fast” enough. Be your own nice self and you will make the kind of friends and have the kind of college years you will truly enjoy and look back on fondly for the rest of your life.
Photo credit: durian