The Introvert’s Guide to Getting Out There

I don’t think I would have ever called myself an introvert until I started college. But apparently I have introverted tendencies which, to be honest, is extremely frustrating for someone who’s usually pretty comfortable with people. Last semester was a struggle but this semester I made a goal to do more things that I’m interested in, both with other people or by myself. It’s been a little bit difficult but I can already tell you that it’s much easier than you think. So for you introverts out there, read on if you want to see some great tips and tricks to putting yourself out there.

//Make Friends with the People on Your Floor//

If you’ve consistently kept your door closed or you haven’t really participated in the general floor conversation, get out there. If someone’s door is open and there are a few other people, walk in, say hi, and ask if you can chill in their room for a minute. You don’t have to stay for very long – ten or fifteen minutes is a good place to start – and when you’re ready to go, say thanks and leave.

Sounds terrifying? Trust me, it isn’t. The other people on your floor are usually pretty nice, especially the ones who leave their door open. That’s why you should:

//Keep your Door Open//

It’s easier to get to know people when you keep your door open. There’s a constant flow of people in and out of your hall which makes it easy to just pop your head out and say “hey” every once in a while. Sometimes, somebody will be bored and just come and chat with you. You might even make a new friend or a new gym buddy.

So far all of these tips have been dedicated to the introverts who live on campus and in the dorms. But for those of us who don’t, here’s the best tip I can give you.

//Introduce Yourself to Everyone//

That guy who sits behind you in Women’s Studies, start with hello and your name. Random girl sitting by herself at dinner, ask if you can sit with her and tell her your name. At some university-hosted event involving food (the best kinds of events) go up to a group and strike conversation with them.

The first few times are really difficult, basically every introverts nightmare. But I don’t have to tell you that because you already know. But I’m not going to lie, every time you do it, it gets a little bit easier. In a month or so, you’ll be able to introduce yourself with so much ease.

Because I’ve done this so often, I’ve had some really interesting – or strange – conversations waiting at crosswalks around campus or on buses to class. And it’s simple fact that a class is always more fun when you have people to chat with during down time or make terrible jokes with on your way to class.

//Go to Events//

Always wanted to rock climb? Check when your university or a nearby gym has a rock climbing event for beginners. Want to get into finance? There’s probably a seminar or series talking about just that. Just want to meet new people – universities are always hosting mixers and other fun group things.

Pick one every other week, schedule it in, and go. Maybe ask around if other people want to go and if they say yes, cool! If they say no, it doesn’t matter because you can go by yourself and, using the tip above, meet new people.

//Join a Club or Organization//

Usually at the beginning of each semester, universities will host an activities fair where all the clubs gather and try to recruit you. Usually you get bombarded by clubs you’re not remotely interested in while trying to get to class. Yeah, that thing. Go to it.

The Club or Activities Fair is the easiest way to see all of the clubs on campus and to see what they do. If something sounds interesting, sign up for the listserv and get more information from them. You don’t have to commit 100%, but you do want to be reminded of some of the cool clubs you checked out in a week. Then, if you’re still interested, go to one of the meetings. If not, remove yourself from the listserv, usually just by sending an email.

Once you’ve decided which club you’re into, throw yourself into it. Go to meetings, sign up to do fundraising things or social media stuff, help plan events. Get involved in that club and dedicate time to it. You’ll meet a whole bunch of new people and hopefully have a great time doing something that you’re interested in on a weekly basis.

//Accept Dinner Invites//

This could also be “Accept Coffee/Brunch/Lunch Invites”.

You’re going to get invited to go grab a meal with someone. It’s inevitable.

//Don’t’ say no!//

That’s self-sabotage. Even if you don’t think you’re witty or interesting or insert-adjective- you-don’t-possess-here doesn’t matter. The person or people asking clearly find you interesting enough to want to eat and chat with. Trust that and go. Go grab food – you were going to do it anyway – and potentially make new friends along the way.

I did this at the start of first semester and it was such an easy way to get to know a bunch of girls on my hall. Later I did the dumb thing of not accepting any more invites because I was too busy working – which, let’s be honest, I wasn’t really doing. But now I’m going to work extra hard to go to dinner or lunch or some other thing with these girls because they’re pretty great and I like hanging out with them.

It’s going to be a bit of a challenge to find those people who you’ll fit in with but it’s completely doable. All of these tips will push you out of comfort zone a little but they will get much easier every single time you do them. Don’t overthink it too much and make sure you’re chatting with people who make you comfortable and happy.

So introverts, which of these do you think you’re going to try? Are there tips that you’ve been using to find your people?

The Introverts' Guide to Getting Out There