I don’t think anyone realizes how important social interactions are until you’re plucked from your comfort zone and placed in a completely different setting. So I am constantly faced with awkward situations where I feel uncomfortable, yet I crave this. I really do want to make friends, but all I do is avoid situations where friendships are made. So attending a college without knowing a single person prior is truly daunting. But this has been challenging me in a good way.
Okay let me talk about my personality for a bit.
I’ve always had a core group of about 3-4 close friends. The people in this group has changed as I’ve grown older, but the most important thing is that they are my support system. I am the type to enjoy being alone, but I also like having friends who I know will always be there for me. I also admit to being needy, but who isn’t. It isn’t even the ‘needy’ in the sense that I need someone with me at all times, but more in the realm of having a friend with me is my safety net. I am instantly at ease if I am in a room with a friend even if we aren’t together. Even if it is a mutual friend, in the same room as me, I will generally be more comfortable and open.
So this all leads into why I enjoy my writing class… and it’s not for the writing.
My writing class is small and no bigger than 25 students. On the first day of class I realized a friend was in the class and I instantly perked up. Making eye contact and subtle jokes throughout class with this friend made the class time go by quicker even though we weren’t sitting together. But just these small interactions led me to feel more confident and open. Over time we had a few inside jokes that would come up and I found myself smiling or laughing randomly in class, which didn’t go unnoticed by others.
In no time I ended up sitting among four other students who actively included me in their banter or conversations. So after about two months of sitting through a class that felt like it lasted forever I finally looked forward to my evening class. I liked being able to rush in late and grab a seat among familiar faces. Although we don’t talk outside of class, it is nice to know that I have a handful of people from this class who are willing to talk with me.
And most recently I reached out to a classmate who I recognized from my building and orientation group. It was random and a spur of the moment. But little did I know, just by making the first move I had gained another friend. Just today he came in late and instead of trying to sit where he normally did he took the open seat next to me. We made small talk and he even noticed when I started to really lose focus. He even took the initiative to try and make me less bored by offering up games of tic tac toe.
So the point of this post is to say how important it is to talk to others even if it’s just during one class out of your whole week. I personally have issues with making friends and making the first move. But so far with every step I take closer to someone I am often rewarded; there isn’t a correct way to make friends, but it doesn’t happen if you don’t actively try. I am not a monster, I enjoy social interactions. However, I think a big part of my issue is confidence and mine fluctuates depending on the situation I’m in; but this is a whole other story.