Living on a college campus for the first time can cause anxiety in anyone. There are things like getting used to your independence, managing your finances, and meeting academic expectations, and more to deal with. Having a healthy social life during your college years can essentially make it easier to get through the bumpy transition. However, for those who suffer from social anxiety, making new friends is easier said than done.
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is an increasingly common type of anxiety. It is often triggered in circumstances where a person feels they are going to be judged, evaluated, or observed in front of others. This could be anything from a face-to-face meeting with one person to campus parties and events.
When in these types of environments, you might experience an increased heart rate, sweating, shaking, dry mouth, dizziness, muscle pains, slowed or shaky speech, and problems concentrating. Though everyone around you may not see what’s going on, it can be very unnerving to deal with. As a result, people who suffer from social anxiety tend to isolate themselves in their dorms.
Getting Past Your Social Anxieties
College is not meant to be experienced in your dorm room. You have to get out and explore what campus life has to offer. Making connections with other students can greatly enhance your academic experience as well as your physical, and emotional health. There are ways you can try to reduce anxiety triggers so you can get out and meet new people.
Join a Club or Group
A great way to meet new people when you have social anxiety is to join a group or club. Though it is a setting with lots of people, these groups are designed to allow like-minded students to do something they enjoy. Since everyone there will be focused on the activity or project, you won’t feel like you’re in the spotlight. You can then connect with them on familiar topics like your love of the club or group you’ve joined.
Consider a Relaxed Setting
If you’re trying to meet new people but struggle with social anxiety, chances are going to a frat party isn’t a good idea. There are too many people and things going on that could trigger your anxiety. Instead, try inviting a small group of people to a relaxed setting. You can head to a bar for drinks and then wrap up with a vape kit and the best vape juices to lighten the mood. You might even invite a few classmates back to your dorm room for snacks and a study session as an icebreaker.
Here’s what you have to remember. All freshman college students are new on campus and anxious about making friends. While they may not suffer from social anxiety, the concept of meeting new people can still be a struggle. With that in mind, imagine wanting to approach someone but when you look over they’re frowning, staring at the floor, and moving fairly quickly. This gives off the impression they are not approachable. Perhaps you’re guilty of some of the same things which give other students pause. Be sure to smile, make eye contact, and have a positive attitude on campus when greeting others. It can make a big difference in helping to ease the anxieties everyone suffers from on occasion.
Don’t push yourself into social scenes or into trying to make friends. The pressure will only intensify your anxiety symptoms making it more challenging to get through. Instead, start small. If you see someone sitting alone in the school cafeteria, go over to them and introduce yourself. If they reciprocate, sit down and have lunch with them using conversation starters to break the ice. If they don’t introduce themselves, at least you gave it a shot and feel better about lowering your guard in the future.
Be an Effective Listener
A great way to keep the “spotlight” off of you is to be a good listener. Express interest in what the individual is talking about and allow them to speak freely. As they are talking, listen for key points or topics you can bring up once they’re done, to keep the conversation going. The idea is not to make it all about you so you don’t feel the pressure. When you’re on campus with hundreds of other students, it can feel intimidating to wonder how you’ll connect with them. As having healthy friendships on campus can make your college experience better, getting out there and meeting new people is necessary. However, before you attend the next frat party and freak out, it’s probably best that you practice the tips above to make friends without triggering your anxiety.