College is one of the only times where you will be around a large group of young people all concentrated in the same place, doing the same thing.
It’s a time to learn and prepare for the rest of your life. It’s also a unique moment where freedom is abundant and you can do what you want to do, without parental guidance.
So, the opportunity is there for you to grow or stay stagnant, solely based on your choices. Improving your social skills is one area to grow, but it requires effort.
Some people don’t go out of their comfort zone to meet new people. Whether they are comfortable with their friends from high school or current friend group, don’t have enough free time, or are too scared or lazy to make the effort, they miss out on amazing opportunities.
Not coincidentally, these people usually go on to struggle meeting new friends as adults, because they become more uncomfortable after years of not practicing.
Others engage in conversations where they aren’t totally comfortable, and learn to adapt and build communication skills that serve them the rest of their life.
For example, the most important aspect to getting a job is your ability to communicate with the interviewer and market yourself. These kinds of people don’t get rid of their current friends, but they make time to seek out new ones and gain advantages from it.
Advantages To Meeting New People
1) Improve your conversational skills.
Because all people are unique, no one will think or answer the same as another person. That’s why meeting new people is so valuable, because it forces you to improve your conversational skills to relate to different people. It’s hard, but possible, to relate to many types of people.
2) Quickly learn that the world is bigger than you and your thoughts.
It’s easy to hang out with your friends and family who think like you. That’s probably why you get along in the first place. But, when you talk to someone you don’t know, you immediately realize that everyone doesn’t have the same views as you. This leads to developing a broader perspective and greater understanding of the world, which is also humbling.
3) Gain comfort in unfamiliar atmospheres for personal growth.
Even if you are introduced by a mutual friend, it’s always a little uncomfortable meeting someone new. But growth happens when you are able to respond positively in unfamiliar areas. I can’t think of a lower risk and higher reward situation than introducing yourself.
4) Gain opportunities and experiences.
The old phrase “it’s not what you know, but who you know” applies here. While I’m not all the way on board with that phrase, you never know what future opportunities a person has to offer unless you make an effort to find out.
Don’t Miss Out On New Friends
So, next time you see someone and think for a second that you want to talk to them, go say hi and introduce yourself before you get scared and talk yourself out of it.
I’m sure the other person will feel good that you approached them.
Worst case scenario, you get the experience saying hi and practice starting a conversation. At best, you just met a lifelong friend.
Based on my experiences in college, I urge you to spend time doing different things where you will meet new people.
Investing your time in this area will produce great returns in your future work, family, and overall life. Make it a conscious decision and then follow through.
You won’t regret it.