Tips for making friends in college if you’re shy or introverted

Courtney was nervous about making new friends in college but these 5 things made it easier to chat to people and build connections

Written by Courtney Fitzmaurice


Anyone who meets me usually says that I’m a quiet person. For my whole life, I’ve been an introvert. According to Introvert, Dear, an introvert is “someone who prefers calm, minimally stimulating environments.” In secondary school, teachers would sometimes say being an introvert was a negative thing. In reality it’s just a part of who I am and how I’ve always been. Not all introverts are shy, and not all shy people are introverts.

When I started college back in September last year, I was nervous as to how I would get on meeting new people in a new environment. I was afraid that I would find it difficult to make friends. However, I loved my first year of college, had a great experience and met some great friends.

Here are my top 5 tips for getting to know people in college if you’re introverted or shy.

Connect with classmates online

After registration and in the early days of college, there will likely be a course group set up on social media, which are a great way to connect with the other students. I met one of my friends before class even started and we stuck together from orientation. If I didn’t have her, I would have been anxious for those first days of college.

Attend course nights out

These nights out are a good way to get to know people in your course outside of the lecture halls or labs. Remember that everyone in your class wants to make friends and enjoy their college experience. I’m not very comfortable talking to large groups of people, so I usually meet up with a close friend beforehand and we head in together. When I feel drained from all the socialising, I can just go home. Before college, I wasn’t the biggest fan of nights out as they made me nervous, but I think if you have a good group of friends around you, you can have a brilliant time.

Join clubs and societies

Many people say that clubs and societies are what makes the college experience. Colleges offer so much choice in these areas. There’s really something for everyone. One of my favourite societies I joined last year was the Her Campus society, an online website where students write mostly lifestyle articles. I also joined the journalism society, where I worked as a sub editor for the opinions section of the college newspaper. Joining these societies made me feel more involved in college and was a great way to get to know new people who had similar interests.

Hang around campus in between lectures

In my course, we would often have long periods of free time in between lectures. Rather than going home between lectures, we spent a lot of time talking in the different cafés or just wandering around campus. Over a few days, I became friends with more people and they are some of the best people I’ve met. After the initial nerves, it became easy to talk to them and I’m so glad I made the effort.

Be friendly

For extroverted people, saying hello and making casual conversation is such an easy thing, but definitely for me back in September, it was something I had to make a conscious effort to do. A friendly smile really can go a long way and helps to get a conversation going. Generally, introverts don’t like small talk and prefer deeper conversation, but I think it’s a good way to start a friendship with somebody.

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