Your post-high school self is a new person, and this is your chance to expand your wings, especially when it comes to developing your social skills. Whether you were the shy one in your high school batch or the most popular person on campus, college is a clean slate. It’s one of the best times to make lasting friendships. Here are some tips on making new friends in college and developing your social skills in general.
Attend Freshman Events
Before you can find your new lifelong friends, you have to start with meeting acquaintances, lots of them. Meeting people is an inevitable part of being a freshman. The upperclassmen and the college itself will have events planned for you and your peers, to break you into the college system and to introduce you to your new environment. Some colleges even have systems in place that will require you to wear a name tag all throughout freshman week. Some of these meetings are mandatory, while others are optional. But for the sake of improving your social skills early on, attend every single one.
It’s the best time to present a good image of yourself, and to find several people you can be first name basis with throughout your freshman year.
Manage Your Contact Lists
Because you have your phone all the time, you might feel tempted to simply save a person’s first name and his or her number, but doing this will confuse you later on as you meet more people.
Add more details to the entry including where you met that person, or any indication that will connect the name with the face in your mind. You can’t remember everyone you meet, so the best thing to do would be to organize the numbers and names you collect. You don’t want to call or text someone by mistake.
Develop a Warm Handshake
Freshman year is the time to develop a warm handshake and the smile that goes with it. The handshake is the universal non-verbal way of saying “it’s nice to meet you”, so make sure yours is warm enough to convey this message. Think of it as preparation for the future. You will have to use the same greeting in the future for job interviews.
A warm handshake involves grasping with your fingers and letting your palm press itself on the other person’s palm naturally. Grasping with the whole hand could crush someone’s carpals and metacarpals easily, especially if you don’t know your own strength. Practice the one-hand shake and the two-hand shake alternately, reserving the second for people you’ve met previously or those that left a lasting impression on you.
Open Yourself to Conversation
Simple gestures like removing your stuff from a nearby chair when someone’s standing around holding a tray in the cafeteria can make you seem more open to conversation. You can also remove one earphone when someone asks to share a table in the library or in the common room while you’re studying.
Another good gesture is to keep a foldable chair in your dorm room so that you can offer it to a guest, whether the person is coming to see you or your roommate. Your potential to make new friends depends on your ability to get the friendly vibe across.