Scene 1: It's your first day in college and you don't recognize a single face in the classroom you're in.
Scene 2: You're in your first workshop and already you feel out of place. Everyone around you is greeting each another like old friends.
Scene 3: You're at a party and your friends left you alone to meet some friends they know outside. You're standing near the wall and you see someone approaching. What do you do next?
When you're thrust into a new environment, it's a bit of a challenge to try and shake off your shy girl instincts and meet new friends. Often, we become so attached to our own barkada that we don't try to meet new people since we already have our own set of friends. If you're one of those people who need a bit more help in expanding her circle, here is a step-by-step guide that can help you in painlessly overcoming your fears.
Step 1: Get the "It's going to be awkward" thought out of your mind.
Most of the time, the thought of being awkward is the only thing that's stopping us. You've got to get the word "awkward" out of your head. The only reason why you become awkward is because you think you're being awkward. Most of things that we're afraid of are usually just in our heads. Take tiny steps and breathe in and out. If you get through the first step, then the other steps will just be a breeze.
Step 2: Approach someone or look approachable.
It's hard to make new friends if you don't look like you're ready to make new friends. Don't be too tense or stuck to a wall, walk around a bit. Try smiling and greeting some people you don't know. The only way you're going to make new friends is if you make yourself look approachable. The easiest way to meet someone new is to walk up to someone and say, "Hi!"
Step 3: Smile.
Trust me, smiling can make you look confident even when you don't feel like it. When you smile, it's already saying that you're someone fun to be with, that you're ready for an adventure. It also makes you seem nicer and more open to other people. Instead of staying in one spot and staring at the floor, ceiling, or other people, look around, make eye contact with people, and show them your radiant teeth, ready to conquer the world. Be positive!
Step 4: Introduce yourself and remember the other person's name.
When meeting new people, it's a must to remember the other person's name since it makes them feel you're interested in them and would make them want to continue chatting with you. One tip to remember the other person's name is to repeat it in your head and say it at least three times in the conversation so that it really sticks or think of a word that rhymes with the other person's name to make it easier to remember.
Step 5: Prepare general topics in your mind.
It would be handy to have a list of available topics or ice breakers so you guys won't end up in the "hi-hello" awk-weird situation. These topics could be as broad and as general as they could be, you could comment on what you love about the other person's outfit or about the event you're currently in, you could talk about sports, music, movies, or books that you've recently read. These are like your appetizers in a meal to get you started with the conversation.
Step 6: Be a good listener.
Don't worry about what to say next, instead, listen to what the other person is saying. Most conversations end up in awkward silences because you're too focused on thinking of what to say next rather than listening to what the other person shared. Listen to what the other person has to say first and then maybe you'll be able to pick up some topics that she mentioned and ask about that. You could branch out topics from there.
Step 7: Share your own stories.
Of course a conversation isn't enough if you just keep listening, you also have to share stories of your own to keep the flow going. A conversation isn't made up of just one person, otherwise they'd call it a monologue. It's two people sharing a little bits and pieces of their lives with one another take. The other person would sure want to hear about your own reality too, it becomes interesting when both of you are learning new things from each other.
Step 8: Ask questions.
Asking shows you're interested. You get to know more about your new friend if you ask different questions in different topics. Who knows, maybe you guys have the same taste in music or like eating the same weird sandwich-and-jam combination. These things could add up to your getting to know each other and maybe you've just found one of your new best friends.
Step 9: Have a funny story or joke in hand.
When there's an awkward silence in between the conversation, take out this weapon and transform this silence into laughter. It just needs one match to start a bonfire, that story could be the fuel to your friendship in the future!
Step 10: Be yourself.
'Just be you' is probably the most used up advice you would hear but it is never really followed. You wouldn't want people to like you for an image you put up just like how you don't want to befriend someone and then find out at the end that everything that they said in the end was a lie, right? The only time we bloom is when we are truly ourselves and when we are truly ourselves, people will just naturally be attracted to who you really are as a person. Learn to love and be proud of who you are, then talking and mingling with people won't be as frightening as it seems. Friendship must be based on honesty, be yourself. Your new friend will definitely appreciate that.
If you're still a bit scared in trying this out, remember that your BFFs right now were once unfamiliar faces in the crowd so don't be afraid to be go out of your comfort zone and meet some new pals; it's an opportunity that you shouldn't miss out on.