How To Deal With Being Shy In Uni: Best Tips For Your First Freshers Impression
Are you a shy person who’s naturally introverted? Not to worry! You can still have a great fresher’s week and maintain friendships at university even if you find socialising more difficult than most.
We’ve compiled a list of 8 tips for how to deal with being shy as a student and how to go prepare to meet new people.
1. People Are Worrying As Much As You
We know it can be scary meeting new people and fearing they won’t like you or you’ll embarrass yourself, but just remember everyone is in the same boat, and no matter how confident people may seem, chances are they’re feeling slightly scared too!
Truth be told, people don’t think about you as much as you think they do, they’re probably too busy worrying about what you think about them!
This is called the spotlight effect and is where people tend to overestimate how much others notice about you.
So, if you do have tons of anxiety about saying the wrong things, coming across as awkward, not making eye contact or looking stupid, try not to focus on it – take control of your own anxiety and remember its your inner critic.
2. Attend Events During Freshers Week
Freshers’ week can be daunting as you’re surrounded by tons of students from all over the place.
Try not to avoid social situations too much during this period, we know that sometimes you’ll just want to hide away but push yourself out of your comfort zone as you don’t want to feel isolated.
Talk to lots of people whether it’s going to student events, freshers’ fairs or talking with people on your course. There tends to be icebreakers and activities to get to know people making things a little less awkward than approaching people to start a conversation.
Going to a social event or activity in your student accommodation, can be a great way to make friends like going to a film night or just sitting in the communal spaces and sparking up a chat.
After all, this place is your home so if you do feel a little on edge during a social interaction, you can just go back up to your room and chill in your safe space – there’s nothing wrong with that!
Remember though, it is fine to take some time to yourself and recharge your social battery. Freshers can be overwhelming so if you want an evening watching Netflix in your room then absolutely do it, you don’t want to drain yourself!
You have the rest of your university years to make friends, you won’t meet everyone there is to meet during the first few weeks.
3. You’ll Meet People On Your Wavelength
Studies have found that introverts make up one-third to one-half of the population, so you’ll find people who are on the same wavelength as you whilst at uni.
You just need to remember that everyone likes doing different things, so if you don’t enjoy going out clubbing and being surrounded by loads of people, then that’s okay.
You’ll meet other people who prefer quieter environments and prefer being with a smaller group of people too.
However, it can be good to make friends with people who are different to you and even if you don’t like the same things, you can still get on like a house on fire!
4. Join Groups & Societies
If you want to meet people with similar hobbies or personalities to you, search for online groups on Facebook or join societies where you share common interests.
Whether it’s a music society or film society, each uni is different and we’re sure you’ll find some common ground and make some good friends.
Sign up and show up for the meetings, they can be super fun and chances are, they’ll be a group chat so it can be easier to get to know people online!
Shyness really depends on the situation; you’ll probably feel a lot more relaxed around people who like similar things as you as its easier to talk about, than those topics you have no idea about.
5. Broaden Your Horizon
If you’re a shy person who does enjoy going out and talking to new people but finds it hard and uncomfortable at times, you’ll meet people who will bring you out of your shell whilst at uni.
So, try not to run away from the idea of being friends with more outgoing people – widen your circle!
A good place to start with making friends is with your flatmates, but you should also try to make friends with other people within your student accommodation, on your course and on campus whether it’s in the student’s union or the library.
It can be easier to meet new people when you have someone with, so try to stick by your flatmates when you’re going out and about during freshers.
Particularly on nights out as you can put yourself in vulnerable situations going out alone.
When you surround yourself with more confident people, you’ll feel less pressure and it will probably offer you reassurance to conversate.
After all, once the talking gets going, you’ll feel okay and will have some new friends!
6. Embrace Your Fears
Don’t be scared of admitting if you’re shy or nervous, whether it’s letting your flatmates know or letting your lecturers know why you might not be talkative during discussions.
Letting people know will make them aware of things that might ‘trigger’ you to be anxious in social situations, and it will also help reassure you that you’re not being judged.
You never know, the people you tell might just turn around with a relevant experience and be thankful you’ve spoke up because they’ve been feeling a similar way!
This way you can be each-others support in social settings and it will probably bring you closer to them.
7. Be Authentic
Being shy might make you want to “fake it ’til you make it” when socialising with new people, but don’t try to be someone you’re not.
Whether it’s telling white lies about your interests or putting on a front, try to simply be yourself instead. Letting your personality shine means that the right people will like you for you!
You don’t want to tell people you love a certain TV show and then it turns out you’ve never even seen it; the truth may come out and make things awkward.
The same goes for alcohol, yes it can make you feel more confident giving you ‘Dutch courage’ but if you find yourself only able to socialise when you’re drunk, you might end up taking it too far and waking up with a complete dread of anxiety afterwards.
You don’t want to give the wrong impression to people and it isn’t the key to overcoming shyness.
There’s nothing wrong with having a few drinks to take the edge off if you want to, but don’t force yourself to drink a lot and go overboard just because you’re feeling nervous.
Instead, take a deep breath and give yourself a pep talk to up your self confidence – you go!
8. Be Kind To Yourself
Whatever happens, be kind to yourself and enjoy fresher’s week and the first couple of weeks at uni, however you want to!
If you’re keen to meet new people and want to push yourself to experience new things then great. If you’re quite happy with meeting some people and spending time alone then that’s also great. Not everyone is the same and it’s not a big deal.
Just take it a day at a time and remember to not be so hard on yourself if you haven’t found your bestie or a good group of friends straight away, friendships take time to form.
Your voice may be quieter than others, but you still have a lot to say, and you will!
Student life encourages you to push yourself both academically and socially, but it’s okay have feelings of shyness.
It doesn’t mean you can’t make friends, trust us, meeting new people at uni gets easier with time, practice, and a bit of self-love!
If you feel like you’ll have too much going on in fresher’s week, then take it at your own pace and give yourself a few weeks to get into the gist of things before focusing on making friends.
We wish you all the best with meeting new people and we hope we’ve helped you out with some tips on how to deal with being shy at university. Good luck!
If you’re suffering with your mental health, from a social anxiety disorder or extreme shyness, then speak to your GP about professional help. You can find out more about the symptoms of anxiety here.
If you’res student who suffers with depression then we have a helpful article for you here.