I’m always happy to meet new people, but at the end of the day, I need time by myself. I was a shy kid, and every time I walk up to meet someone, it’s the result of several minutes’ debate in my head. When I take the step, it’s because there’s something more important than being shy. I reach out when I realize that there’s someone out there who could use a friend. I’d describe myself as a “friendly introvert,” and I like it that way. I’ve learned from being a shy outsider that it’s always worth it to accept and offer friendship.
When I was a sophomore in college, I signed up for a Ballroom Dance class. I did it because it sounded like fun, though I only knew one other person in the class –and I’d met him four days before. When I showed up, I felt awkward, but my acquaintance introduced me to several others. After the class, the group decided to go to a local diner. Since I was shy, I was about to make up some excuse so I didn’t have to go. But these people were really friendly. My desire for friends overcame my shyness and I went with them and had a good time. We laughed over huge, messy ice cream sundaes at a big, messy table. During the next semesters, we had fun in dance class, went to the diner, and played karaoke in each others’ rooms when it snowed. We’re not all taking dance anymore, but we still get together to have fun at the diner. It wasn’t hard at all to make these friendships.
This year, I set a goal to meet one new person in each of my classes. This helps me feel more comfortable with sharing my ideas, and having a friend gives me something to look forward to class each day. To make a friend, I had to get over my hesitancy to start conversation. I found that it isn’t as hard as I once thought it was. It’s all a matter of finding common ground. In school, complaining about the class is always a winning topic. In one class, I said to the person next to me, “the next quiz is going to be tough.” I found out her name is Liz. Soon enough, we were talking about our lengthy homework and hard quizzes. When I started a study group for the class, Liz was the first girl I invited. Our study group has been a great opportunity to talk about our work, but also to get to know each other better. I hope to continue talking to Liz, even if we don’t have classes together.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much to make a new friend. Sometimes, you can be introduced to someone new, and sometimes you have to introduce yourself. I believe that everyone can use another friend.
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