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How to Make Friends In College If You Are Shy

by Harley Miller

Now that prom season is coming to a close and summer is ushering its way in, it won’t be long before it’s time to pack up those vehicles and head off to college.

The experience of going away for school is like none other and comes highly recommended if it’s something you and your family can afford. When you’re on campus—whether you’re shy or not—there is something for everybody. Believe it or not, even if you find yourself lost and without anywhere to go, you can create a space for yourself and other like-minded individuals.


While attending Utica College during her freshman year, our Editor-in-Chief started a new organization on campus: W.I.N.D. (Women in a New Direction). The organization was created to bring women together for philanthropic endeavors, events, and assistance with coursework. The group, founded in 2007, is still going strong today!


With that said, you want to start here:

JOIN NICHE CLUBS OR INTEREST GROUPS –

Joining clubs or groups centered around specific interests (like board games, book clubs, or niche hobbies) can be a great way to meet like-minded people in smaller, more intimate settings, making it easier for shy individuals to open up. Check your college’s student organization listings and find a club that matches your interests. Attend a few meetings to see if it’s a good fit and gradually get involved.


If nothing is available, you can take the route Lisa did and simply start your own group. Hang flyers around campus inviting other people to attend your first meeting. I know this can feel overwhelming at first, but be sure to outline the group's interests to ensure that the people who attend the meeting are there because they, too, want to get involved with what the organization has to offer. This will make icebreakers easier and conversations flow smoothly.


VOLUNTEER FOR CAMPUS EVENTS –

Volunteering can provide a sense of purpose and a structured environment where interactions are more focused on tasks rather than socializing, which can be less intimidating. Look for volunteer opportunities through your college’s student affairs office, campus bulletin boards, or online platforms. Sign up for events that interest you and interact with fellow volunteers while working together.


ATTEND WORKSHOPS –

These events are designed for learning and discussion, creating a natural setting for interaction. Engaging in conversations about the topic can make initiating a dialogue easier and more organic. Keep an eye on your college’s event calendar for workshops and seminars that pique your interest. Attend regularly and participate in group discussions or activities.

Related articles: How to Move Out on Your Own


USE CAMPUS SOCIAL MEDIA GROUPS –

Engaging online can be less intimidating for shy individuals. Social media groups can help you connect with others before meeting them in person, making the first face-to-face interaction less stressful. Join your college’s official or unofficial social media groups on platforms like Facebook, Reddit, and maybe Discord. Participate in discussions, comment on posts, and gradually build connections that can transition to in-person friendships.


JOINING THE TRIBE –

Our Tribe Community brings women together from a plethora of different campuses all over the world who share a common lifestyle interest: singledom. Single isn’t scary; it’s power. You can connect with other like-minded women, whether it’s here on our website or in the print publication, where you can share a letter to any single gal in the world and wait for a response to be printed in the next issue. It’s so fun—you can find more information on this in the ‘Single Gal, Pen Pal’ forum.


JOINING A FRATERNITY OR SORORITY –

One of the primary advantages is the sense of community and belonging that comes with being part of a fraternity or sorority. These organizations often emphasize brotherhood or sisterhood, fostering close-knit relationships that can last a lifetime. Members frequently benefit from a strong support network, both socially and academically.


Many Greek organizations provide academic resources such as study groups, tutoring, and scholarships, which can enhance a student’s academic performance. However, unlike a regular organization, joining a fraternity or sorority comes with a significant financial cost. Membership dues, event fees, and additional expenses related to Greek life can be substantial and may not be feasible for all students. Moreover, the time commitment required for active participation in a fraternity or sorority can be considerable. The culture itself can sometimes not align with everyone’s values and priorities, such as excessive partying or conformity to group norms.


Lastly, hazing remains a serious issue in some Greek organizations, despite being officially prohibited by most colleges and national Greek councils. Hazing can lead to physical and emotional harm and has been a source of numerous controversies and negative publicity for Greek life. While joining these groups can lead to significant social, academic, and professional benefits, it also comes with financial costs and potential social pressures. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons, and if you decide on joining our tribe, we can’t wait to meet you!

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