Summer is here, the season for festivals, holidays, hanging out with friends and summer work. With this brings opportunities to meet new people, which is great if you’re confident and more outgoing, but can be quite challenging if you’re not. We’d like to welcome our first guest blogger to QuietSphere, Nikki Elkin. Having overcome social anxiety herself, she shares her advice for becoming more confident talking to new people. In doing so, it will make your university journey much more enjoyable and you can start putting her tips into practice now! Thanks, Nikki! ☺
Confidence and positivity is so important when thinking about going back to university OR starting university. You may have been one of the most confident people in school/at work or you might have been as quiet as a mouse, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the present and how personal development is so important for your success and happiness at university.
During my first year at university, I suffered with social anxiety and found talking to people one of the most daunting and scary tasks. A little voice in my head would be screaming out telling me to shut up and that no one has any interest in what I have to say. Therefore, I found myself just sitting in a quiet corner in the lecture hall or seminar room to avoid the dreaded fear I had of pretty much any form of conversation.
I overcame it by my second year and that’s because I found myself a lot more settled, I knew who I was and I set myself small goals each day to overcome my fears. One of the most daunting tasks I set myself (it may not seem that daunting if you’re the most confident of people) was to sit by a total stranger and start up a conversation. I did this and the guy was friendly in return. We got along really well and he became someone who I would sit by regularly in the upcoming lectures.
This experience gave me so much confidence that I felt like I could talk to anyone and gradually I made friends with the girls on my course who I hadn’t said a word to all of the first year. My social life improved dramatically.
Now I don’t know about you but when I see someone who is really confident and seemingly comfortable in their own skin, I am usually envious of them because I really wish I was more like this. I consider myself quite socially awkward and I’m terrible in big groups of people. I have a few close friends, but would never consider myself popular as I feel as if there is only a small number of people I can be my true self with.
You might be thinking as a socially awkward person I’m the worst person in the world to be offering you advice, but I’m not because I can understand you and I can tell you that things do get easier over time.
Practice makes perfect
It may sound cliché but practice really does make perfect. Remember that you don’t have to be best friends with everyone but the more you make effort to have conversations with other students, the more it will just become second nature to you. You’ll become much more confident and comfortable with yourself.
It’s such a great feeling when you meet someone you truly connect with, have similar interests or the same sense of humour. There’s nothing quite like forming this kind of bond with someone and forming infinite friendships is of course very rewarding and will make your experience at university more enjoyable.
You have to remember that the more you make an effort with someone the more likely they are to make an effort with you, so just making that first step can go a long way. Like anything, the more you practice making conversation with people, the better you will become at it and you’ll gradually feel more and more at ease when talking to new people.
Learning to deal with occasional rejection and unpleasant encounters
Dealing with rejection can be a draining and difficult process. In my personal life, I have dealt with a lot of rejection whether that is with personal friendships or relationships with others. It does hurt, but sometimes you just have to accept it and move on, and remember that everything happens for a reason. I’m a strong believer that with the people you meet in your life, you were meant to meet them at a certain point for a reason and there is a reason they’re not in your life anymore. In other words rejection can be healthy and it helps you to learn.
Even though rejection is always possible in social situations, it is always important to be yourself. Dare to be yourself, however awkward, odd or different that self may prove to be to someone else. It’s important not to lose yourself by pretending to be someone you’re not; we can learn from almost every experience and grow from each one.
When someone abandons or rejects or judges you, it isn’t actually about you it’s about them and their own needs, insecurities and limitations, therefore you don’t have to internalize any of it. I understand that this is easier said than done, but it is important to remember that and stay positive when going forward in forming new friendships.
Eckhart Tolle came up with a brilliant quote ‘’Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist persists’’ which I feel really helps when dealing with difficult people in unpleasant encounters. We become stronger by ‘fighting’ ie. simply getting through uncomfortable situations builds up our mental strength.
Thanks for reading. ☺ Good luck!
Hi my name’s Nikki and I used to be a student at UWE Bristol. In my spare time I enjoy; attending music festivals, listening to music, cooking, yoga, meditation and blog writing. I have been blogging for a couple of years now and I hope my writing encourages people to take positive steps in life to reach their personal goals.