Ahh, good old social anxiety!
Not the most pleasant of issues, yet easily solvable should you know how to actually treat it.
Well, I tend to think that Social Anxiety in College Students is actually worse.
The fact is, once you become a freshman in college you will notice a vastly different demographic of people, not in terms of actual age, but rather in terms of interests and mindsets.
All of those “survival techniques” you used will have to be re-tested, to make sure that they actually work among these new people.
Nothing is familiar to you anymore, and as such you will end up looking for the even ground and sticking to it, such an approach will decline your overall growth as a person.
I myself have never been a college student, as of my time writing this article anyway, but I did take multiple courses and lessons there.
Enough of them to know that there was something different in the air about college.
It wasn’t until a friend of mine approached me that I took any actual interest.
“The people there are weird!” he said, “I can’t connect to them at all!”
I raised an eyebrow, thinking he was being a bit extreme.
“What are you talking about? You’re the same age as them!”
“But they are just so weird!”
I didn’t realize what he was talking about, so I took interest and acted based on it.
When I had some tests to take back where I was studying I decided to eavesdrop on some guys. After all, I myself had social anxiety at the time.
And when I did I suddenly realized what he was on about.
This was the actual difference between a young adult and a teenager, a certain shift in hormones and interests makes just enough of a change for college students become less approachable in the eyes of the average social-anxiety-stricken person.
There’s more than that, though, the change in behavior among young adults when compared to their teenage counterparts only throws those with social anxiety out of the loop.
Luckily for you, I researched the topic in depth and got you just the thing you need – some actual advice.
So without further ado, here are 3 tips for college students with social anxiety.
1) Be alone and strive.
You may think that this one actually beats the whole point of dealing with social anxiety, and it does sound counter-intuitive, but bear with me.
I am not talking about you being a loner, but rather you being a loner and making the best of it.
People expect from each other some level of communication, they are quick to form together into groups and act from that point on.
The thing is that college students rarely are seen together in large groups, not all of them are friends, far from it. This actually differs greatly from high school since people who aren’t your friends won’t really bother with you.
Those who will are the exception.
What do I mean? Well, think of it this way – when you find something that is interesting to you-you tend to review it personally, right?
Some odd title to an article that makes you want to read it, an intriguing question that makes you think about it and so on.
Well, what about a person you might want to talk to? Well, not you, you have social anxiety, but someone else might talk to them.
Once upon a time I didn’t have any friends at work, so I ended up eating lunch at the cafeteria alone.
After about a week some guy just came to me and said: “come sit with us.”
I noticed how he didn’t ask me to sit with them, or would he like me to, but he just gave me an order.
This wasn’t done out of pity either, we both worked in the same department yet exchanged very little actual text. He knew “of” me, and among all of the people in my department he alone called out to me.
All of us have a certain sense of compassion, yet none of the other guys wanted me at their table. He wasn’t a particularly compassionate person, so I figured that something about me must’ve interested him.
I was right, too.
The fact is if you sit by yourself someone will call you over, that someone is likely to be more compassionate and understanding of your situation.
Normally when people like those come along you tend to blow them off, right? Well, don’t!
Look at these people as opportunities to improve, they will be nice to you because they are the ones who called you over and this nuance will help you grow out of your shell.
2) Break the ice and take the lead.
Normally conversations start out with at least someone not knowing what he will be talking about next.
You are afraid of your lack of control, your inability to predict wha
t’s going to happen.
You fear the worst.
But what if you don’t let other people the opportunity to point at you and laugh? What if you do something extra in each and every conversation and build your confidence from that point on?
Just being nice is a way to strike small talk with other people, a trade of polite words and nothing more.
No, you need something extra for yourself. That something extra is your ability to strike genuine interest in a conversation.
For you to do that I am about to suggest something very dorky, but I can almost guarantee that it will get you great results.
Tell a funny story, master a card trick, do something cool. Anything goes as long as you can build up a conversation from it, a conversation that you will lead by making yourself the object of interest.
Let’s say I learned a card trick, I show it to someone, they think it was super cool, they ask about it and from that point on the rest is history.
After breaking the ice and building momentum you will find that the most difficult part is behind you. The other person will become interested and will continue the rest of the conversation easily.
This ability to form a positive encounter and very quickly turn it into a memorable one will allow you to create a unique image that will further help you break out of your shell and connect with the rest of your peers.
3) Focus on what’s important.
You are going to live and breathe with these people for the next few years, as well as attend classes and prepare for exams.
Quite frankly, your ability to be social is just as important as your actual grades.
Be someone that’s easy to talk to and people will talk to you, friendships are a simple thing yet not necessarily an easy one.
Drop your bad habits, learn how to present yourself and dedicate yourself to your studies and potential friends.
Block out any fears that you might have by focusing on your goals. In college, people won’t make the time of the day for you if you can’t afford to be bothered with them.
Because of that, getting away from people has never been easier, just don’t talk to them and they won’t be bothered with you either.
This is actually all the more reason for you to not distance yourself from other people – it becomes too easy when you are in college.
Having lunch with your roommates, maybe just talking about random things, you all live very similar lives, and as such you are bound to find some level of common ground.
The bonds you create in college will serve you for the rest of your life, both in term
s of practical networking and genuine friendships.
That’s something worth considering, and it’s certainly something that you should get out of your comfort zone for.
Final thoughts and conclusions.
Even without social anxiety, college is still a difficult thing to go through.
The stress is a killer, the alcohol might never end and weed becomes a legitimate thing to smoke. That is if it hasn’t been already.
All of these things are mere distractions in the grand scheme of things. They might be nice, but they don’t really serve and purpose.
In college you should work hard, get good grades, meet and befriend new people and have fun.
College offers valuable memories that you will take with you for years to come, it would be a shame for you to discard all of these just because conversation makes you uncomfortable.
Quite frankly, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to grow and become the best person you could ever be.
So while you go on to make some friends, here’s a quick question for you – what are some interesting things you can tell or do?
I would love to hear your answer, so make sure to drop it in the comment section below – I read through every single one of them.
In case you have something personal you would like to ask me make sure to send me an email and I will get in touch as soon as possible.