Being a freshman, talking to people can be difficult at first but making the conversation flow is an art that can be learned to improve your communication skills. It’s not as easy as it may sound right now and talking to strangers with the risk of embarrassing yourself is definitely a scary thought. To avoid such exposures, we tend to hide during the first few weeks in college. We are constantly on phone talking to family or friends, we eat alone in our rooms and prefer the empty chair opposed to sitting with a bunch of students. It’s natural and happens to each one of us.
The best part about social skills is that we don’t have to force ourselves into it. Just a small step will do and the rest becomes second nature. It’s important to not to isolate yourself as college is about building relations, making connections, working up the ladder of social status and getting to know others. Education is a vital part but what’s more important is catching a glimpse of the real world every now and then through experiencing communal activities.
Here’s how you can surpass the terror of meeting new people and jump into the social roller-coaster:
Begin with a Smile and a Greeting
It’s very easy to pass people and pretend you are busy but that won’t work for long. If you are standing/sitting next to someone or someone approaches you (or vice-versa), greet them with a smile and ask them how they are. It’s the most basic tip and it actually works. “Hey, how’s it going?” or “Hi, how are you?” can get the conversation started. Also, be sure to say goodbye when you are leaving. It’s a polite way to let them know that the conversation has come to an end.
Yes, Talk about the Weather
It may sound cliche but commenting on the current temperature or surroundings will help you understand a lot about them. Everyone has an opinion on the topic and it can break that awkward barrier.
Ask Why They are There
Yes, it’s very obvious that they are here for a course or job maybe if they are in the college premises but it’ll give you a perspective to talk. Ask about their course/job and tell them yours. It’s the most common way to initiate small talk.
Be Confident and Don’t Make the Person Uncomfortable
If you’re acting shy then the person won’t continue the conversation for long and same goes if you’re too dramatic. Be poised but also confident, speak what you believe and don’t lie to impress. Feel the vibe and if the conversation is feeling uncomfortable, feel free to change the subject.
A compliment doesn’t always mean “oh, I love that watch you’re wearing” or “Hey, your perfume is amazing btw!”. Don’t just say it for the sake of it or give expressions falsely. Compliment means genuine positive feedback, so only say it if you really mean it.
Break Some Bread With Them
There’s always a good chance that the person you just met might be hungry or just wants to grab something to eat. Trust me, in college everyone is hungry 24/7. Ask them if they want to join you for a bite or ask/give suggestions about food places as you both might have been exploring places to eat on the campus.
Just put an effort. In other words, try, try and try again.
It is very much possible that the first few people you talk to won’t become your best friends forever. Talk to a couple of people and there will be few who will stick around and become your friends. If the first conversation doesn’t go well, don’t hide away and stop mingling. Try again.