If you're reading this article hoping for a step by step guide as to how you can find those meaningful, lifelong friendships often prescribed to the University experience, you’re in the wrong place. Those kind of friendships require diligence, including but not limited to: repeated exposure in and outside of classroom, consistent text messaging back and forth, and strolls along Wreck Beach – although, you’ll find you bond more on the climb up the stairs. This article is simply an introvert’s guide to how to meet people at a new and exciting university. This may seem like a shallow goal, but putting yourself out there to meet and greet the people skirting around you in Main Mall or ahead of you in line at Blue Chip can help make you feel more comfortable on campus, confident in yourself and just might lead to a friendship or two.
Talking the talk
If you want to meet people, you're going to have to open your mouth and form words. Sure, screaming on University Blvd might entice some concerned passers-by, but even then, they'll probably stay just long enough to determine if you are okay before speed walking away. If you see someone that seems approachable (e.g. someone not glaring at you, crying or in a particular rush), and you happen to make eye contact, introduce yourself. Something as simple as asking someone how their day is may be the spark to fuel the flame of conversation! Keep in mind that no UBC student will ever turn down the opportunity to discuss their thoughts on construction, strategies to cope with the West Coast rain or the outrageous costs of food and housing.
Delicately insert yourself into social situations.
Meeting people will require you to venture outside the domains of your room. But even once you’ve made it that far, it can be tough to know where to go and what to do to meet people on campus. The size of UBC is intimidating, but that means there’s always something to do. UBC Twitter and other social media will keep you up to date on campus events, many of which you can partake in for free! As a member of one of the 370 clubs UBC, you can meet people that share your interests. Finally, a strategy I’ve used to meet people these past few weeks, though not necessarily by choice, is to get lost on campus and find someone who looks just as lost, confused and alone as I do.
Emerging from your chrysalis as a social butterfly
Often, the thing that really holds us introverts back from meeting new people is the fear of doing just that. But fear not! What’s the worst thing that could happen? My approach to meeting people embraces the YOLO philosophy, which in part considers the sheer size of this school, meaning I could talk to anyone and rest assured I’ll probably never cross paths with them again and it also considers with rational thought that I really do only live once.
Hopefully some of these tips have given you food for thought on what to do on campus to meet people, how to relinquish your fears of engaging with other humans and what to chat about when you encounter a friendly face. Best of luck!