So, you’re sitting at the lunch table. Tuna sandwich in your hands, salad in the Tupperware, you even remembered to bring some apple juice. But you can’t enjoy it. After you finish your lunch, you have to sit awkwardly alone for the remaining 40 minutes. Maybe your school is like Mean Girls. The rich kids here, the jocks over there, etcetera, etcetera.
However different the groups are, it’s human nature to be a part of one. Greek philosopher Plato believed healthy groups are essential for human happiness. Even though times have changed in the form of communication, face-to-face interaction remains important.
Which is why this article will try to convince shy students to come out of their shells through a myriad of methods. Get out a pen and paper and let’s begin.
#1: Drama Class
Being a thespian is not a requirement to pass drama with a good grade. Drama class usually has a wide variety of personalities in its students. Speaking from experience, there will be the energetic/quirky drama kids, the comedic style performers, and the silent ones who keep to themselves. This method of socializing works 100% of the time, as group work and cohesion is necessary for assignments. Days of rehearsal and conversations with the same people will bridge bonds between similar and different people. Forced mingling might seem daunting at first, but eventually, the anxiety will fade.
#2: Ask for help
This is recommended for classes that seem more difficult than others. The end result will provide better grades, as well as stronger social skills. Asking for assistance in something will make you seem approachable, humble, and engaging. The student that’s helping may even feel flattered that they were chosen. Build off of it. Realize you made someone feel positive about not only themselves but for the person who went up to them. Friendship is not a given, but communicating with various people will make it easier to build a circle of friends.
#3: Joining a Club
High school clubs are sorta like a certain internet rule. If it exists, there’s a club for it. The beauty of clubs is that you don’t have to change your interests or personality at all. Actually, it’s supposed to express them. Meeting like-minded people allows for a society of comradery. Members of the club know that they’re not alone, and that is so comforting. Depending on what the club is about, it can be used for support, enjoyment, charity, academics, etc. Every day in the club is virtually guaranteed to be positive, and will provide ample opportunity to talk with people holding the same interests.
#4: Fake it ‘Till you Make it
This last method is a bit oxymoronic. It requires shy students to fake being confident, which actually takes buckets of confidence to pull off. Sometimes there’s a crush that can’t be ignored, or a group of like-minded individuals who could be a perfect fit. The best way to simply talk to anyone about anything is to just do it. Focus the mind on anything else: movies, art, what have you. Just don’t think about what you’re doing in too much detail, or it can make you extremely nervous. Society loves confident people. They’re our teachers, our bosses, our leaders. The men and women we aspire to be. Trying this in any step of life will yield eventual results, putting you in a respectable position of social hierarchy.
Not only does volunteering help with social skills, it also looks good on a resume and university application. It’s best to volunteer for what you have a passion for. Churches, homeless shelters, daycare, anything helps. Scholarships are actively given out based on good grades and above average hours of volunteering, another reason to partake in as many opportunities as possible. The positive atmosphere encourages interactions with co-workers, so don’t be nervous. Feel free to be as open and friendly as see fit. Because at the end of the day, everyone involved is aiming to do the same charitable act of improving their community.
Coming from a former shy guy, all of these methods have improved my social life in one way or another. It made me humanize strangers in a way. Hopefully you find the same success. This article is not meant to make someone popular; but to make someone content with a busier social life. It only takes a little bit of guts. Get out there and socialize.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.