Tis the season for meeting new people. The start of a new semester/school year = prime time to expand the social circle. If you’re a freshman or starting a study abroad program, this rule applies so much more. No one knows each other yet, and everyone is looking for friends – or at least someone to sit with at lunch. It’s like starting high school all over again. Sigh. To help you (and me) out, here are some tips and tricks for successfully meeting new people in college:
Have stock questions memorized
What’s your name? Where are you from? What are you studying? What dorm are you in? Those are the standards. I’ve noticed that sometimes people get through those basic questions and then get stuck because they’ve gone through the whole script already. So have one or two extra backups! How about: What are you looking forward to this semester? or What are you going to miss about home? or Why’d you choose that major?
Have your own self introduction memorized
Whenever people ask we where I’m from I always have to decide how I’m going to approach the question – Do I say I’m from France? or maybe California? Or do I give the long explanation of my different moves? Whatever I do, it tends to go more smoothly if I have an idea beforehand of what I’m going to say.
Use people’s names
Everyone feels more connected to people who use their name. Think about the people that use your name when you talk with them. It really makes an impression. Another plus, saying someone’s name out loud after you’ve just been introduced is a good way to learn their name and not have that awkward – “I feel like I should know your name, and I think it’s Brian, but I don’t want to say it just in case your name is actually Blake” – kind of situation down the road.
Look for points of connection
Are you studying the same thing? From the same place? Taking a similar class? Living in the same building? … Do you have the same backpack? … Do you both wear glasses? … Anyway. You get the idea.
We all want to meet new people, hopefully make a friend – or a least an acquaintance to say hi to on your way to class. Everyone is doing the same thing as you. We know where you’re coming from.
What little techniques help you when you meet people for the first time?