Dear Brenda,

Thanks for you advice this semester. It's been really helpful for me as I navigate my freshmen year of college. However, I'm still struggling to adapt to college. I'm a very introverted person and I just don't feel like college is for me sometimes. It's really hard for me to make new friends and my roommate is super outgoing and has a ton of friends. I feel like I'm always in my room and it's difficult for me to talk to people in my classes. I'm outgoing when you get to know me, but I'm really struggling to put myself out there. Do you have any suggestions on how to be more outgoing?

Thanks Brenda,

-Introverted and Isolated

Hi Introverted and Isolated,

Thanks for reaching out! I'm glad to hear my advice has been helping you this semester. The first thing I want to ask, do you get anxious at the idea of social situations? If so, you may have social anxiety rather than being introverted. There is a difference and that will affect how you manage it! I suggest you look more into this just to make sure. Let's assume you are introverted for this though! 

For anyone reading this, you may not know what introversion is or what being an introvert means. Quite simply, being an introvert means you gain energy by going inwards and energy is spent by engaging in outward social situations. You can't stop being an introvert, and if you do, it might be very painful and exhausting. You can, however, embrace and find balance between a restoring and spending your energy.

To start, I think one of the best things you can do is find people who are also introverts! It may sound strange to put two quieter people together, but I've found that you may be able to understand one another's social and emotional needs. Having other friends who are also introverts means you may understand that large social settings aren't always your preferred place and quality time as friends can be spent in other places. This is not to say you can't have extroverted friends! Having some louder and more extroverted may help draw you out of your head and into the social world. Find a balance in your friends so you can hang out with people based on mood or energy level that day. 

To further that point, you may be wondering how to find those friends. I think the best way to start is to figure out your interests and move from there. I may sound like a broken record at this point, but even finding just one student organization can connect you with people you have a lot in common with and open you up. Check out CU Involved and click the organization tab. A few examples include Anime Club, a Hip Hop Club, League of Legends Club and more! Just figure out what you love and move from there. It will be a lot easier to socialize with people with whom you have commonalities. 

I know it can be hard, but the simplest advice I can give is to be brave and push yourself into new situations. Always be yourself, but don't be afraid. Your introversion is what makes you special, but social support is so important, especially in college. Find a balance of alone time and social time, and you will thrive!

Keep Flying,

Brenda Bluejay

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