It’s time to break free of social fears and meet new people.
College is a time of academic pursuits, certainly, but it is also a crucial time to network and grow socially. To those who are uncertain of when and where would be the right time to approach people and strike up a conversation, there are certain do’s and don’ts.
Don’t: Approach if they look like they’re having a bad day. Some people like being cheered up but probably not by a stranger talking to them.
Do: Approach if they look approachable, such as if they catch the eye or smile.
“When it comes to friendship, I think that the right time has to begin organically,” said Brent Yergensen, department chair of communication.
He said there are particular times and places when it is acceptable to talk to others, such as classmates sitting next to one another.
Don’t: Chat to someone who is obviously studying in a library or other quiet place.
“The wrong time to start a friendship is to corner them or make someone feel obligated,” said Yergensen.
Do: When at a dance, coffee shop or other public venue, why not try and meet someone new?
“You really wager nothing,” said Marcus Valdez, a freshman communication major from Centerville. “If they ignore you, you lost nothing. You lost someone you didn’t know—who cares? But if something positive happens, you gain something.”
Don’t: Talk in more personal situations.
“The gym shower, that’s a wrong time to invite someone to be a friend,” said Wendy Worthington, a senior communication major from Ivins.
Do: Be friendly and network at social or athletic events.
“I’ve met a lot of friends playing soccer,” said Mason Brown, a sophomore business major from Park City. “After the game I’ll compliment them or they’ll compliment me.”
Brown’s example is about seeking out friends with common interests.
“Don’t choose your friends on what you observe,” Yergensen said. “Choose your friends on what your experiences are.”
Don’t: Ask uncomfortable questions or tell too much to first-time acquaintances.
Do: Start opening up to others while in college. It only gets harder as life goes on.
“I think that for the most part, people like to be approached to get to know people,” said Jordon Sharp, director of student involvement and leadership. “A lot of time they are afraid to be the first to do that.”
The wrong way would be to ask people information that they would not give out initially or divulge personal information too soon. But this should not deter anyone from attempting.
Don’t: Be afraid of feeling uncomfortable or getting shut down.
“The personal relationships are the ones you remember in college, but those don’t just happen,” Sharp said. “You have to get involved. Uncomfortable positions is where we grow as human beings.”
Students won’t be able to make these relationships without effort.
Do: Steer away from communicating only through the use of technology.
“Put the cellphone down,” Sharp said. “Put the remote down, and go communicate”
Everyone has awkward moments and fears of rejection, but it’s necessary to think back to the process of making friends and realize that if one hadn’t gone up to the other one, all of the memories wouldn’t have happened.