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Advice for Awkward People

Dear Izzy,

I’m heading out to visit my friend at another college, and I’m really excited but really terrified. She goes to a university that’s a lot farther and a lot more different from here, where the campus is a lot bigger and the culture is really different. Basically it’ll be a completely new environment and she’s taking me to all these parties and places and I won’t know anyone there but her. I wanna get the chance to meet new people and talk to all her cool friends, but I’m struggling with how to adapt to this new place quickly and how to open up to people in order to form a connection in a short amount of time. And she’s been like hyping me up to all her friends back home, and I’m worried they’re gonna expect this super cool Pittsburgh gal with a bunch of weird stories and they’ll end up with just an average Pittsburgh gal who is really just an introvert that got adopted by a wacky extroverted friend. Any advice?

[Name]

Dear [Name],

In terms of the new environment, the internet is your best friend. Research more about her college and her city online, and maybe learn a little bit more about the area. It’s also totally fine to go into this new city completely blind; sometimes the most fun can come from discovering things spontaneously, or the unexpected joy and accomplishment of learning that “Yes, I CAN read a map correctly and not get completely lost.” Having a healthy balance of both sides I think will make you the most comfortable.

In my opinion, you’ve already won half the battle; you’ve already established that you genuinely want to go out and meet new people. Enthusiasm takes you a long way, and people will see that charm, excitement, and happiness in you and it’ll radiate off into everyone you meet. And who knows, their positive energy might just radiate back on you, and before you know it...you’ve got a conversation going! Achievement Unlocked! Often what gets in the way of taking that leap into a new, unexpected territory are nerves, but it’s truly our excited anticipation that helps us to overcome them.

Most importantly, don't forget to be yourself. That’s what your friends’ friends are going to be most excited for. If she actually is hyping you up, there must be a reason why: maybe she sees some of you in her friends at college, and wants you to get to know more people who are just as wonderful as you! That's a sign that she truly cares for you as a friend. Just relax and have fun. Everything will turn out just fine!

Good luck out there!

Izzy