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How to Thrive in College as a Socially Awkward Person

socially awkward girl with a social phobia hides her face in a sweater

If you were the socially awkward kid in high school, college can be a fresh start. Many people there won’t know you, which can be a good thing! College is the perfect time to network, make friends, and make some memories.

Many people’s definition of what socially awkward behavior is can differ. Someone can be a little awkward at times and still have a good friend’s circle and otherwise be social. Meanwhile, someone on the autism spectrum, who may have a hard time with social cues, may be someone’s idea of socially awkward.  Social awkwardness can be situational too. You may have an easy time talking to peers, but a public speaking assignment is what breaks you.

With that said, here are some tips to help you get through college!

There Are People Like You

What makes college so magical is its diversity. You don’t have to be with a group of people you don’t socialize with well or anyone that judges you. If you tend to be awkward in certain situations, then you can find a group of people who are much more accepting and who you share things in common with.  You can find others who share your values through clubs, gatherings, video game tournaments, and other social groups run on campus. Having people who you have something in common with is a good ice breaker and helps with social awkwardness.

Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New

College is a time of experimenting, so don’t feel as though you need to stick to the same hobbies or people. Look at the list of events and see if there is one that you find interesting. If there is, try contacting the people hosting it and get more info, and perhaps strike up a conversation. The people who host events are more accepting of those wanting to join, and won’t mind if you’re a bit socially awkward.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you’ve always been bad at speaking, try practicing your speech in front of a mirror. If you talk a little too fast and need to balance out speaking and thinking, why not practice and see if you can slow yourself down a bit.  Many public speakers have a natural talent, but a lot of them had to work for their social skills. These social skills are not just good for speeches, but for interacting with others as well.

Change Up Your Appearance

Sometimes, the way you dress can give off an awkward vibe. This fresh start can be a great time to update your look! You don’t need a fresh suit and tie; some good quality thrift store clothes can be just as good. Experiment with different looks and see which one works the best for you, and you may be able to find a look that can complement your social awkwardness.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help

You’re in college, and this may make you think that you’re an adult and you shouldn’t seek help. But this is not the case, as anyone of any age can always ask for help.  School counseling is not just for young people or for those who are suffering from poor grades. Your college has counselors who can help you learn how to be a better person socially and help you find yourself along the way.

Alternatively, you may be able to find good therapy online. Online therapy is becoming more useful for busy college students and beyond. It allows for help on one’s own schedule and terms. You may also find use from websites that can help you reconnect with your family, especially if you have moved away from home.

For more great tips on everything related to college life, check out the other blogs on College Basics.