Some people are intrinsically shy. I used to be. While it didn’t hurt to not speak up, it made school simply a place where I would sit for hours on end, listening to lessons and lectures. However, taking the easy way out and letting the world pass you by isn’t always the best path to success. At school I did fine, getting straight A’s, and just breezing through classes, but the experience wasn’t memorable, wasn’t something that I would do again. Success isn’t just getting the 4.0 GPA, it’s about making an impact on the world around you and making memories as you do. And thus I changed, growing out of the shell that I had encapsulated myself with, interacting more with others and making a variety of new friends. And as a result, my life has been enriched and a lot more rewarding, full of exciting moments instead of dull ones, with doors open that would have otherwise been closed, and overall just a happier day to day experience.
However, learning to be more outgoing is the kind of thing that is, to use the clichéd phrase, easier said than done. On paper, making new friends seems like the kind of thing that can be done in one afternoon. Just go talk to someone, and make them like you. Easy right? In practice, interaction is far more nuanced than go out there and talk. How do you portray yourself in a fashion that won’t drive people away? Confidence is crucial, and yet too much makes you seem arrogant. Modesty is a good trait to have, but making yourself stand out is just as important. What makes you interesting? Maybe you’re really good at playing video games. Sell that. You’ll find kindred souls in no time. And people you can talk to about a common interest are the best kind of peers to have.
And so we reach the most important part of opening up. Confidence. Sure, you might embarrass yourself. You might stutter, choke on the words you want to say, or even trip or fall. What if they don’t like you? But the thing is, while first impressions are critical in interviews, when making friends, embarrassing first impressions make for the most memorable experiences. Just be confident, laugh openly, smile. People don’t bite.
And confidence doesn’t only extend to your peers. Talk to your teachers, ask them about anything. They aren’t robots without emotion and opinion. They have lives outside of school. And they know a lot more than the stuff they teach in the classroom. Get to know them.
By simply making new friends and surrounding yourself with like-minded peers, you will learn to see the world around you not as some droll and mundane day to day routine, but a world filled with opportunity and joy, a world to explore. An effusive and outgoing personality isn’t limited merely to people. It’s a way to live life in general, to test your limits, to take any experience and make the best of it. Opportunity knocks. Open the door and welcome it.
It may seem incredible difficult at first. How do you go from sitting in the back, quietly taking notes and just generally choosing to remain inconspicuous, to a person with an outgoing personality? Talk, joke, laugh. Put yourself out there. It won’t hurt.