Meeting New People

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Meeting New People

Post  CHo05 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:03 am

"Maybe you guys can educate us on meeting new people in universities..."
-Anonymous


So you're in a strange new building now, larger than any you've been in before, and to the left of you and to the right of you are all these people you've never seen before. If you're lucky, you might have a couple of familiar high school friends still hanging with you, but maybe you might be (sadly) alone in your esoteric discipline of study in some far-away school. Either way, you probably want to meet some new friends. But making friends at university/college seem different than making friends at high school. You're no longer awkward teenagers united by shared courses, shared timetables, and your proximity in your teacher's seating plan. Now you're awkward adults sitting haphazardly across a room that could house 15 elephants and each so focused on your own world of work, school, finances, clubs, and volunteering, it's a wonder you'll ever find time to meet new people. But there's no doubt you want to meet new people; at the very least it'll make the time go by faster when your professor talks about all the structural variations of a double-helix.

In the beginning...

A good place to start would be your school's orientation/opening day events. Filled with balloons, music, and a lot of lost people, those events are perfect for meeting people in a goofy and non-threatening situation. I remember my orientation event: climbing up the stairs to SFU, I was greeted by a rush of red, white, and blue balloons as the air filled with the sound of "The Chicken Dance Song". They're designed to be easy-going and goofy by pairing you off with individuals in your own program (so you'll be sure to see your fellow orientation folks frequently in the future) and providing you with activities to break the ice. Perfect if you're meeting new people but don't know how to approach it.


When everyone else is doing the chicken dance, that's your chance to look sane and normal.

Clubs and School Events

I cannot stress the importance of clubs and school events (especially if you live on campus and can participate in Rez Events). Most schools have days where the school clubs showcase themselves, and that's your opportunity to see what clubs and events are out there and see whether any align into your interests (Whether it be proselytizing or partying, I've seen clubs devoted to each one). All clubs and events welcome new individuals as guest in their meetings/events (so they can recruit you, you think their funding doesn't depend on your participation?), and people are extra nice to you since you're the "new guy". And since the club (hopefully) engages in an activity of your interest, this is the place to do something fun with others who enjoy doing what you do! Not only do you guys already have something in common (always important in a friend), but the environment is much less awkward than trying to force a conversation with the silent girl that sits next to you in lectures.


Where else can these people be themselves and not be mocked? Why, only at the Freaky Kostumes Klub!

The Talk

Strange as it is, it's totally possible to just go up to random strangers and chat with them. I actually find it to be my most useful tactic in meeting new people (probably because I like to chat people's ears off), but there are a couple tricks to this maneuver:
1) Gauge your mark: You can do this at a bus stop, in your classes, or in the library. Hopefully your person of interest will look interesting without looking "too" interesting. Last thing you want to do is be chummy with a tattooed guy only to find that he's an associate of the Hell's Angels instead of simply a cool tattoo artist. You might be looking for someone who's similar to you, or you might be looking for someone who isn't; you're the best judge of who you want to know better.
2) Find a conversation starter: Admittedly the hardest part, but these things can be found anywhere. Is she reading a book? Ask her what book she's reading. Is she listening to her ipod? Tell her the music sounds good even from where you're sitting (Sometimes their music is really that loud. But sometimes I lie when I say I can hear their earphones from several feet away). Or maybe you're both sitting in class and you can make a comment about your professor, your course, your program, or even your school.
3)Take a deep breath, and start talking: The trick is really to just do it. But a deeper trick before that is not to have expectations about the results. A friend who prides himself on being a pickup artist once told me that the trick is to not be afraid of rejection, and not let it be known you're dying for affection. You don't want to come across as meek (and afraid of being rejected) or overbearing (dying for affection). And the best way to do that is to not put your hopes onto the results. Let the conversation flow naturally, and you'll find whether or not you have fit with other people. Not having anything to say might simply be a sign that you're not compatible so you don't have to force it. I have several friends at SFU through this approach (some who exchanged emails on the first meeting), found a lab position through this method (had several encounters before he was comfortable enough to offer a lab position), and chatted up my hot T.A. to the point where we spent two hours in the lounge bashing epistemological relativism (yes, I like the smart ones) without getting around to actually grading my lab report. I'm not saying you'll win 'em all with this approach (because not everyone is compatible with each other), but you'll definitely win some.

And there you have it, three ideas to start off with. There are probably more ideas out there such as meeting people at nightclubs and through residency, but I don't feel qualified to talk about those. Neither are my scenes, and the above have worked quite well for me. I thoroughly enjoy the people I know at SFU.


Last edited by CHo05 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:32 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Meeting New People

Post  CSOO7 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:10 am

Excellent article to start off the Connected Convos. I can't really give an opinion on this one since I'm not attending university, nor am I one known to randomly start conversations with others.
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