When we encounter new beginnings like a new class, a new school, a new faculty – basically a new environment, we might find ourselves anxious about the uncertainty of the unknown. Some of us are able to cope with it and dive straight into a dark tunnel, while others find themselves stuck in their tiny bubble of anxiety. One of the things humans most value is companionship. Though some might argue that they prefer to be alone all the time, the majority of us enjoy having healthy and positive relationships. But what leaves as stuck in thought would be primarily the barrier of anxiety of making new friends. The first thing we should always do is acknowledge and find out why we get anxious, afterwhich try to actively reason out the problem and tackle it head on together. The most common reasons people get anxious when they think about making friends are that they don’t know what to expect, they fear others might be judging or they’ve made bad friends before and fear it will happen again. Let’s try to break these down into simpler parts together:
You might have had that one bad friend or one bad friend group or many bad friends made in the past. And the past haunts you and makes you wary of making friends in the future. It’s sad, and I feel sorry that you have had to go through such difficult experiences. But I urge you to not let what the bad friends did influence how you view companionship. Having a good friend is such a beautiful thing in the world, and even if you didn’t get to experience it in the past, you might just be able to experience it in the future. Don’t shut your doors just because the failed attempts happened. Those attempts do not define how a fruitful, happy and beneficial friendship would feel like. Thus, do not let your anxiety get in your way of creating a fresh start in this new environment you are in! As you grow older, the people around you grow older too so everyone would probably grow to be more mature one way or another. You can be assured that if you do your best in making genuine attempts to make new friends, an angel will definitely come your way. Don’t let the anxiety envelope you, envelope it instead.
Humans are all born different but what’s similar is that we all weren’t born to judge every single thing, every single human being. When you are making new friends, you’re trying to interact with a human not a monster! The person is in fact likely to be as scared as you even if the person was loud and outspoken. Because anyone, no matter how confident, would still fear a little about new environments, worry a little about the uncertainties. Don’t be anxious about the fact that you might be judged for being you, because you deserve to be you and if people judge you for it, they’re not worth your time and effort. You do not owe anyone anything, you don’t have to conform to the usual standards and ways of ‘making friends’ because you are your own narrative. Fear not anymore, be yourself and people will naturally reciprocate. You can start the ball rolling by maybe introducing your name, interests and pop a question like ‘what about you?’. Even if you might have been a ‘bad friend’ in the past, and there are tonnes of rumours about you everywhere, your label does not stay with you forever. You need to start accepting yourself for your past, improve yourself for the present and do not ever think that people will only judge you for your past. People change all the time, give yourself some slack on that.
Regardless of what happened to you that has caused you to be anxious about making new friends, the process of making friends naturally gets better over time. Time is very powerful, it builds on your experience, increases your threshold and shapes you to be a more grounded and confident individual. Put your heart into every single attempt when you try to make a new friend and soon, you’ll see yourself subconsciously finding your own unique comfortable way of making friends. Don’t beat yourself up for those few failed or awkward attempts when the friendship didn’t actually grow, instead learn from what you could do better in the future. (Maybe the problem was with the other party and not you at all, maybe they just didn’t want an extra friend – it’s not your fault though.) And more importantly, never try to rush your own personal growth. Embrace the time it takes to improve and live in the moment. Don’t compare yourself with others in terms of how well they make friends or how many friends they have, We Are All Different. With a positive mindset like this, and letting time do its thing, you will see yourself less anxious about making new friends.
Hey, ‘Trailing Thoughts’ is a series that is here to stay. We discuss the big questions in our heads – the journey was never easy but we go step by step!
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