Connections Are Not Just Convenient

Humans are social creatures. It’s scientifically proven that social interaction is a huge part of our world. And yet, we tend to find ourselves socially awkward or too shy to make these important connections. I know I find myself too scared to even wave at people that I know. It takes me an embarrassing amount of time to just talk to my peers. However, connecting and being with people isn’t just a convenient way to get ahead, it’s a necessity and really changes the direction of your day.

I am an Ambivert. A mix of introvert and extrovert. My social battery is less of a battery and more like a ticking time bomb. One moment I have plenty of time to myself, the next I’m desperate to talk to someone- anyone. A second ago I was having the time of my life with friends, the next I’m curled on the ground trying to find the best way to ask a question.

I’ve noticed that in classrooms, not everyone is so eager to make connections. Some view their peers as ways to get ahead in school. Which is fine, most of the time you’re supposed to help your classmates as they help you. But people tend to lack the relationships that are important to mental health. Friends, for instance, they spend time with you and are there when things get rough, they can brighten your mood, which can lead you to work hard to survive the day.

Something I and others notice is that I tend to “warm up” to people. To strangers, I can barely introduce myself, I’d love to but the words don’t form in my mind. To friends, I can spill everything in my mind, with no filter at all. This becomes a problem because the aforementioned “can barely introduce myself” energy I get with strangers.

I was quite unlucky to have the majority of my classes with people I don’t entirely recognize. People I don’t have a history with, people I can’t spill my guts to when the urges come. I find myself so much more stressed, anxious, and an overall mess when I don’t have people I know around me. I had to start from scratch in making these relationships happen.

But this is partially because no one is talking. I find it easier to connect with classmates if everyone is willing to talk together and are willing to break the ice. When we put in the work, information bounces off from each other, making it easier for all of us to get the information we need and questions answered. Personally, I like talking about my previous class or my day to relieve any stress, which can encourage everyone else to do so. It’s the little conversations that can make a big difference.

This is why I was so lucky to have such nice people around me. I did know some people, I held them close to me and I held the new people I met just as close. In class, the “home group” activities helped me connect with the people in my class. Knowing our similarities, and interests, and having a special opportunity to share them made introducing ourselves a little easier. Suddenly, the awkward weight of silence and loneliness was lifted.

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