This is probably the most embarrassing and stupid sounding question I’ve ever asked in my life; but it’s unfortunately one without whose answer I’m stuck. Before I start with my story, I’d just like to say that this is going to sound really weird and on some level, pathetic sounding, but I’d appreciate it if you stuck with me till the end of the story. I’m 20 years old and live in the UK. I’m currently attending university for my first year and am struggling to create friendships (I’m half way through the year). This isn’t something new; I’ve had the same problem for as long as I can remember. The only friendships I’ve ever had with people have always been initiated by the other party and have mostly been maintained by them. I’m quite shy, but have no difficulty going up to a fellow student I meet for the first time and introduce myself (I mostly struggle to talk in large group conversations and inviting someone to something would be the most socially taxing thing I may be able to do). Now, this is the pattern of my interactions with somebody I meet for the first time:
Say I meet someone in my dorm for the first time; we exchange names and talk for a few minutes. We then take off, going on about our day. We’ll almost certainly see each other once a day for the rest of the term. Every time we see each other we’ll say “Hi” and that’ll be it. We may sometimes say “Hey, how are you?” which leads to the same exchange every time; “I’m good, how about yourself?”, “I’m doing fine, thank you”, “well, I’ll see you later” , “see you”. My interactions with a person the second and the later times I see them will almost never deviate from what I depicted. This keeps going for a couple of weeks and then things start getting awkward. We both usually stop acknowledging each other’s existence and will start to ignore each other (it usually starts with the other person). Things have unfortunately reached a stage where my relationship with almost everyone at my dorm has reached this stage of awkwardness.
I don’t know what to do anymore; I spoke with a few people about this and they gave me a few suggestions as to what I could do to fix this broken dynamic in my relationship with people and pointed out some of the “mistakes” I keep making. However, I don’t know if it’s due to my lack of social experience or what, but I feel like most of the suggestions I received were things I find to be socially awkward or even inappropriate given my current situation. Some of them were:
Go knock on one of your closer dormmates’ doors and give them something you made for them (like some home-made cookies); tell them you think that you guys don’t talk much and that you would like to know them better over some coffee or tea for example (I found this particularly useful but thought that inviting just 1 person to go get coffee with, or to my room to have some tea with sounded a bit awkward. To me, it sounds kind of like a date or something)
When you see a group of people having a conversation and you only know one of them, (let’s call him Alex; keep in mind that things between you and him have already turned awkward as mentioned above) just join their conversation. (this, I thought, would be REALLY awkward. Alex and I have literally stopped acknowledging each other. Everybody in this group know each other and I’m like a stranger; I can’t just use Alex to make my way into the conversation. I could only do that if we were friends, I don’t think our relationship even counts as an acquaintanceship anymore)
This is one of my own ideas which I wasn’t too sure about. This is in reference to point 1. I thought I could invite 2 people to my room for a tea break. I had 2 worries about this though. First, I wasn’t sure how to go about it as I’ve never really invited anyone to anything (I’m also worried that the 2 people I invite to my room may dislike each other or something). Also, this, to me, sounds like something you can only do if you’re on a reliable basis with the person you invite (I’m not sure if inviting someone you’ve been ignoring for weeks is a good idea)
Now, if you’ve read this far, I’d like to say Thank You; it means a lot! I’d appreciate it if you would let me know which of these ideas are reasonable (based on my current situation); and if you have any suggestions of your own, please share them!!