Being “the new one” in a group of people

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​A while ago a new guy moved into my co-living house.

He told me that he moved here because it got lonely in his apartment and he wanted to make new friends.

The funny thing is that he almost never socializes with us. I think the reason is that he’s a bit socially anxious.

However, there’s this girl in the house who’s even more socially anxious. You could notice when she was new here how her voice was shaking when she talked.

Now she’s part of the family. But on the other hand, the guy still doesn’t know anyone.

I feel for the guy. It’s hard to socialize when you feel anxious. But it’s really hard to get close to him when he seems distant and cold in his answers.

  • The girl’s strategy: It’s more important to socialize than to come off as cool
  • The guy’s strategy: It’s more important to come off as cool than to socialize

(Read our guide about socializing here.)

When I first spoke to the girl, I thought “She’s a bit nervous. But she seems friendly towards us, and I like her”.

Because the guy keeps to his side, people get suspicious toward him and keep their distance.

People don’t take offense if you’re nervous. (Click here to learn how to not be nervous around people.)

People do take offense if you don’t come off as friendly.

LESSON LEARNED:

The one who comes off as friendly but nervous wins over the one who comes off as cool but reserved.

Why? Because when you’re reserved, people will automatically assume that you don’t like them.

On the other hand, if you show that you’re friendly but also come off as anxious, people will take you under their arms. Everyone can relate to feeling anxious at times.

What’s your strategy when you’re “the new one”? Let me know in the comments!

David Morin is the founder of SocialPro. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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4 thoughts on “Being “the new one” in a group of people”

  1. Yes, I think one does others a favor when you talk with them or start a conversation. That realization occurred to me only recently. I mean, it’s kind of like getting a smile.

    However, even though I may intellectually know that, my subconscious still tells me to avoid others due to anxiety.

    But just something to try to keep in mind, that when one reaches out in spite of anxiety, one is being helpful in a way just by being friendly and social.

    Reply

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