Natalie Weber | Wednesday, February 21, 2018
About a month ago I was talking with one of the RAs in my dorm when she mentioned a bucket list her professor had given her. One of the items on the list, she said, was to introduce yourself to someone new every day.
Intrigued by this idea, I decided to give it a try. While I thought I would have to go out of my way to achieve this goal, I was surprised to find that this was rarely the case. For one, simply writing for The Observer has allowed me to meet a variety of people. However, even outside of my work at the newspaper, I found I crossed paths with a person I had never met almost every day. When standing in line at the dining hall, I would chat with those around me. I began to talk to classmates whom I didn’t know. And I simply made an effort to reach out to more people.
I had always wondered how a few of my friends seemed to know nearly everyone at Notre Dame. Yet, as I began to introduce myself to a different person each day, I noticed how easy it was to get to know more people on campus. An introvert with an aversion to small talk, I realized I had a tendency to hang back and simply observe, rather than trying to engage with those I didn’t know. I began to wonder how many opportunities I had missed to meet interesting and unique people through my reticence.
While this experiment has not turned me into an extrovert, nor did I expect it to do so, it has helped me to overcome this tendency. Some of these interactions have been relatively brief and I realize many of those I meet may remain acquaintances. Still, other interactions have led to longer conversations. By getting into the habit of introducing myself to others on a daily basis, I hope to eventually develop a few new friendships. Beyond this, it is simply nice to recognize more faces as I walk to class, which makes the campus community feel a little more like home.
At the same time I began to introduce myself to someone different each day, I also began to better appreciate my close friendships. I would like to try to meet as many people as possible; however, I also want to ensure that I get to know others beyond a surface level. Ultimately, I would rather have a few friends who I know really well, rather than only a wide circle of acquaintances. Even so, I hope that in meeting a new person each day, I will be able to not only to broaden my circle of acquaintances, but also cultivate a few long-lasting friendships.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.