How can a simple two-letter word manage to cause a grown man like myself such anxiety, dread and heartache?
The easy answer is: I don’t know.
So I ask, “Why do I do this to myself?”
I’m 30 years old and I’m still in school. Granted, I took about five years off from the textbook grind, but here I am, going on one year at UMKC with a majority of other students almost half my age.
As I look around, I see I’m not the only older person here, but who are these people? How do I talk to them? How do I make new friends?
I’m not the only person on this campus that has problems walking up to people and simply saying, “Hi.”
By all likelihood, if you look around at any given moment at UMKC, the vast majority of people you see will be people you don’t know the first thing about, other than the fact they’re students at UMKC.
I find it very difficult to start a conversation with someone I don’t know, whether they are male or female. The annoying thing is this: I like people for the most part and I like making friends.
I just find it difficult to jump over that first awkward hurdle to actually say “Hi.”
I see someone, usually a pretty girl, or someone wearing a like-minded T-shirt and I think to myself, “I should talk to them?” But then other scenarios roll through my mind.
What if she doesn’t like me? What if he thinks I’m creepy? What if I walk up and sound like I’m a complete idiot?
By the time those questions dribble out of my head, I think better of it and go about my business.
Recently, however, I’ve been asking myself some different “what if” questions. Like, how many good relationships have I missed out on because of my shy and awkward ways? Perhaps I’ve missed that perfect someone who I can share a sandwich with and laugh about last night’s episode of “Smallville.”
I don’t want to do that anymore, but I still find it difficult to pull myself out of that mentality of looking like an idiot. There are over 13,000 students at UMKC this semester and I hope to make at least one more friend this year.
So, my fellow students … let’s all say, “Hi.”