Social risks at open mic generate new friendships

Christine Huang, Contributing Writer

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Nothing but a stream of negative thoughts filled my mind during the summer after freshmen year. In my head, I watched a series of flashbacks of all the moments when my friends made new friends, and then compared those friends to me.

I believed teens peaked in high school because life makes being a teen awesome for those who are very socially confident. I felt like I was definitely not one of those teens.

I also felt terrible because my best friend did not have as much time to hang out as before. Meanwhile, I regretted not reaching out enough to new friends. That is when it hit me that I shouldn’t have been such a shy freshmen.

When I entered high school, my expectation was that I would make new friends in the blink of an eye. But instead, I became very shy and waited for new friends to approach me first.

I had my middle school friends to spend time with. While that was good, I really wanted to make new friends faster, but I was just too shy. Perhaps this was because I was afraid of exclusion which I had endured a lot in middle school.

Starting in sophomore year, I made an effort to make new friends. I sat with classmates at lunch and my expectation was that I would engage in the conversations. The reality was that interjecting was hard because I often did not know what they were talking about. One-on-one conversations were just as awkward because I constantly had to think about what to say. I was stuck in a rut.

Then I had an epiphany: I decided to better introduce myself to two new friends by inviting them to an open mic show in June.  Unfortunately, the show fell on Friday the 13th. To make matters worse, there was also a full moon. I prepared for disaster, under the belief this would make or break my performance and social life.

On stage, I performed “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on piano and sang the lyrics. After I performed, my friends complimented my performance. I gained social confidence as I became closer to those two friends.

We often had lunch together, during which there was laughter and happiness. We did many activities together such as ice skating, attending parties and having jam sessions. Later, I played another two songs at open mic, which I dedicated to my friends.

I am very content today and am an extremely socially active person. My social struggles and shyness have taught me not to take high school friends for granted. The time I have spent with high school classmates will be some of my best memories. There is not a day that passes when I am not happy I put myself out there to make new friends.