When one of my peers found out that we’d be taking the same class, she said, “Oh good! We can sit together!” I smiled, because it was a nice gesture. At the same time, I knew that sticking close to people I already know can make it harder to meet new people.
Avoiding new and unfamiliar things comes naturally to almost all of us. After all, most of our more adventurous buddies who failed to develop a fear of the dark got eaten by cave bears a long time ago. But times change, and cave bears don’t live in classrooms. In civil society, discomfort with the unfamiliar is often an unpleasant relic from ye olden days, hampering our ability to explore.
Keeping close to familiar friends when entering new territory is a solid survival strategy, but life is no longer on the line. Really, it’s not. So when you have an opportunity to interact with new people, be brave and explore – you’ll probably be surprised and intrigued by the human variety right outside your door.