I was never "popular"
in high school either and I too wished things were different. But when I look
back, I realise the girls I wanted to be with were doing things I wasn't really interested
in-- smoking, drinking a lot of alcohol at parties, cutting class to
go smoke pot or go to the shopping mall and having sexual relationships.
I spent most Saturday nights
babysitting and my friends would come over to watch movies or I'd talk on the
phone to them all night. I liked going to class and I actually enjoyed reading
in the library (total nerd, okay, but I did go on to study journalism and
become a writer). As far as boys went, I was a late bloomer.
The girls that were my friends were a lot like me, friendly, responsible and thoughtful. What I'm saying is that, I think there is a difference
between being likeable and being popular and, while they're not necessarily mutually exclusive,
I'm not sure that the
"popular" girls were all that likeable.
So, when you say, " I’ve
never been particularly ‘popular’, and this group of people are the type of
friends I’ve always wanted", the "mum" in me says go slow. (I
could be misinterpreting and completely off base, and if I am please know that
I mean no offence.)
I think you will be better able
to assess the prospect of genuine friendships after you meet. My advice
is to project confidence. Hold your head high, make eye contact and
smile. Be warm and friendly and people will be drawn to you.
And remember, they will be as nervous as you.
It can help to make a mental list of things to talk about before
you meet. Join in when you have something to say. Giving a compliment is also a
way to start a conversation (e.g. Love your jumper, where did you get it?)
If you get stuck, ask questions. Most people like to talk about
themselves, so give them an opening. Being shy can be a blessing because the
others will think you are a good listener!
I understand the fear of being judged, particularly as I know you
just want to fit it. But you have no control over the judgements other
people make, so I would encourage you to let that go. You look the way you
look. And if somebody doesn't want to be friends for such a shallow reason, I'd
suggest you are better off without them. However, my guess is that you
look fine and are likely judging yourself more harshly than anyone else ever
Kind thoughts to you