Whenever you enter a new situation, especially one where you’re unfamiliar with people around you, it can be tough. You’re not sure how you should approach people. Should you act as these new comrades are people you’ve known for a while and are comfortable with, or act a bit reserved and try not to make the wrong impression? There are thousands of examples of both sides being chosen, and which place is more apt for such decisions than college.
For a freshman especially, the first weeks are filled with these sort of situations. Even as the year trudges along, there are still moments where connecting with others is necessary and you need to find ways to do it. Before I even got to Ohio State, I already realized the plan of action that garnered the best results when it came to meeting people: nostalgia.
Most of us are nostalgic. You could even argue that many people are nostalgic about things that most of us don’t care about at all. But when you strike a chord with other people, even multiple people, you break down barriers that would otherwise take months to get through.
The reason why nostalgia works so well in this instance is because, as I mentioned before, it applies to all of us. Whether it’s TV shows, movies, sporting events or albums, these things have the potential to resonate with anyone you meet. My advice would be to bring up the decade of the 1990s specifically. Everyone our age lived through it, almost everyone remembers it, some even love it. They were our own glory days, the period of time when we can all agree that life was a bit simpler. In the overbooked and stressful climate we inhabit, there is a necessity to relive moments that didn’t make us want to rip our hair out. It keeps us sane and encourages us to keep going.
I guarantee you’ll get the most animated of reactions from me if you mention “Doug,” “Arthur” or any Disney Channel original movie. Those pieces of media from yesteryear stir up a frenzied adoration similar to one I had in my youth. That love was one that existed at a time when I wasn’t weighed down by viewing things in perspective or looking ahead to the task I had to complete next. Back in those days, it was all about the moment, a state of affairs sadly lacking in our lives of today.
So the next time you meet someone or just want to get to know a person better, reach back in your mind and tell them about the things that put a smile on your face. Because once you do, chances are you’ll find out those same memories had a similar effect on them.