10 Ways NOT To Make Friends As A College Freshman

10 Ways NOT To Make Friends As A College Freshman

I get it, it's hard. But that's part of the challenge.
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Making friends in college is a lot like catching Pokémon: some freshmen choose friends based on how they look, others by what talents and powers they possess. Most of us would like to believe that we make friends based on how they compliment our own personal weaknesses. And in a world with so many good people all around us, who wouldn't want to meet 'em all?

Regardless of the reasons why we choose to make friends, the way in which we go about it is its own subtle art form. It's one which I, certainly, have yet to perfect. But judging by the outcome of my first week at college (I moved in early thanks to Freshman Connection - shout out to everyone involved in that amazing program), I would say that I've done alright so far. I've met a lot of great people who I can see being friends with for a long time, and I'm meeting more every day.

How? you may ask. Tara, you're not that nice, and you're also not that personable. Believe me, it shocked me too. It's simple really. I just avoided these 10 pitfalls that people often encounter when meeting others for the first time. These are the top 10 ways NOT to make friends as a freshman in college-- from my own personal experience.

1. Hang out in your dorm all day with the door closed.

This should be an obvious no-no, but people still end up doing it. They don't know what to do, so they do... nothing. You may be feeling alone, or not know who to hang out with at an event that your college is hosting. But if you don't go at all, you'll never meet anybody. "Out" is where the rest of the people are. Holing up and watching Netflix for hours on end is one of those things that feels good in the moment, but will ultimately just isolate you and make you feel worse about things. Just go to the activities.

2. Expect people to talk to you / make plans to hang out first.

A lot of people that I know from high school seem to be having problems making friends in college because they don't want to initiate any sort of relationship with anyone. Honestly, a smile or even just eye contact can let others know that you are open and willing to talk. And look, someone's gotta make the first move. If someone seems cool or nice, or even if they're just in your close proximity, it's okay to shoot them a "Hey, my name is _________." That's how you get to know people.

3. Latch onto someone else.

Whether it be your new roommate or a friend from home, it's not good to just leech socialization off of the closest immediate individual. If your style of friend-making involves being friends with one person, then being pity-included when that person makes new and other friends, you will get left behind-- and fast. It's okay to have the same friends as your roommate or high school friend, but they should genuinely be your own friends as well. Not just friends-by-proxy.

4. Act as though you're better than other people in the college / be standoffish.

If you see people going to a frat party and you personally don't want to go, don't judge them. If you see people staying in and playing cards, that's fine too. You're not better than anyone else. We're all in college. We're all adults. If the immediate vibe that you're sending off is one of sanctimonious arrogance, then people will immediately think-- and rightfully so-- that you are an ass. Don't have a superiority complex. This isn't high school anymore; we're all starting college on a level playing field.

5. Close yourself off from different people and experiences.

This goes along with the above point. Just because you like X, and someone else enjoys Y, it doesn't mean that you can't be friends. Yes, common interests and shared experiences make it easier to immediately connect with someone, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be compatible as people. Some of my lifelong best friends are completely different from myself in terms of our tastes, interests, cultures, and hobbies. Making a real connection with someone extends further than surface-level traits.

6. Think that you don't need to make any new friends.

Even if you made a lot of friends during orientation, or met your 8 new bffs during move-in weekend, you should still be open to meeting new people. One, you can never have too many positive relationships with people. Two, as depressing as this sounds, these 4-day friendships are probably not as strong as they currently feel. So, if they end up disintegrating, it's good to have some backup. And three, someone else who you don't already know may end up being your friendship soulmate, but you'll never know unless you give other people a chance.

7. Be rude.

Somehow, this requires explicit mention. If you're rude and a jerk, people will not like you. If that is the first impression that you make, then they will probably never like you. If you do this often enough, people will hate you, and you will have no friends. The end.

8. Refuse to open up to others.

I know this one may be hard for a lot of people. Dropping your guard around people you don't know is really difficult, especially when you may not want to open up. But presenting myself as open and honest is probably what has been most crucial to making and maintaining my current friendships. Nobody wants to be friends with someone who never speaks their mind, or who isn't being genuine. No matter how awful you may think your true self is, I can promise you that there is someone out there who loves it.

9. Talk only about yourself... all the time.

Take this point with a grain of salt. I love talking about myself, and I love hearing other people talk about themselves... at appropriate times. This will sound cliche, but active listening? It's actually pretty effective. If someone says something about themselves, it is more than fine to follow up with something related about yourself. But discussing/comparative ideas, formative events, or unusual anecdotes is way more interesting than just recounting some average experience, or talking about something that nobody can logically follow up. It really is a matter of how you spin it. There is just a difference between a discussion involving two people, and one person talking at another. One leads to genuine connection, while the other leaves someone never wanting to talk to you again.

10. Think you're above small talk.

Who do you think you are, Stephen Hawking? Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person in the world who actually enjoys small talk. I like getting to know people. How people engage in small talk is, I think, one of the most telling things about someone. It shows who they are when they're at their most basic - how they speak, how friendly they are, the level of interest they display, what you can expect from them when you speak again. If someone sucks at small talk, they'll probably suck at more involved conversations, too. And honestly? If someone is going to be a good match as a friend for me, I don't need them to be interesting only when they talk about politics. If they can be fun and interesting while talking about the weather, then they can be fun at any time, too.

Cover Image Credit: Bing

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I Met A Girl 9 Years Ago And Now I Call Her My Sister

Where are my jeans at?
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If life has taught me anything, it has taught me that those who are related by blood can be no closer to us than a stranger on the street. It has also taught me that blood isn't always what defines what we consider family and that family can be defined by those we choose to share our life experiences with.

Nine years ago today, I met a stranger who I now call my sister.

We met halfway across the world. A new girl was joining my class. She had sidecut bleached bangs and colored hair. She wore our school uniform in a way that made it look like it was customized just for her. Her name was Cat. Pfft "Cat," I thought, this oh so cool American girl was going to be the new popular kid. Little did I know that I was going to end up living with her a few years later in California; crying over sad movies, raving on the summer-long beaches, running around music festivals. I had no clue back then that she would end up being one of my best friends.

Cat joined my desk cluster. In all honesty, I was not excited. If anything I was already jealous of her. She pulled off the uniform well and she did half of the school workload because she couldn't speak Thai! Until today I don't remember what made me decide to start speaking to her. Cat is a talented girl and I secretly wanted to be her friend.

She and I ended up bonding over my first concert (Green Day). We had similar musical tastes and we both just enjoyed each others company in general. Eventually, she moved to the states to continue her education.

I was planning to go to America for the longest time, but never really decided when. Cat and I came up with an evil plan for me to come live with her until I finished high school and because we're both big brats, we got our way! In 2011 I moved in with her and her mom.

They say to never move in with your friends because being friends is completely different from actually living with a friend; yes that is a fact. I mean, we'd never have full-blown fights but I was so frustrated at how long she used to take showers and I'm sure I did plenty things to annoy her as well. We were both competitive people, we strived to do best in everything we did. Like everyone, we had good days and bad days with each other.

I knew our relationship was slowly molding into a sisterhood when I felt the need to crush every boy in her way, also we started sharing clothes and not returning them. Competition morphed into encouragement and instead of jealousy, I had an overwhelming feeling of love for her.

Despite our petty fights, she motivated me to do better. Cat has been with me through every important stepping stone of my life since then. From moving to the states to my first real heartbreak. She's been the emotional support I needed when times were tough. Our relationship has shown me what true friendship means.

Next year we'll hit our 10 years friendaversary but do you even count the years if you're already family?

Cover Image Credit: Nacha Promsatian

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10 Things I Want To Thank My Best Friend For

"We've made it this far, now you are stuck with me for life!"
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We've been friends for forever, but even when we had known each other for only ten minutes, you've given me a gift that no one else could.

No one else has been by my side, by choice, through all of the crap I've pulled. I am absolutely sure that I'm difficult sometimes, but you've never faltered. I don't often thank you for all that you do, but you are honestly such a wonderful and huge part of my life. You're irreplaceable. You are my "girl soulmate".

Here are just a couple things I don't think you get thanked enough for:

1. Not putting up with my shit. This one is important. If I'm bitchy or doing something that isn't good for me, you are the first, and often the only, person to call me out on it. Every time I text that guy that only wants sex, every time I'm irritable and mean for no reason, every time I don't take accountability for my actions, you are the one person I know will tell it like it is.

2. For being honest. Whether it was over something silly, like whether or not the shoes I picked out were cute, or something serious, like asking your opinion over big life decisions. You were honest about the decisions I made. Whether you agreed with them or not.

3. Your unconditional love. Along with being honest with me about my wrongdoings, you love me through them. Many people have walked in and out of my life, and that messes with a person's head, but you have never wavered in showing me that I am loved. You have cared for me through our fights, our good times, our binges, your heartbreaks.You love me, by choice, even when I'm not so lovable.

4. Being my rock. When all I have done for days is laid in bed and cried, when I'm pissed off, and when I had joy in my heart, you are my rock. My shoulder to cry on, the lighthouse guiding me through the storm. You've always kept me grounded, lifted my spirits when I can't lift myself, and done all in your power to make sure I okay. It's not an easy task, but you handle it so well and I love you for that.

5. For Listening. I know there are times where you don't understand the circumstances I am going through, or experiencing, and you didn't know what to say. Regardless, you listened. You let me vent about the tough situations and made me feel like someone cared about what I had to say. You also always listen when I complained about being broke, about my parents (love you guys so much) or pretty much about anything and everything. Thank you for letting me be the whiner I am.

6. Sticking with me through my awkward phase(s). As of right now, I'm pretty solid. I'm somewhat normal and I have a semi-decent sense of fashion, but that was not always the case. I went through so many phases through our friendship and you may not have joined me in wearing thick eyeliner and black clothes, but you sure as hell stayed my friend while I did all of those dumb things.

7. Letting me borrow and steal your clothes. When I hated everything I owned, you never hesitate to lend me that cute dress you got off the sale rack, or that adorable shirt I talked you into getting. You always have my back when I feel like nothing looks good on me and you dress me up and send me on my way-- even if you were planning on wearing it. And also thank you for looking like a dork with me - you know, when we would want to wear matching close to school...yikes.

8. Taking care of me. Whether I was having a bad day at school or something was going on in my family, you were always there. You've always allowed me the best care when I feel like shit emotionally. You bring me cookies and ice cream, diet coke, and sad movies so I veg out and binge and then you help me get back on my feet when it's time.

9. Giving me advice. I rarely take the words of wisdom from anyone, but you always give me advice anyway, every time I ask, and often when I don't. It is unbiased and given with only my best interest in mind, and that's such a beautiful thing. You help me through things that I don't know anything about and you pull me out when I don't take your advice and get stuck between a rock and a hard place. Then, even though I didn't take it ten times before, you offer up your advice again.

10. For accepting me. Being that you've been friends with me for forever, you've seen me at my worst and my best. Regardless, you still choose to hang out with me. So I mean, that's pretty cool.

It's been a long time, and we've had our fights, but you have been my friend through it all. We've made it through elementary school, middle school and high school, through the beginnings of adulthood, through heartbreaks, together. We've stuck together at the hip and never expected anything in return.

I promise to try my best to be the best friend I can be for you.

Thank you, for everything.


Love,

JoJo




Cover Image Credit: Camera Roll

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