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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15 Things You Realize As Your Baby Brother Grows Up

No matter how old he gets, he will always be your baby brother.
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Despite the fistfights and days of locking each other out of the house, a little brother is one of the biggest blessings you can receive. Most sisters can agree that they probably bossed their brothers around a lot when they were younger (and probably still do). Most sisters have also most likely forced their brothers to participate in many games that were only enjoyable for one party (baby dolls, house, dress up, etc.)

As a little brother grows up, you start to realize a lot of things as they become your lifelong best friend. Here are 15 of them:

1. He will outgrow you

Even though you were once able to beat him in a wrestling match, and have a fair game of tag, as you get older, he begins to pass you up in size and you realize it probably isn't in your best interest to pick a fight.

2. Teenage boy sass is a real thing

So many times, girls get a bad rep for the teenage phase, but let me tell you, teenage boys have just as much sass if not more than the average hormonal girl. But you also realize that you will get through it, and he is still your sweet brother somewhere deep, deep down.

3. He will go through a phase when he is too cool for you

Your whole life you have been used to your little brother looking up to you and wanting to be just like you and do all the things you do. This probably really annoyed you at some point too and I know I found the words "stop copying me" coming out of my mouth a lot. Don't wish it away, enjoy these times because there hits a point where he will want to do their own thing for a while.

4. He will begin to form his own opinions, and he is actually really smart

He still looks up to you, but there comes a time when he actually starts to contradict and challenge your opinions, and his arguments are surprisingly really good. You learn a lot from your little brother, so start listening to what they have to say sometimes.

5. No girl will ever be good enough for him

When he brings a girl home, you can't help but judge everything about her (no pressure) because to you, no girl will match up to his awesomeness. You know you are annoying, over-controlling, and overly judgmental, but you can't help it, he is your baby brother after all.

6. Regardless of how old or big he gets, if anyone messes with him, you will "beat them up"

I am not a fighter, but somehow anytime someone messes with my little brother, I get the ego of Muhammed Ali and believe that I can beat anyone up. Even now that he has outgrown me by about six inches and 50 pounds and is definitely a lot stronger than me, I still threaten to protect him because for some reason I feel like I can defend him better than he can himself. If anyone shoves him on the soccer field or says something mean to him at school, all of the sudden the big sister is the most intimidating and feisty little 5'4" girl there is out there.

7. He has your back

The once quiet and shy boy you outspoke as a child is not afraid to stand up for you. Even if he knows you're wrong, he is just as protective of you as you are of him and he will always be there for you whether you need a shoulder to cry on, you've had a fight with your friends and need someone to talk to, or a guy blows you off and you just need dairy queen and a movie night.

8. People will think he is your boyfriend and vice versa

As little kids, you were obviously the big sister, but now that he has outgrown you, hit puberty and matured, people mistake him as your boyfriend all the time. When you go to dinner and get the "you are such a cute couple" comment, you can't help but laugh.

9. All of his academic success is obviously all thanks to you

All the days you forced him to play "school" with you and tried to teach him everything you knew paid off because he actually knows what he is doing now. You're welcome.

10. Every year he turns another year older, you freak out because you remember how old you felt when you were his age, and it is not possible for him to be that old

No, no, no. He is little. He cannot drive just because he is 16. That is scary. [Only you were mature enough and ready to drive at 16.] There is no way that he is already 18 and can vote. You will never get used to the fact that he is growing up at the same pace as you are.

11. He is the one person who defies your theory that you are never wrong

He always has your best interests in mind, so if he disapproves of a guy, or questions a choice you are making, he is most likely right, just listen to him. Seriously, it will save you time in the future.

12. You will always worry about him

Yes, you are annoying and you know he can handle himself, but the thought of him ever getting hurt kills you. Every time he goes out or takes a risk, you worry about him. However, you also know and trust that he is smart and makes good choices, and if he ever doesn't, you will always be here to save the day, duh!

13. You are his biggest fan

And you are absolutely obnoxious at sporting games and other events. You are the first person to yell at the referee when he gets fouled and the loudest person screaming when he scores a goal. You also find yourself bragging about him to your friends because you are just so proud, and you taught him everything he knows (duh again).

14. He is your best friend

You can tell him anything and he can tell you anything. You guys have a pact and he won't tell your secrets. He's your person, and you have come to find out that he actually gives great advice when you give him the chance to talk.

15. No matter how old he gets, he will always be your baby brother

No matter how old my brother gets, we still say "I love you" every night and he will always be my little baby brother who I watch over and protect, always. I know I have a lifelong best friend who I can lean on during hard times, and celebrate with when the times are good. Bless up.

Special shoutout to my baby brother, Luke, for teaching me so much about myself and always being there for me.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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You Were Not Always Like This

Be kind and compassionate to those who are where you once were.

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In my past article I Don't Have It All Together, I talked about how no one has it all together. This is something I know and I believe, but I had to get a little reminder.

Let's take a look into my journal.

Someone whom I love dearly gave me a prayer request, and I prayed. But, as I was praying, I was saying one thing with my mouth and my heart was saying something completely different. I was thinking why asking me for this specific prayer request when you already know that this way lead to destruction and you choose to do it anyway. I could hear the Holy Spirit whispering so loud REMEMBER YOU ONCE LIVED LIKE THIS.

Of course I did exactly what a "righteous" person would do, I started to defend myself. I started to compare my old ways to theirs and I was like I did not use to do such things. As if my sins were "okay". If you have any experience with the Holy Spirit convicting you of something, you will know that it didn't stop there. I was so bothered. I started to flip my bible because I could remember a verse about "you once lived like this", But I couldn't remember where to find it. I knew it was in the new testament specifically a letter from Paul, but it was just hard to find at the moment. I went to my bestie "Google" buddy wasn't helping either. I went back to the bible and still nothing. All of a sudden, I remembered the keywords, and Google came through.

Colossians 3: 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.

I saw the word, yet I was still defending myself. Then, I realized that it didn't matter whether my sins were different or not, I was still a rebel against God, and I was doing things that He was not pleased with which is exactly why I needed saving, and I still do. I need His grace and Mercy every second.

I had to ask God for forgiveness and I decided that I will be praying for that person harder because the same way that God called me out of my grave is the same way that He can call them too.

God works in mysterious ways friend! I started this growth plan at my church and one of my goals is to memorize scripture. I had told myself that I would memorize at least one verse a week "baby step." I never thought the first one I would intentionally memorize would be from a conviction.

I shared all this with you because I know that sometimes we get carried away and we forget where God took us. It also has a lot to do with where our heart is with God. I would say that I never want to lose sight of my salvation story because I don't want to ever think that somehow I deserved the finished work of Jesus. In that scenario, I had that mindset, but I had to quickly realized that the same grace I needed is the same grace that everyone else in the world needs. The same God that brought me to light will bring them to light as well. I am not proud at all with what happened; that is not why I am sharing this with you. I am sharing with you so that you REMEMBER.

No matter where you are in life, remember that you were not always this person. You are a parent, remember how you once used to a rebel against your parents. You are a teacher, remember how you once used to think that teachers were unfair. You are a husband or a wife, remember how you used to be annoyed being single. You are a well-known writer, remember how you used to seek other people to validate your work. You are a supervisor now, remember how you used to dislike certain things about supervisors. You consider yourself successful, remember when you used to doubt yourself. The list could go on and on. But, what I really want you to remember is the word of God because maybe the examples I give, you can't even relate to them. But, listen to the word of God. Colossians 3:7 " you used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived".

You were not always who you are today. Maybe you are a better version of yourself maybe you are not. But, do not mistreat the others that are where you once used to be. Be kind and compassionate, encourage them, share your story with them. I believe that testimonies are powerful. So, do not pretend that you always had it together because the truth is, none of us have.

People will relate to your weaknesses more than your strengths, so share that and let your strength empower them.

Xoxo,

DD

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