Making friends was so simple when you were a kid.
“Hey, want to be my friend?”
That afternoon, you’re calling their house phone, asking their parents if you “may please speak to” your new friend, and upon your newly found friend’s delighted greeting, you request that they come over and play. It was as easy as that!
But with age, you became a more complex person. Your “friend” criteria is far more in-depth than whether or not this person is of the appropriate age, not to mention your brutal honestly about seeking a friend probably won’t be as well received at eighteen as it was when you were eight.
So how do you branch out and meet people when you’re in a new environment? It might be easier than you think.
One of the greatest advantages you have being a college freshman looking to make friends is that everyone is in the same boat. Unlike starting a new job, or transferring high schools, you’re not the “new guy” trying to work your way into established cliques. There are hundreds, or even thousands of students (depending on the size of the college you’re attending), who are friendless-ly experiencing the nervousness of their first day. A little conversation with the person across the hall has never been so appreciated!
Having made my bed with light blue and yellow blankets, and having hung the last of the posters, I set forth on my first night as a college student to meet the other girls on my floor. I found almost everyone had their doors open–an inviting sign. Recognizing it would not have been appropriate to say, “want to be my friend,” I tried:
“Hi, I live down the hall in room 302. I just wanted to say hello!”
I probably met several dozen people that evening. While one or two girls, having just begun their unpacking, seemed busy and annoyed with the intrusion, almost everyone else was beyond friendly! One of my neighbors had the DVDs to my favorite TV show sitting on top of a box, and immediately, a conversation started. Another student, a theater major, was listening to her own performance of a song I also happened to have sung as a senior in high school. That began a discussion as well.
While my roommate thought I was nuts for opening myself up to strangers, the next day, I had someone to sit next to in class. I had a gym buddy. I had plans for breakfast. Further benefits came a few days later when I won the position of secretary of my residence hall. Unlike my opponent, the other girls in my dorm knew who I was. Most importantly, I had a reason to stay on campus the following weekend instead of driving the hour back home to see my old friends. I was beginning a life for myself on campus. By reaching out to your neighbors on your first day, you can too!
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