Advice for the floundering first-year (3/15/19)

Dear first years- I’m going to be honest with you: friendships were a lot easier during our elementary school playground days than they are in college. Back then, friends were the people you played with at recess, the people in your class, or really anyone you came across that you talked to briefly. Now, however, it can feel impossible to even maintain the friendships you have. You might be discovering that this whole friendship thing isn’t always easy.

But have no fear, I have a few tips for you to make friends, maintain friendships, and even to repair those relationships that might feel a little bit broken.

First, don’t let fear get in the way of what might be a great friendship. If there’s someone in one of your classes that you really want to talk to, just do it. The worst that can happen is that you have an awkward conversation and you both let it go. The best that can happen, though, is that you actually have a great conversation and find out that you both have similar interests and will soon become best friends. You never know what will happen, but it all starts with just saying hi. Next, branch out to the people your friends are friends with. Some of the people I am closest with today, I met through people I already knew. Again, say hi and see what happens. If you’re both already friends with the same person, you are bound to have other things in common as well.

As for maintaining friendships, my advice would be to schedule time in to hang out with them. Last semester, amid my busy schedule, I felt like I was losing touch with friends I no longer had classes with. Now, I work hard to schedule a weekly meal together, or even just time to get coffee and do homework together. You don’t have to plan anything particularly exciting, just do the mundane, everyday things together. It will still strengthen your friendship.

Finally, if you find that you have a used-to-be friendship in need of repair, just be honest with them. Reach out via text or even in person, and tell them how you feel. If you miss them and want to be their friend again‒regardless of the reason for your falling out‒just say that. Chances are, they want to be friends again too. I have found that there are very few things a calm, honest conversation can’t fix.

I hope this helps you foster healthy, long-lasting friendships. Take care of yourselves, Gusties.