How do you go about making friends at this stage in the game when it seems hard to make connections and like everyone has solidified their friend groups?
Dear Mx. Lonely,
I totally understand this! When I was a first year, I quickly got into a relationship with an upper year/alum, and spent a significant amount of time with upper years/alums. As the years went by I found myself without the kind of group of close friends in my cohort that I saw many of my peers create at the beginning of their New College careers. I felt that I had missed out on the “prime” time to make connections and friends, when everyone else seemed to be super solidified in their friend groups.
First of all let me say that perception is key. If you believe that not only everyone has solidified their friend groups, but it is impossible for you to become part of an already existing group, you will not be successful in creating a close community for yourself. What I assess to be true about New College is that folks are constantly looking for and open to new connections, precisely because the school is so small. Lean into creating an assessment that keeps you optimistic about your ability to attract amazing friends to you.
My first piece of advice to you is to identify the kind of friends you want. Start examining when you are acting from a place of yearning to be chosen and allowed into others’ space, and shift into a space of conscious choosing and intentional standards about who you want in your space. You deserve to have the kind of people in your life that you want, so get a pen and pencil out and make specific and measurable standards based on your values in friendships. For example, if punctuality and honesty are important values for you in friendships, and a new friend always leaves you hanging and stretches the truth, you get to decide whether or not these are deal breakers for you, based on your intentionally written standards. If a value for you is going to sunset once a week, and your friend doesn’t meet that, you get to decide whether that’s a standard you’re willing to let go of.
The reason I advise this as the first step to making friends is that, dear reader, I do not want you to be in a situation where you are friends with folks who are not a match to you and your heart, and make you feel bad about yourself. You get to choose who is in your space, because you are worthy and your space is sacred. You are not someone who is simply lucky to be around others’ mediocrity.
After you have written down the standards and boundaries for the friends you want to call in, my second piece of advice is to start friend dating! Dating = data collection. There may be specific people on campus who you think are really cool, and that’s a great start! That’s your spidey senses telling you that there could be a friendship to be created between you. This part requires bravery, so I’d encourage you to get into the headspace of doing something that someone who is brave would do. For example, someone who is brave would ask to join a group of people at a table during dinner in Hamilton “Ham” Center! Or ask someone who they admire out on a friend date.
Get out of your comfort zone, because that is where creation, growth and magic happens.
Best of luck, my love.