To the Underclassman with No Friends

I get it. You’ve been told growing up, by people and by movies, that college is supposed to be the happiest time of your life. And then you get there and your second (or third, or fourth) semester rolls around and you still don’t have friends. Sure, you know people, but where is that big group of people that you’re supposed to haunt coffee shops with, who go on spontaneous adventures with you in the middle of the night, who take awesome candids of you to post on Instagram?

It’s true that it’s harder to make friends in college than it was in high school. Sure, you might talk to someone in class, but now that you’re not forced to take the same classes with the same groups of people you’re having trouble making that jump from just classroom acquaintances to bosom buddies.

So, here are some things you should know:

1. The idea of college being the happiest time of your life is, by and large, a myth. You have a whole life ahead of you full of surprises and adventures you can’t even begin to dream of just yet. Live it as it comes, and don’t put that kind of extra pressure on yourself. You have enough on your plate already. 

2. Everyone else is also looking for friendship. Even if they’re seniors. Even if they look like they’re talking to someone else. No one has ever said “Oh, I’ve got enough/too many friends as is.” 

3. 90 percent of finding and making friends is showing up. Show up to any events your major holds because that’s where you’ll find people who are interested in the same things you are. Go to convos even if you’re barely into the topic. My first two friends in college I made because I came to class early EVERY class, and then we just started talking while waiting for other people to show. That’s all it takes. 

4. The other 10 percent is just being willing to put yourself out there. Strike up random conversations. Compliment strangers, but mean what you're saying. The worst thing that can happen is that it’s a little awkward for maybe two seconds, and then you know you don’t have chemistry with that person. Even if you guys don’t become ride-or-dies, it never hurts to be on good terms with the people in your classes. 

5. In that same vein, always carry gum or mints and napkins or Kleenex. Everyone loves gum, and nearly everyone here drinks some kind of hot beverage that they will undoubtedly spill sometime while in class. It’s a small way to start that spark of goodwill. Plus, it’s always good to be prepared anyway. 

Lastly, be patient with yourself. You don't have to compare yourself to others, or think that you're on some kind of strict timeline where you should have met your platonic soulmate by now. You're living your own life, and the friend you're stuck with the longest is yourself. It's cheesy, but it's true. Get comfortable with that person, and you'll know that the people drawn to you are drawn to you because of who you actually are. 

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