I don’t know about you, but I was really nervous when I started college. As someone who was never really involved in the party scene back in high school, I was worried about what was going to happen when I got to college. There is such a culture surrounding partying and drinking at any school – I was not ready to venture into that scene.
I was also worried that I was going to be the only one who was like that. All the people I knew back home, and the people I began to meet on campus, were ready to jump straight into partying. But I wasn’t. And I worried that I was going to lack friends because I preferred to watch Netflix on my Friday and Saturday nights.
What I’ve learned is two important things. One, there is no need to worry about finding your ‘people’ in college. There is at least one other person on campus who shares an interest with you. Because of this, I was able to find other people who also weren’t into the party scene. All it took was a little pinch of confidence – “Actually, you guys, I don’t really like to party. I’m probably just going to hang out in my room, or watch a movie or something. You are welcome to join, if you’d like!” – and suddenly, I met a couple of people who were also worried about not wanting to party.
Secondly, if you make an open invitation, people are more likely to come by. Just because I didn’t want to party didn’t mean that friends who did party couldn’t hang out. I was more than happy to be the person who my friends returned to after a night out. It made me feel better that my friends were doing alright, and it made them feel better knowing that someone was willing to look after them.
So, how do these two things combine? And what does it have to do with a tea party??
Well, I had been joking with my friends that my favorite drink is tea – apparently a semi-common favorite. I extended an invitation to a couple friends to come by and have a cup of tea with me, and maybe play a couple board games or card games. They asked if they could bring another friend along – and the next thing I knew, there was an entire group of us!
I named the gatherings “Tea Parties” because the basis is everyone comes by to have a cup of tea. The games came secondary, but let me tell you – we can get competitive. It’s always a whirlwind of an evening. Lots of laughing, lots of teasing, lots of tea.
The best part, to me, is the fluidity of the night. People come and go as they wish, with no obligation to stay with us at all. Some people come by early, chat, play some card games, and then meet up with other friends and go out for the rest of the night. Others come by after having gone out, and just want to chat. Sometimes, people come by and spontaneously decide to sit for a minute, not really knowing anyone but wanting to join for the evening. We usually sit out in the lounge in my dorm, so we get a pretty heavy traffic flow. Sometimes, we get spontaneous people joining.
The Tea Parties are really, really entertaining. We have a really good group of people now – I would definitely say it’s helping me find my people. Besides that, we’ve created a space with no pressure to go out and party, but rather to spend time with friends.
So, for anyone else worried about finding their ‘people’ or being roped into something they aren’t feeling perfectly comfortable with – don’t worry. All it takes is enough confidence to say to one other person, “Hey, I was thinking about doing this!” and the next thing you know, you’re staying up until three am debating different topics and rediscovering the enjoyment that comes with meeting new people.