The Truth About Making Friends in College

Years before I was even close to entering college, I’d heard from multiple adults that college would be the best experience of my life and that it’d be where I’d make my friends for life; they made it sound as if I’d make friends immediately and easily. I naively started college with this thought in mind and didn’t think I’d have a problem. I figured since I’m nice and sociable, why would I have a problem?

They failed to mention how hard differing schedules, shyness and cliques can make the process. They failed to mention that people can be judgmental or not necessarily open to becoming friends with you for other reasons. They didn’t think about the fact that some people draw a thick line between two colleges of the same university I go to and won’t associate with or respect someone who goes to the other.

This may be a bit preemptive as I’ve only been in college for a month, but I haven’t had the luck that the adults I spoke to apparently had. Although college is filled with people of all ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds, languages and more, I still have a hard time finding someone to eat with; I never thought it’d be possible to be alone when surrounded by so many people. 

That’s not to say the people aren’t nice—I’ve come across plenty of kind people, but the problem is that I’m always the one asking them to go out, and they never ask me. They’ll go out with me, but then our communication will go radio silent for a while. I could keep asking them, but I feel that it looks desperate. I then think, why don’t they ask me this time?

I never had to experience this struggle in high school because I entered with my two best friends from middle school (who are still my best friends now). Although I definitely socialized and tried to make friends in high school, I didn’t have to worry about it too much because I had my besties to fall back on; I never had to eat alone. Now that they're not in college with me, it's different.

I find myself feeling homesick not because I’m all that far away from home (being originally from New York), but because I’m having a hard time starting my new life. I never thought I’d miss my old life all that much—like every other senior in high school, I couldn’t wait to graduate. I didn’t expect to get to college and miss my high school career, and for this reason.

Since it has only been about a month, I’d say I definitely still need to give it time. Hopefully, the right kind of exposure will help me to form friendships. I know they say the best things in life take time, but I see other first-years with their friend groups they’ve already formed and I can’t help but feel like the outsider; every time I eat a meal alone, I feel as if there is a spotlight on me. It makes me wonder: how did they already find people and I didn’t? What am I doing wrong? These are questions that flood my mind on a daily basis, and so I have to remind myself over and over again that these things take time.

So, the truth about making friends in college? More like it’s my truth—for me, it hasn’t been that easy. I’ve found that just because I’m surrounded by many people doesn’t mean I’m getting the right exposure or opportunity for true friendships to form. However, this experience has taught me that I need to learn to be okay with being alone; in the process, I can even get to know myself more.

 

If you’re feeling the way I am, know that you’re not alone. These things take time, and there are a lot of factors involved. Don’t compare yourself to other people or count the days that have gone by. Just breathe and know that it will be okay; tomorrow is a new day. After all, there is no better person to be than yourself and the best things in life come to those who wait.