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Can we stop pretending we don’t know each other?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to a party, started talking with a really, nice, cool, fun group of people, exchanged socials, and…never see or speak to them again. 

Of course, in the moment both groups of people have the tiniest bit of hope that maybe you have made a new friend or two. 

Yet, if I were ever to see them in public, we mutually come to the unspoken decision not to say hi or wave. After talking for two hours for some reason saying hi to someone you know, is weird. Of course, meeting random people at a party isn’t the only instance of this happening. 

I live in a dorm and my roommate and I tried talking to other people on our floor, at the beginning of the school year, however, had very little success with making friends who lived on our floor. On my floor literally no one speaks to one another. 

Not a “Good morning!” or a “How are you?” Zero.


I can safely assume that most people want to make friends in college, however, we just end up with numerous acquaintances, and few close friends we see frequently. 

I will walk on campus and recognize the faces of people who live on my floor but we pretend like we don’t recognize one another. 

Don’t get me started on seeing people from my high school. It is so strange to see people who I have gone to school with for 4+ years yet we still completely ignore one another. The awkwardness of thinking, “I know this person and I know they know me, but do I say hi?” Eventually we end up pulling out our phones and ignoring the decision completely.

Not only is this “issue” incredibly awkward, but it’s also sad. 

We crave social interaction but it seems like everyone is too anxious and afraid to reach out, to say something to someone they know. College can be lonely, especially if we can’t even acknowledge that one another exists. We break eye contact, we desire closeness but are unsure how to begin. 

My roommate is an international student from Mexico. We have talked about this before and have come to the conclusion that this problem of pretending is truly an American “thing.” When she went to school in Mexico or Columbia, everyone was so welcoming to new students. However, in the U.S., we tend to ignore them. We don’t reach out.

The U.S. is an individualistic society. We have been taught to value independence, autonomy, self-sufficiency, and maintaining our uniqueness. This mindset limits our ability to make friendships.

The “American Dream” constantly reinforces the idea of pride in personal freedom, having choices, and working hard for our possessions. We also fear being rejected or not feeling like our feelings are reciprocated.

We can maintain our independence and individuality without also feeling lonely.

So, the next time you see someone you recognize, or someone you have had a class with last semester, I challenge you to say hi to them. It might just make someone’s day and provide a sense of closeness and comfort in an unpredictable world. 

Amelia is a freshman at UT Austin and is studying Youth and Community Studies with a minor in Educational Psychology!