College is the time where you likely will meet your lifelong friends as it is a transitional period where you learn who you are while everyone else around you is also trying to find themselves. You’re coming into a brand new place, most likely with all complete strangers, and you’re expected to be confident and bubbly and have your personality and independence figured out. While everyone should be themselves when they are meeting new people it is often easy to have a surface level personality you present to those you are just meeting. The closer you get to people, the more the surface level personality fades away, and the easier it is for you to be yourself regarding people you don’t know as well. It’s important to learn that you don’t have to be close to another person to be nice to them, or ever to be yourself around them.
While you can be friendly and more private and keep casual relationships with others, these casual relationships often feel excessively more authentic when you are true to yourself even if you aren’t laying every single one of your secrets out for the other person to study. It’s often easy for another person to realize you aren’t being true to yourself when you speak to them; if you’re acting restricted and the other person has good intuition they’ll wonder if they have done something wrong.
When meeting a stranger for the first time it’s important to remember that everyone has a different back story and they each have their own struggles that they have to deal with on a day to day basis. Everyone deals with their lives and their own troubles at their own pace and it’s important to not force anyone to change their mindset if they are not asking for help. It’s also important to remember that if you offend someone, it may not be your fault. Some days are more sensitive than others, and when the time is right, any offense can be corrected.
In terms of acquaintances, it’s often easy to be considerate of how their day has been going by simply asking them “how are you?” of “how was your day?” With an acquaintance you are close enough to know the basics of their lives, and also close enough that they may disclose to you whether or not they have had a more difficult day that their usual. These types of interacts with acquaintances can build your relationship, especially when you go past the stage of just saying hello and walking past them on your way to class.
When a friend is having a bad day, or even when they’re not, it’s always wonderful to be there for them with a smile, or bring them flowers, or just to spend time with them and remind them that they are always important and that no problem is too small for them to vent to you about. If these aren’t just friends and are also roommates, then having a sit down gathering on occasion and remind each other why it’s okay to not be okay all of the time, and why you always need to keep your head up.
Spread the love! Especially during finals week!