Making New Friends:
“Hi! I’m Taylor.”
“I’m majoring in Communications with a minor in Nonprofit Administration.”
“I like to write. Go on adventures. I drink a lot of coffee.”
….and so it continues.
The friend-making game. If you didn’t come here with friends, it’s practically grade school all over
again, except for a little (a lot) bigger, swimming through crowds just to find some people you click
with. Even a month in, the struggle continues. Making friends is difficult. It takes effort. You actually
have to want to get out there, shut off Netflix and put away the Ben & Jerry’s. Which is harder than it
sounds. Even as one who looks at every new person they meet as a potential new BFF, I can tell you
that making new friends is pretty exhausting. It means having to open yourself up to a ton of whole
new people without knowing how it’s going to turn out. Tiptoeing around to make sure you don’t let
too much of the weirdness out gets old real fast. The yearning for old friends is so strong you think
your heart’s going to split in two. Here, you don’t have the comfort of someone already knowing you.
For most of us, the person who already knows your quirks and is okay with the fact that you sing to
yourself on a regular basis about your daily activities is hundreds of miles away. So as fun as FaceTime
is, it can only cut it for so long and soon we’re back to the old dilemma: having to make new friends.
Some of us have been gifted with the ability to make conversation with almost anyone. Most of us? We
can only hope. Have you ever tried to hold a conversation with someone who didn’t want to talk to
you? It’s exasperating. Maybe my ego’s just too big, but I think that people should like me, because I
like me, so why wouldn’t anybody else? Faulty logic, not valid, I know, but still. Everybody wants to be
liked. Everybody wants to have friends, don’t they? Everybody wants to know that they’re okay and
that they’re accepted and that they’re loved, especially when it feels like you’ve been thrown into this
whole college deal alone, left to navigate the open waters of almost-adulthood and uncharted futures
armed with only a temperamental internal compass and the advice of students who came before you.
The one thing that seems to help is to know that you’re actually not alone. Which is where friends
come in. Not like the “Let’s go grab coffee and then never speak again!” friends, but the ones who will
always be there to make more inside jokes, to tease you mercilessly, to do things that will make for
some crazy stories to tell one day. To hold your hair back and be there with a box of Kleenex when
you get overwhelmed. To cheer with you at football games and stay up with all night. Those kind of
friends. And I have confidence that they will come, for everybody. Because that difficult as life may be,
everyone is worthy of love and friends. It might just take a while. More awkward conversations than
you can count. More nights spent alone than you would like. I know I sound naive. But I don’t really
think I care. Shut off the Breaking Bad, Lakers. Put down the Phish Food. I’m not saying you have to be
friends with everyone. The world is not a happy, sunshiny, rainbow-y place where everyone gets
along. Life doesn’t work that way. But we can at least know we’re all in the same boat. We’re not
alone. So here’s your PSA for the week: Be a little nicer. Be a little bit more open. A little more loving.
The struggle is unreal, but we’re all living it. As the old song goes: “Why can’t we be friends?”