Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ask Isa: How to move from acquaintance to friendship in college

Below is an e-mail a student (who gave his permission to have this exchange shared on the blog) sent to me earlier this week. His question was so genuine and I wanted to share his question and the answer I gave in case it helps anyone else in this situation:

Hi Isa!

I just read your article titled "You're not alone in feeling alone: how to make friends." Your article gave me a better perspective on finding friends at community college. It's hard finding new friends, especially when you have transferred from two different colleges. I've been pretty depressed lately because I don't really have any friends to hangout with anymore. 

I stopped hanging out with my old high school friends because they are always getting into trouble; and all my other friends are 8 hours away at my old college. I was a commuter at a school close to my house but it was too expensive so I transferred to a community college. It is very hard to make friends there because I haven't taken a class for my major yet (since I started during the spring 2013 semester).

I'm shy so its hard for me to step out of my comfort zone to meet new friends. In one of my night classes there is a girl that is the same major as me (she also sits right beside me in class) and 2 weeks ago I got her number so we could try to study together for the final exam. We were going to meet but we never found a time that we could meet. 

Earlier this week, I texted her asking if she signed up for classes, she said she didn't yet. So I said, "Since this is my first semester here, I dont know anybody in my field of study, since you are basically the same major as me maybe we could take some classes together?" She said yes.

I really want to be friends with her (since she is the same major as me and also because she is pretty). I really want to be friends with her and maybe be able to do stuff together outside of class (I don't want to date her, I'm just looking for a friend). I don't want to come on too strong and make her think that I want to date her. I just want a friend to talk to. What should I do?



Hi Blake,

Thanks so much for reaching out.

I think it's great you are making an effort, and that you have strayed away from friends that were getting into trouble. That is not easy to do but incredibly beneficial; it will pay off.

As far as the girl, go ahead and be casual about it and don't worry too much. The fact that she said 'yes' to taking classes together is awesome (great idea, by the way). Don't over-think it and instead just, well, be friends. Think about how it worked when you were a kid - when we're kids we rarely think about these things; instead we just connect with people who we have fun with. It can be the same in college.

Sit together in class, help each other with homework, study together, and just hang out, talk, and be friends. As far as not wanting to seem like you're hitting on her, I think you're already there because she said yes to taking classes together. If she was creeped out she would have avoided that. So just enjoy classes together! And when you study, consider inviting other people to form a study group.

And finally, consider how you can make other friends too so you're not too worried about this one person. Does your college have a student life department or a website that lists its clubs?

Check that out, meet with a student life coordinator at your college, and go to different club meetings that interest you. Find the one you connect with the most and ask the President of the club if they need any more officers or committee leaders or help with anything. Get involved right away. You'll be amazed at the bonds you'll create without even thinking about it.

Let me know how it goes! :)



*name was changed

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