There were many things about college I was nervous about. Taking classes that were over my head, feeling homesick, and sticking to a budget for the first time topped my list—but one thing I never stressed over was finding friends. Everything I’d seen, heard, watched, or read about college suggested that meeting people was incredibly easy. I imagined setting foot on-campus and being besieged by a tidal wave of interesting, cool, potential best friends. Before long, I’d have my clique, and we’d spend all our free time together, giggling over Zac Efron’s abs, complaining about our boring professors, and making s’mores in the kitchen.
So now that my first quarter is almost over and I haven’t found “my people” yet, I am left feeling lonely, disappointed, and anxious.
If you’re going through the same thing as I am, then now you know you’re not the only one. In fact, according to Google, not forming a Friends-style group your first year of school is pretty common. It makes sense. What are the chances that you’ll meet your once-in-a-lifetime, there-at-your-wedding, godparent-to-your-kid friends when you’ve only met a tiny percentage of the people at your school?
Setting out to make best friends is like trying to take control of the weather. It’s a spontaneous, unpredictable process that needs to occur naturally. I can’t force it—and I also can’t be upset it hasn’t happened yet. I know that, eventually, I’ll come across my Monica, Joey, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, and Phoebe.
What about in the meantime? Well, I’m having a ton of fun exploring all the different clubs and organizations my school offers. Right now, I write for my school’s newspaper and Her Campus chapter, and have joined the English Club and Writer’s Collective. Every time I see a poster for a free event or lecture that I’m interested in, I go. Although I can’t decide when and where I’ll fall in “friend-love,” I can definitely give myself more opportunities for it to happen.
Another tactic I’m using is inviting acquaintances to get coffee or lunch. In high school, it was scary to hang out with people I barely knew—but now that I’ve started doing it, I’ve found that the worst thing that can happen is an awkward silence. Sometimes we hit it off, and sometimes we don’t, but it’s a good way to make connections with people I’d usually never go past the small-talk level with.
I wish I was writing this as a “silly-me” post: “Freshman year, I was worried I’d never find my best friends! Now I have an awesome group and life is good.” But I’m not. I just have to stay positive, put myself out there, and hope that—someday—I’ll be able to look back laugh at my old fears.